Friday, August 30, 2013

JOHN ANTHONY SBARBARO, M.D., M.P.H. - Law Office of O'Toole & Sbarbaro, P.C. Worker's Comp Blog


It is the two year anniversary of my father’s passing and we thought you would enjoy the article from the O’Toole Report published shortly following his death two years ago.

- John A. Sbarbaro

        It is with great sadness that we inform our readers of the passing of John Anthony Sbarbaro, M. D., M.P.H., on August 30, 2011.  John often stated he was the luckiest man in the world and passed in the presence of many friends and family.

        John was the grandson of immigrants from Italy.  His grandfather Antonio Sbarbaro landed on the shores of Louisiana in 1880 (prior to the creation of Ellis Island) and quickly set up business as an organ grinder.  Shortly, thereafter, Antonio’s monkey died and he moved to Chicago to set up Sbarbaro and Co., the City of Chicago’s first and oldest Italian-American owned funeral business.  On March 9, 1886, he renounced his loyalty to the King of Italy and was sworn in as a U.S. citizen.

        Sbarbaro and Company located at 708 N. Wells St. was established in 1885 and its doors remain open to this day.  John was proud of the fact that Sbarbaro and Co. has served all segments of the community in Chicago, having buried respectable members from such families as the Wrigleys of chewing gum fame to such notable gangsters as Earl “Hymie” Weiss and Daniel O’Bannion. The Sbarbaro Funeral Home’s original telephone number was SUPERIOR 0094. It was 0094 because it was the 94th telephone number assigned in the City of Chicago. That number, now (312) 787-0094, remains the phone number for the Sbarbaro Funeral Home.  If you have any family members in the Chicago area who are soon to depart this world, please feel free to contact that number for your end of life needs.

        John was born in 1936 to Anthony and Marie Sbarbaro.  John was raised in the city of Chicago, Illinois, where he met his high school sweetheart, and wife of 50 years, Marlene.They attended nearby colleges in Minnesota.  Marlene graduated from Saint Theresa and John graduated from St. Mary’s College.  John and Marlene were married on August 26, 1961. In 1962 John then went on to earn his medical degree from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and his Master in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health in 1968. They have three children and seven grandchildren.

        With his formal education complete, between 1965-1986, Dr. Sbarbaro served in several capacities at the Denver Department of Health and Hospitals, but primarily as the Director of Public Health and Preventive Medicine.  Since 1969, Dr. Sbarbaro has served in many capacities at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, School of Medicine, where he held professorships in the Departments of Medicine and Preventive Medicine and finished his career there as the Medical Director of University Physicians, Inc.  Between 1986 and 1989 Dr. Sbarbaro was the Vice President for Medical Affairs at St. Anthony Hospital Systems.  Since 2008 he has been the Medical Director at the Leprino Foods Company. He retired in 2000 as a Colonel in the United States Army Reserve Medical Corps.

        In spite of all his formal education and physical separation from his childhood home in Chicago, John never left his true roots in how he resolved disputes. For example, in the early 70’s when St. Anthony’s Hospital and Denver General were competing for trauma patients, St. Anthony’s rejected an agreement that would keep its ambulances out of the city in return for the City and County of Denver staying out of the suburbs. Shortly after negotiations broke down a St. Anthony’s helicopter landed in the City and County of Denver and its ambulance blade was quickly bumped by a passing Denver General Hospital Ambulance.  The Chief Operating Officer for St. Anthony’s contacted John, and the following exchange took place.  “John, your ambulance bumped by helicopter.”  John responded, “God, Dutch, I am so sorry you know we have a lot of clumsy ambulance drivers, and of course, we are going to have an ambulance there every time you land in the City and County of Denver.  I sure hope this doesn't happen again, but I can’t promise it.”  Shortly thereafter, an agreement was reached were St. Anthony’s would not land its helicopter in the City and County of Denver and Denver General  ambulances did not go into the suburbs. ¹

        Throughout the years John explored the world with Marlene and together they visited, among other places, Israel, Italy, Switzerland and Russia.  He enjoyed spending time playing golf and getting together with family and friends.  He also spent a lot of time enjoying the company of his seven grandchildren.  Many of his friends have remained the same since he moved the family to the west suburbs in Lakewood, Colorado, in 1968.

        Dr. Sbarbaro was a world renowned expert in the field of Tuberculosis. During his career he worked with the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, the Institute of Medicine, the U.S. Institute of Allergy/Infectious Disease and the Institute of Heart/Lung, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Food and Drug Administration.  He authored 18 book chapters and more than 160 journal articles.

        Often Neil or I would call my Dad to run medical issues by him.  His views were always unbiased, to the point, and clear in their direction.  His influence and guidance upon my career continues to this day.  I value the time spent in his presence and treasure the counsel he provided.  He will be dearly missed.

1 Eilenn Welsome, Healers and Hell Raisers, Denver Health’s First 150 Years.  (Denver: Paros Press, 2011). Page 147-148.

Read John Anthony Sbarbaro's Obituary

Contact the Law Office of O'Toole & Sbarbaro, P.C. today if you have a workers' compensation or a Social Security disability case.
Phone: 303-595-4777
We are located in the Denver Metro area.
226 West 12th Avenue Denver, Colorado 80204

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