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Dr. Joseph A. Zizzi Sr., ECMC administrator

Nov. 28, 1931 – May 3, 2016

Dr. Joseph A. Zizzi Sr., a cardiologist and administrator who played a leading role as Erie County Medical Center transformed into an independent health care facility, died Tuesday in Fox Run, Orchard Park, where he had been a resident for the past six years. He was 84.

Dr. Zizzi, who began serving on the ECMC Board of Managers in 1995, stepped in as acting chief executive in 2004 following the abrupt departure of the hospital’s head.

While filling the top post, he continued to see patients and serve as director of clinical cardiology.

He previously had served as acting director in 1980 and from 1984 to 1986. He also was the hospital’s medical director from 1980 to 1984 and from 1986 to 1988, deputy medical director from 1988 to 1998 and assistant medical director from 1976 to 1980.

He was the hospital’s director of clinical cardiology from 1969 to 1976 and from 1993 until his retirement about 10 years ago.

As medical director and deputy director, he oversaw ECMC’s designation as Western New York’s Level 1 trauma and burn center in 1989. He continued to serve on the ECMC Foundation board of directors until 2015.

Born in Syracuse, he was a 1952 graduate of Utica College, earned his master’s degree from Syracuse University in 1954 and graduated from the University of Buffalo Medical School in 1958.

He served as an intern and resident at the former E.J. Meyer Memorial Hospital, which became ECMC, and became chief resident and cardiology fellow there in 1963. He also was president of the ECMC medical-dental staff.

Dr. Zizzi also had a long association with the UB Medical School, beginning as an instructor in 1962, then becoming an assistant professor of medicine in 1963, an associate clinical professor in 1969 and full clinical professor in 1992. He also was a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine.

He was a member of numerous professional organizations. He served as president of the Western New York Heart Association; president and secretary of the Western New York Society of Internal Medicine; and a member of the executive committee of the Erie County Medical Society and the boards of directors of the New York State Heart Assembly, the New York State Society of Internal Medicine and Independent Health.

An East Aurora resident from 1972 to 2010, he enjoyed golf, painting and repairing clocks.

His wife of 53 years, the former Laura Ann Mirochiski, died in 2007.

Survivors include four sons, Dr. Joseph Jr., Christopher, Thomas and David; a daughter, Maria Foti; a sister, Rosemary Salerno; and 14 grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 520 Oakwood Ave., East Aurora.