Guido Volcovici

November 19, 1940 ~ April 7, 2020 (age 79) 79 Years Old


Dr. Guido Volcovici, a beloved husband, father, grandfather, friend and physician in lower Westchester county passed away on April 7th at Weill Cornell Hospital in Manhattan due to complications from COVID-19.

He was a man of great intellect, curiosity and humor who never took life for granted. As he used to tell it, the earth shook when he arrived on earth on November 19, 1940, born during an earthquake and the second world war.  Life in Bucharest, Romania was tough but dad was never hindered by hardship; it fueled him. He lived in a tiny apartment with his parents David and Tania Volcovici, both of whom were educators who were both talented in foreign languages and devoured knowledge about global cultures. They gave him a taste of a world beyond Romania and a desire to see it.

He completed high school at 16 and enrolled in medical school. Despite graduating top of his class, he was not placed in a hospital residency due to the antisemitism of the regime. Instead he was sent to work in a coal mining village. He took that adversity and turned it into an opportunity. The experience set him on a path to pulmonology, a profession he served until January 2020. He defected to the United States in 1969, first to Los Angeles and then New York.  He built his medical career in New York, first having to re-qualify to practice medicine. He had to work as an orderly in New York City hospitals and a physician assistant while he studied for his boards. He eventually built a pulmonary practice in Yonkers, New York at St Joseph’s Medical Center, where he was chief pulmonolgist and later worked as a consulting physician for nursing homes in Westchester County and New York City.

In many ways, Guido felt most at home in a hospital where he could interact with people from every corner of the earth. The hospital gave him a window to a wider world with each conversation and interaction he had. His colleagues have described the lengths of time he was willing to dedicate to patients, never wanting them to feel rushed. He also used to recount stories told to him by his colleagues – nurses, doctors, techs – who came to New York from around the world.  He took pride in his work – and in his ability to make an accurate diagnosis. He lived for the opportunity to help others live.

He was a proud immigrant – and despite his heavy Romanian accent – a proud American. He was always grateful for the opportunity the United States gave him to reinvent himself, to interact with people from around the world and to offer boundless opportunities to his children. Nothing made him happier than watching a classic American movie that brimmed with optimism. While he had a penchant for sarcasm and dark humor he was always an optimist at heart.

Later in life he embraced his role as a grandfather of four. Though his medical profession defined him, his role as a grandfather made him whole. In his last days he marveled at the fact that he came to the United States alone but had seen his family grow and created a legacy. Just being in the presence of his grandkids gave him a sense of peace, happiness and hope, he would say. Although their time with their grandfather was short, his spirit will be with them always.

Guido had worked as a physician until January when he was diagnosed with a rare form of Leukemia. While he was in the process of fighting that disease and focusing on building strength through physical therapy, he was exposed to the coronavirus. He leaves behind a broken-hearted family and friends who miss him dearly but will continue to honor and celebrate his memory. His larger-than-life presence will always be felt. 

Dr. Volcovici was buried at Sharon Gardens in Valhalla. His family did not hold a funeral service due to current restrictions but plans to honor him in a public memorial service at a date to be determined later.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in memory of Dr. Guido Volcovici to Hias , World Central Kitchen!/donation/checkout  or the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society COVID-19 Assistance Fund




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