Joseph A. Ezzo, MD, FACP, 93, of St. Petersburg, passed away peacefully March 27th, 2019, at home in the presence of family, following a brief illness.
He was born November 30, 1925 in Niles, Ohio to James Ezzo and Carmel Cortese Ezzo. He attended Washington Avenue Elementary, Girard High School, and the Ohio State University. In November 1943, upon turning 18, Joe suspended his studies and enlisted in the Army, serving in the Fighting 69th Infantry Division, where Private Ezzo played the bugle. The 69th fought their way through Europe, becoming the first American unit to link up with Russian forces in Torgau, Germany, in 1945. Fifty years later Dr. Ezzo appeared on National Television recounting those days long past.
After the end of WWII, Joe continued his studies at Shrivenham University in Shrivenham, England, and Youngstown College in Ohio, graduating with a degree in Pre-Medical studies. Following graduation, he and his new bride, Helen Moliterno, embarked for St. Louis, MO where he enrolled in St. Louis University School of Medicine. He earned his Doctorate of Medicine in 1953, spending the next four years at City Hospital in St. Louis as a resident and chief in Internal Medicine.
Joe and Helen and their first four children moved to St. Petersburg in 1957, where he opened his practice on Tyrone Boulevard. In 1961 he became a fellow of the American College of Cardiology, in order to more completely serve his patients.
Dr. Ezzo practiced medicine for 40 years, treating all patients regardless of race, color, creed, or ability to pay. He was on staff at numerous hospitals, served on committees far too many to list, both local and statewide, and was the first Chief of Staff at St. Petersburg General Hospital when it opened in 1969.
He was a member of St. Jude’s and Transfiguration Catholic Churches, served on the school boards of Notre Dame Academy and St. Petersburg Catholic High, and was an integral part of the construction of St. Jude’s Cathedral. Following the words of Hippocrates, he kept pure and holy both his life and his art.
While medicine was Dr. Ezzo’s true calling, his other interests ranged far and wide. He hunted, owned horses, flew his own small aircraft, and read voraciously. His love of golf, which began as a teen while working at his brother’s country club, lasted over 60 years, and rare were the Saturdays when he could not be found with his usual foursome at a local course. His and Helen’s passion for education was imprinted on their children, who all earned college and post-graduate degrees. This tradition has continued for his grandchildren as well.
He is preceded in death by his parents, his brother John, and sister Mary Josephine. He is survived by Helen, his wife of 70 years and his six children: Patrice Ezzo McGettigan (Larry), Christopher (Peggy), Elise Ezzo Curotto, JD (Don, JD), Joseph Jr. PhD, JD, Stephen, MD (Janice Huff, MD), and Paul (Carol Dombrowski, DDS). He is also survived by 13 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
A memorial mass will be celebrated at the Cathedral of St. Jude on Saturday, April 6th at 11 am, followed by interment at Calvary Catholic Cemetery with full military honors.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Morning Star School of Pinellas Park.