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Valentin Gracia (1929 - 2012)

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Valentin Gracia, M.D., 83, a physician, passed away Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012, at a local hospital. Funeral: 9:30 a.m. Saturday in Greenwood Chapel. Private interment: Greenwood Memorial Park. Visitation: 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at Greenwood Funeral Home. Valentin Gracia, M.D., was born May 5, 1929, in Panuco, Veracruz, Mexico, to Valentin Gracia and Maria Sanchez. In his early teen years, he moved to Mexico City to further his education. In 1952, he graduated from the University of Mexico School of Medicine. His medical training in the United States began as an intern at Monmouth Memorial Hospital in Long Branch, N.J., where he met his wife, Joan. The following years they were married while he was a surgery resident in Bethlehem, Pa. In their 58 years of marriage, they had eight children. He completed his general surgery training at Scott & White Clinic in Temple, followed by his plastic surgery residency at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. He moved to Fort Worth, where he practiced plastic surgery for the past 53 years. He was a member of numerous medical societies and worked at several local hospitals. His primary hospital was THR Harris Methodist Fort Worth, where he continued to actively practice until his recent illness. In 1965, he began doing charity work in Mexico beginning with Panuco, Veracruz, Mexico, his hometown. In 1972, he began going regularly to Mexico, founding the non-profit organization Proyecto Huasteco, "Sonrisa Alegre," also known as "The Project," a program whose ultimate purpose is to rehabilitate indigent children and adults with cleft lip-palate deformities. There were 73 trips in 13 cities, the last one in May of this year. To date 4,167 patients have been treated. He was a 50-year member of the Moslah Shrine, Worth Commandery and Mason, Julian Feild. He was a longtime chairman of the Shrine Circus Medical Committee. He was a member of the East Side Rotary Club. He was preceded in death by a son, Valentin Gracia III, an attorney, in 1997. Survivors: Wife, Joan Oltmann Gracia; sons, Walter D. Gracia, M.D., and his wife, Monica, Phillip Gracia and Carlos Gracia, M.D., and his wife, Martha Guerra, M.D., all of Fort Worth; daughters, Linda Gracia Hester, B.S.N., R.N., and her husband, Jay, of Fort Worth, Maria Gracia Minnis of Miami Fla., Rita L. Gracia, B.S.N., C.M.S.R.N., and Irene Gracia of Fort Worth; 14 grandchildren; one great-grandson; and relatives in New Jersey, Mexico and Spain.
Published in Star-Telegram from September 12 to September 13, 2012.
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