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Raymond M. Steinberg (1920-2018)

Surgeon kept active long after retirement


Raymond M. Steinberg, a general surgeon who worked for 35 years all across Toledo, died Wednesday in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was 97.

A rare heart disease caused his death, his son, Peter Steinberg, said.

“He lived a very long life, and a great life,” the younger Dr. Steinberg said.




Dr. Steinberg was born Oct. 22, 1920, to Sarah and Julius Steinberg. He was the 11th of 12 siblings born into the family home on Franklin and Delaware avenues in Central City. Also living with the family were an uncle and several cousins coming in and out of the home.

“They didn’t have much, but for them education was very important,” Dr. Steinberg’s son said.

He graduated first in his class from the University of Toledo in 1942, before going to medical school at Case Western Reserve University. He was accepted to four medical schools despite quotas that limited the number of Jewish students who could be accepted into a school.

“It was just the way it was,” his son said.

He became a general surgeon, returning to Toledo following his surgical residency in Cleveland. He was a solo practitioner for many years with two of his brothers. Dr. Steinberg’s son estimated that, at one point, the three brothers were doing about a third of the surgeries at Riverside Hospital.

“He was very good with his hands, and liked the idea of actually curing something, not just managing a disease,” his son said.

Dr. Steinberg was effectively on call nearly every day of his 35-year medical career. His son said he would be called into hospitals two or three nights a week, and golf games or meals out were invariably interrupted by a phone call. Many of his patients were poor, and before government-sponsored health care, there was little a family could do. His son said that one time, after performing a surgery, a family told him they would be unable to pay. Instead, Dr. Steinberg gave them the money that was owed for the surgery to help them recover.

Despite his work schedule, he was always back to his Ottawa Hills home for dinner at 6:15 p.m., even if he returned to work later in the evening. He was also a regular attendant at his sons’ events, be it sports, theater productions, or piano recitals.

“He just made time for family,” his son said.

He was the chief of surgery at Riverside Hospital from 1962 through 1985, when he retired. He moved to Scottsdale, Ariz., where he did not slow down. He logged about 20 miles a day on a bike, alternated between daily games of golf and tennis, and took nearly every class offered at Scottsdale Community College.

His son said that rather than taking the courses simply for credit, he would take difficult courses like microbiology for a grade, and still earn As in his 80s.

“He was just remarkably active in his retirement,” he said.

He spent his last several years of life at Vi at Silverstone, an independent and assisted living community in Scottsdale.

Surviving him are his wife, Marilyn Steinberg, whom he married on Oct. 8, 1950; four sons, Laurence, Robert, Peter, and Michael Steinberg; seven grandsons; three granddaughters, and one great-grandchild.

Funeral services were already held. Any donations can be made to Smile on Seniors.

Contact Zack Lemon at zlemon@theblade.com419-724-6282 or on Twitter @zack_lemon.

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