Alfonso W. Herdoiza, M.D.January 7, 1919 ~ December 1, 2017 (age 98)
Alfonso W. Herdoiza, M.D., 98, of Overland Park passed away in Quito, Ecuador on December 1, 2017. He is survived by his children, Fabiola (Brian), Albert (Shahrzad) and Lisa, as well as eight grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, his sister and extended family in Ecuador and the United States. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Fabiola.
Alfonso was born in Riobamba, Ecuador in 1919. He always dreamed of coming to the United States. At 10 years old, he would sneak out of the house, ride a horse through a dark forest to go to the movie theater to watch American films. He was the top student in his high school and received a full scholarship to go to the University Central of Quito where he received his medical degree. He practiced in Riobamba, where he was the director of the tuberculosis sanitarium. In 1952 he took an opportunity to come to the United States to do thoracic surgery to treat T.B.
While here, they found a cure for T.B. and he and his wife Fabiola decided to stay because of the warm welcome of so many Americans. He specialized in anesthesiology, studying at KU Med, started working at St. Joseph's and then practiced at Menorah Medical Hospital, Lee's Summit, The Eye Foundation and a pain clinic, retiring at the age of 83.
He was a well respected doctor with a wonderful bedside manner.
He had a great talent for providing anesthesia for surgeries, and was often called on to do more complicated surgeries early in his career, such as open heart surgeries and craniotomies.
All his life he was dedicated to helping people, whether it was getting them medical treatment, helping them further their education, or inspiring them by his work ethic and pursuit of the American dream.
Alfonso and Fabiola were famous for dancing, especially the tango. When they danced the tango, the floor would open and people would watch in awe.
Fabiola and Alfonso traveled extensively throughout the world, returning annually to Ecuador to visit family and friends.
He loved life, dancing (especially cumbias, paso dobles and tangos), traveling, matchmaking for family, tennis, golf, apple pie, McDonalds, his beloved Chiefs and Royals, and although a proud American, he always remembered his beloved Ecuador.
He continued to cut his own lawn and drive his car until a week before he died at the age of 98. He wanted to go back to Ecuador "one last time" and his wish came true.
"My Father was so strong and vibrant to his last day. A man of faith. Although he was 98, no one ever guessed his true age. He was always welcoming, gracious and had a wonderful sense of humor. He was a people person and left a mark on everyone he met. No accident that his three children went into service areas themselves (nurse, attorney, teacher) where they could help people. We miss him terribly, but know he is in joyful reunion with our Mom, Fabiola, probably dancing a beautiful paso doble, as we speak", said his son, Albert.
"One day in the hot summer a couple years ago, I went to play tennis near Alfie's home. On my way back I felt very faint and was worried about driving home. I called Alfie and he immediately welcomed me to come over. When I arrived, he had his doctor kit ready, checked my vitals and gave me cold water to drink. I remember laying on his couch as he began to tell me stories, which if you know Alfie, you know that listening to his stories is a treat. Next thing I knew, I woke up and looked up to see that he was sitting in the same chair watching tennis on TV, something he loved to do. I embarrassingly apologized for falling asleep while he was talking to me but he laughed and insisted that it was exactly what I needed! I know that he was happy he got to do what he loved most, care for someone and spend time with his family, in my case, his 'nieta preciosa'", said his granddaughter, Yasmin.
“He told me stories about when he was a young doctor and what med school was like. He said med school wasn't just about being smart, but being dedicated. There were geniuses who quit med school because they couldn't handle it. He told me about when he came to America as an anesthesiologist. I remember when I was young he would always be eating burgers and fries and drinking Coke but he was still healthy. He was always happy and smiling. He never had a bad attitude or a negative thought. He had life figured out.”, said his granddaughter, Adriana.
Visitation will be 6-8 pm, Friday, December 8, 2017 at Johnson County Memorial Chapel, 11200 Metcalf. Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:00 am, Saturday, December 9, 2017 at Cure of Ars Catholic Church, 9401 Mission Road. Entombment will immediately follow at Johnson County Memorial Gardens Indoor Mausoleum.