If you read the late Dr. Victor P. deMedeiros’ obituary recently, and studied it thoroughly, you realized that here was a man whose dedication to his family and community was unparalleled. Last week, he passed away at the age of 91, after an incredible career in the medical field.
One of the founding fathers of the Bristol County Medical Center, Dr. deMedeiros was one of the most accomplished and well-respected physicians, not only here in Bristol, but across Rhode Island. For more than 35 years, he was always there for those who needed him in times of emergency or a follow-up medical visit. As he himself proclaimed, “medicine is my life. No phone call was too late, no visit too far.”
Dr. deMedeiros was always proud of his Portuguese heritage. Born on March 29, 1925, in Candelaria, Madalena on Pico Island, Azores, he moved to the United States in 1953. He was the physician for the International Ladies Garment Workers Union for 25 years, as well as Grace Barker Nursing Home and the Bristol School Department. But that was just the beginning.
His career flourished when he and a group of fellow physicians founded the Bristol County Medical Center, where he practiced until his retirement. He was also chief medical director for the RI Veterans Home, and the physician for the Bristol Sports Club, Fall River Sports, Academica, and East Providence Sports, all members of the Luso American Soccer Association.
Dr. deMedeiros’ love for sports was well known. He was the Bristol High School team doctor for football and soccer, and was always there when the kids needed him. He was a credit to the Bristol School Department.
Former Bristol High School football Coach Roland Rodrigues remembers those days well.
“I was very sorry to hear about Dr. deMedeiros,” he said. “He was a very good friend of me and my family. When I started coaching, he was the doctor for football and soccer. He was great with players and very good helping them with injuries. I lived down the street from him in the Highlands, and he would make house visits when nobody else would. He will be greatly missed.”
The Bristol Athletic Hall of Fame Committee found it fitting to induct Dr. deMedeiros to its Hall of Fame in 1996. At the time, the good doctor said he was overwhelmed by being included with some of Bristol’s most renowned athletes and contributors.
“I’m humbled by this,” he said that night. “I loved being around all these great guys.”
Dr. deMedeiros belonged to many clubs and organizations and was honored a number of times for meritorious service to his community. One of Dr. deMedeiros’ greatest honors was being named Chief Marshal of the 1969 Bristol Fourth of July Celebration. At the time of his death, he was believed to be the oldest living Fourth of July Parade chief marshal. Furthermore, in 1980, Dr. deMedeiros was named Chief Marshal of the Bristol Tricentennial Celebration.
But medicine and family were always his first loves.
“Dad was so passionate about his profession that he would live vicariously through us,” said daughter Lisa deMedeiros Morris. “For example, Dad wanted to ski, but was always concerned about getting injured and not being able to return to his patients, so he would take us to New Hampshire and watch us ski. He loved it.”
Dr. deMedeiros was dedicated to his patients and worked a lot, she said, but always made sure to make time for family.
“Dad loved to spend time with us because his long hours plus house calls during the week limited his time with us,” Ms. Morris said. “On Sundays, we would all pile in the car with Mom too and usually end up at Roger Williams Hospital or the RI Veterans Home while Dad did his rounds. Often times, we would go around and see the patients in the Veterans Home with him or sit in the doctor's lounge while he saw patients in the hospital. Of course, the next stop was something fun or yummy like ice cream at Newport Creamery or Eskimo King to keep everyone happy.”
Lynn Dober Mosher, daughter of the late Eric Dober, former Bristol High School head football coach, also remembers Dr. deMedeiros as a warm, loving and concerned person.
“As a child, I was sick quite often with high fevers, and remember Dr. deMedeiros coming to the house for ‘house calls,’ which is a practice of the past,” Ms. Mosher said. “He was a kind person to me during these times, and I'm sure my busy parents appreciated his care. He was a family friend and sports team physician, therefore at my house on numerous occasions. I learned that doctors are not just physicians, but also regular people.”
Dr. deMedeiros is survived by his wife, Angela deMedeiros, daughters Lisa M. Morris and Elena Marie deMedeiros, and son Victor A. deMedeiros and wife Minda. He was also the grandfather of Aria E. Read and her husband Jonathan, Nathaniel A. Morris, Joshua L. Morris, Jake B. deMedeiros, Cody B. deMedeiros and Caleigh E. deMedeiros.
Victor deMedeiros left behind a legacy that will be remembered. He was soft-spoken, genuine and at times, comical. He touched many lives in this town.