It is with great sadness that we report the passing of our great friend Dr. Omar Pasalodos, the High Risk OB Medical Director for Air Medical Charters. Tuesday, while traveling on business in the Dominican Republic, he passed away unexpectedly. His presence in our lives will be greatly missed.
Friends of Dr. Pasalodos say he was amazingly generous, very funny, and “the nicest man you could ever meet.” The parents of the thousands of children he helped deliver over the past decades are eternally grateful to him, and many have expressed their condolences and shared their personal memories of the extraordinary man who was “not only a great doctor, but a kind and funny person.”
Omar was born in Cuba on June 15, 1950. In 1960, he and his parents left Cuba on a small boat in the middle of the night to come to the United States. Once in the U.S., Omar went on to graduate from Palm Beach High School and then Florida Atlantic University. He earned his medical degree at the Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo.
He spent twelve years in practice with the man who would later become his father-in-law, Dr. Joseph De Cenzo. The two met when Omar began working at Baptist Hospital as a surgical assistant. Dr. De Cenzo recognized Omar’s intelligence, good nature, and natural ability in medicine, and helped him secure a surgery residency at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital.
“He’s like my son,” De Cenzo told the Miami Herald. He described Dr. Pasalodos, who he traveled, hunted, fished, and delivered thousands of babies with, as “very smart, and very giving.”
In 1991, Omar married Lisa De Cenzo, one of his boss’s four daughters. In 1992, he became Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Baptist Hospital in Miami.
In 1995, he underwent heart surgery and was forced to give up delivering babies. He stopped seeing patients soon afterward, and went on to become a physician liaison for Baptist Health. As the Chief Medical Officer for Baptist Health South Florida’s International Division, he handled physician relations, philanthropic endeavours, and international business development in the Caribbean and Latin America.
Dr. Pasalodos was well-known across South Florida, and beyond, as not only a respected physician, but as a civic leader, devoted to bettering his community of Coral Gables – a place he loved.
He served as a member of the Public Safety Committee for the City of Coral Gables and a board member of the Coral Gables War Memorial Youth Center. He ran for the Coral Gables Commission twice, but ultimately dropped out of the 2009 race to focus on his new medical consulting position with Baptist Health, closing a letter to the Coral Gables Gazette by wishing “health, peace, and happiness to all.”
Among many other professional achievements, he was a member of the board of Doctors Hospital and a former Chairman of the Doctors Hospital Foundation as well. With a belief in preventative medicine, he served as the Director and Strategic Initiative Com-Chair of the Health Foundation of South Florida, a public charity whose mission is to improve the health of people in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Monroe Counties. As the chairman of Florida International University’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine Advisory Council, he contributed his medical and administrative expertise to enhance the education of future generations of medical practitioners.
Deeply dedicated to the community, he spent ten years serving on the board of the non-profit organization Informed Families — four of those years in leadership positions. As someone who saw the effects of addiction first-hand in his practice, he dedicated his time to helping ensure that Florida children would grow up safer, healthier, and drug-free.
“He was incredibly pleasant and incredibly kind, always concerned about doing the right thing, always concerned about people’s feelings,” Amy Goldstein, the communications director for Informed Families told the Miami Herald. “He was sweet, warm, a great speaker, charismatic and a big-time schmoozer.”
Among the many honors Dr. Pasalodos received throughout his career was the Distinguished Alumni Award from the William A. Little University of Miami OB/GYN Society, an organization that he had once served as the President of.
Only three months ago, Miami Beach International Fashion Week presented him with its “Humanitarian Award,” recognizing him as one of Miami’s 10 most dedicated philanthropists.
Dr. Pasalodos was an exceptional physician, a civic leader, and a true philanthropist who left an impression on many, many people’s lives. His absence will be felt by all of us in South Florida, most of all by those who were fortunate enough to know him. Our thoughts and prayers are with Omar’s parents, his wife and their two children.
The funeral will be held Tuesday, April 26th. Mass will take place at 11:30am at Church of the Little Flower, 2711 Indian Mound Trail, Coral Gables. After mass is sung, the burial will be held at Woodlawn Park Cemetery North, 3260 SW 8th Street, Miami.