Monday, Jun 25, 2018
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Dr. Louis C. Ravin, 1912-2010: Doctor enjoyed giving back to the community

Dr. Louis C. Ravin, 98, an ophthalmologist who returned to his hometown, Toledo, after residencies in Boston and New York City and opened a practice, died Tuesday in Hospice of Northwest Ohio, Perrysburg Township.

A longtime resident of Ottawa Hills, he lived for more than four years at Swan Creek Retirement Village. He had pneumonia and heart failure, said his son, Dr. James Ravin, who joined the ophthalmology practice in 1975. The elder Dr. Ravin retired in 1990.

"He was absolutely as perfect as anybody could be -- academically, his manner with patients, with everything," said Dr. Richard Schafer, a longtime friend. "He was a great surgeon, one of the best."

Dr. Ravin's son said: "He was a role model to a lot of people."

Dr. Ravin's brother, the late Dr. Oscar Ravin, also was an eye doctor. His granddaughter Tracy is an ophthalmologist, and granddaughter Amy is an obstetrician-gynecologist.

His first office in 1940 was at 316 Michigan Ave. across from what is now the Main Toledo-Lucas County Public Library. That followed a one-year residency in ophthalmology, with no pay, at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. He won a spot as a paid resident -- $50 a month -- at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

He was asked to stay a second year, but he and his wife, Sophie, couldn't afford to accept the offer, according to a family-written biography. Rather than take a job as assistant to the chief of ophthalmology, the couple settled in Toledo.

He saw thousands of patients through the decades. When he was honored by then-Gov. Richard Celeste more than 20 years ago for his decades of service to Toledo, he said he would choose ophthalmology were he to start again. A second choice would have been plastic surgery.

"He liked doing minute things carefully and well," his son said. "He liked people and liked interactions with them -- and liked interactions where people could be made better."

He was on the medical staffs of Toledo, Flower, and Mercy St. Anne's Hospitals and of Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center.

He was a benefactor to charities and other organizations. A gift he and his wife made to the University of Toledo resulted in Ravin Plaza on the university's Centennial Mall. The couple established a scholarship fund for needy Jewish students through the Toledo Jewish Community Foundation.

"He loved all kinds of charities," his son said. "He [gave] away huge amounts of money and lived on scale that was very modest compared with what he could have done."

"He was philanthropic. He felt, 'This is where I grew up and spent all my years. Let's give something back to the community,'" his son said.

He was born March 25, 1912, to Jennie and Max Ravin and, at 16, graduated from Scott High School. He and his two brothers took a year's break from schooling and helped at the family grocery store. For two years, he attended UT, then on Nebraska Avenue, and went door to door urging voters to approve a bond issue to build a campus on Bancroft Street.

"I never had the opportunity to attend classes on the new campus, but I felt a closeness to it," he told the university's alumni magazine in 2004.

He transferred to Ohio State University and received a degree in 1932. He received his medical degree from what became the Wayne State University college of medicine.

He was active throughout his life. He liked to play tennis and bridge. He and his wife danced and liked to learn the latest step. For about 20 years, they spent winters in Boca Raton, Fla.

He was a skilled joke and storyteller, and "he would have a story for every situation," Dr. Schafer said. "And they were funny and very clean."

He and his wife married in 1937. She died in October, 2006.

Surviving are his son, Dr. James Ravin; daughter, Ellen Ravin; three granddaughters, and four great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 11:30 a.m. Friday in The Temple-Congregation Shomer Emunim, Sylvania Township, where he was a member.

The family suggests tributes to Hospice of Northwest Ohio; Planned Parenthood of Northwest Ohio; The Temple-Congregation Shomer Emunim; the Toledo Museum of Art, or the Academy of Medicine of Toledo and Lucas County Foundation.

Contact Mark Zaborney at: or 419-724-6182.

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