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Dr. Frank J. Palumbo, former chief of medicine at Mount St. Mary’s Hospital

March 11, 1922 – Aug. 17, 2016

LEWISTON – Dr. Frank John Palumbo, of Lewiston, former chief of medicine at Mount St. Mary’s Hospital, Lewiston, died Wednesday after a long illness. He was 94.

Palumbo established Niagara County’s first coronary care unit at Mount St. Mary’s Hospital and served as its director for many years before he retired in 1991.

Born in Niagara Falls, he graduated with honors from Niagara Falls High School in 1940 and earned his bachelor’s degree in 1944 from Cornell University, where he was elected to the SKULLS honorary pre-medical society.

Commissioned as a captain in the Army during World War II, he was stationed at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C., and Rodriguez General Hospital in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

He graduated from Cornell University Medical School in New York City and served his internship at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wis.

During his residency at Buffalo General Hospital, he was awarded a fellowship in cardiology which he served at hospitals in New York City.

Palumbo began his practice in internal medicine in Niagara Falls in 1951. Long before exercise was prescribed for good health, he advocated the importance of physical fitness for his patients.

He became director of interns at the old Mount St. Mary’s Hospital in Niagara Falls in the mid 1950s and served in that post until the program was dissolved in 1965.

He also was an instructor at the University of Buffalo Medical School.

In 1956, he served as president of the staff at Niagara Falls Memorial Hospital. After chairing a two-year study committee, he established a program for rheumatic fever with the Niagara County Chapter of the American Heart Association.

He was chief of medicine at Mount St. Mary’s Hospital from 1965 to 1985.

He also was an attending physician and consultant in medicine at Niagara Falls Memorial Hospital.

He was a fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians and a member of the American Medical Association. He co-authored several articles for the New England Journal of Medicine.

A tennis enthusiast for 45 years, Palumbo played until he was 79. An active member of the Niagara Falls YMCA for 35 years, he enjoyed jogging and ran in several races.

In his youth, he played baseball and basketball. He also was a member of the Niagara Falls Country Club.

Diagnosed with multiple myeloma at the Mayo Clinic in 1989, when the prognosis for life expectancy was 4 to 7 years, he lived with the disease for 27 years. He was a member of the International Myeloma Foundation and the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

His wife of 57 years, the former Diana Pillman, a nurse who pioneered programs on child abuse and sex education, died in 2007.

Survivors include four daughters, Mary Jo Merwin, Anne Edwards, Susan Schulz and Christine; two sons, John and Frank J. Jr.; and five grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at noon Saturday in the Alumni Chapel at Niagara University, 5795 Lewiston Road, Niagara Falls.

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