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DR. Pacifico S. Geronimo, 1920-2012: Psychiatrist was in Bataan death march

Dr. Pacifico S. Geronimo, a retired psychiatrist and decorated World War II veteran who joined the Army in his native Philippine Islands, died on Sept. 17 in Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center from coronary artery disease. He was 91.

Dr. Geronimo, who came to the United States from the Philippine Islands in 1955 to finish his medical residency, established a private psychiatry practice in Toledo in 1970 and had worked at the former Toledo State Hospital in the 1960s, said his son, Pacifico Geronimo, Jr.,

He was associate director of the alcohol recovery program at the Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center from the late 1970s into the 1980s and retired from medicine in 1991, his son said.

However, Dr. Geronimo came out of retirement in 1993 to work as a staff psychiatrist at Toledo’s Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic on Glendale Avenue.

Mr. Pacifico said his father was fond of the work he did with veterans because of his own military service during World War II.

“He always felt he was giving back to veterans in his own way,” he said.

He had worked at psychiatric hospitals in Columbus and Massachusetts, Michigan, and Pennsylvania before moving his family to Toledo.

The son of a farmer, he was born Sept. 25, 1920, in Rizal Province in the Philippine Islands. He attended college for two years and quit to join the Philippine Scouts. After the bombing of Clark Field on Dec. 7, 1941, he was among the soldiers of the Filipino 57th Infantry who fought the Japanese and retreated to the Bataan Peninsula.

Mr. Pacifico said his father was among the thousands of American and Philippine Army soldiers who were taken as prisoners during the Battle of Bataan in April, 1942, and marched up the peninsula’s East Road on the “March of Death.”

However, he said his father escaped with other Americans and Filipino soldiers and hid from the enemy. Mr. Pacifico said his father returned home after the islands were liberated and later was a commissioned a first lieutenant.

After the war, he was sent to Guam and the Admiralty Islands, where he was assigned to the 70th Engineer Company to help build oil storage tanks.

Dr. Geronimo, who was discharged in 1949, was awarded the Victory Medal, American Defense Service Medal, Philippine Defense Ribbon, Philippine Liberation Ribbon, Asiatic-Pacific Theater Medal, and Distinguished Unit Badge.

He married Maria Josefina Quintero Cinco in 1949. He continued his college education at the University of Santo Tomas, Manila, where he earned his medical degree in 1955. He moved that same year to the United States to pursue additional training at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, N.Y. His wife and three young children joined him the following year.

Surviving are his sons, Philip, Pacifico, Jr., and Patrick; daughter, Dolores Geronimo; brothers, Miguel, Leon, and Anthony Geronimo; sisters, Trina Isidro and Nina Brune, and nine grandchildren.

Private services were held in Toledo.

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