Dr. Cawilie G. Vergara [1943-2014]; Anesthesiologist sought after for advice, training


Dr. Cawilie G. Vergara, a longtime Toledo-area anesthesiologist who was a mentor and teacher to doctors and nurses in clinical programs at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center, died Thursday in his West Toledo home. He was 70.

His family said they didn’t know the cause of death. Bernadette Vergara said her father had a history of gastrointestinal problems.

Dr. Vergara, widely known as Willie, was on the staff at St. Vincent Medical Center for more than 25 years. He was involved in the training of nurse anesthetists and residents in the anesthesiology program at the University of Toledo Medical Center, the former Medical College of Ohio Hospital.

Dr. Joseph Dodd, a general surgeon, said Dr. Vergara had an excellent reputation and was respected by other anesthesiologists and physicians.

“He was really cool under pressure,” he said. “He was a well-regarded anesthesiologist and very trusted. He was sought out to be a resource and people got advice from him.”

Dr. Celso Antiporda, an anesthesiologist, said Dr. Vergara was one of the first anesthesiologists to use a device in surgery that monitors heart functions.

“He was very loved by both patients and surgeons,” he said.

Dr. Vergara was born in the Philippines on March 16, 1943. He attended the medical program at Far Eastern University’s Dr. Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation in Manila. He married the former Rita Diaz in Manila on Jan. 14, 1971.

Ms. Vergara said her father received offers from three hospitals for residency programs in the United States, but chose Toledo Hospital because its staff members were the nicest during phone conversations.

Dr. Vergara completed his residency at Toledo Hospital in 1974. His daughter said he was instrumental in the development of the respiratory and critical care services at the hospital and was director of the intensive care unit and critical care.

He joined St. Vincent Medical Center in 1976 and was associate chairman of the anesthesiology department from 1980 to 1982.

He retired in 2003. His family said he enjoyed hunting, fishing, and clay shooting.

Surviving are his wife, Rita; sons, Alexander and Christopher; daughter, Bernadette Vergara; four grandchildren; brothers, Romeo and Jesse Vergara, and sisters, Vivian Fajardo and Susan Soriente.

Visitation will be from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday in the Walker Funeral Home, 5155 W. Sylvania Ave.

The funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Saturday in St. Joseph Church, Sylvania.

The family suggests tributes to the Filipino Association of Toledo or Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center.

Contact Mark Reiter at: markreiter@theblade.com or 419-724-6199.