Thomas Lawrence Garell, M.D.
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Merritt Island, FL
Thomas Lawrence Garell, M.D., 60, passed away on August 3, 2013 at his home in Merritt Island, after a 3-year battle with brain cancer. Tom was born in Hartford, CT on November 19, 1952 to Rildo and Gladys Garell, and grew up in North Palm Beach, FL. He enjoyed water skiing, boating and was active in Boy Scouts, achieving it's highest honor of becoming an Eagle Scout. He was an AAU competitive swimmer, specializing in the 1000-meter freestyle. Tom loved music and especially enjoyed playing the piano his entire life.
His childhood dream of becoming a physician was confirmed during high school when he first volunteered as a hospital orderly. He graduated from Palm Beach Gardens High School in June 1970, where he was the Salutatorian.
Tom attended Emory University on both academic and swimming scholarships, and graduated in 1974, with a degree in Biology. He was a member of Sigma Nu fraternity. He then attended University of South Florida College of Medicine in Tampa and graduated in 1977 with his Doctor of Medicine degree.
While at Emory, he met his future wife, Kay Chandler Hamilton. They were married in 1977, after he finished medical school. They subsequently moved to Memphis, TN, where Dr. Garell completed his internship and residency at Baptist Memorial Hospital in 1980.
He and Kay then moved to Merritt Island, where he joined the medical staff of Cape Canaveral Hospital in Cocoa Beach and began a private practice in Internal Medicine.
Dr. Garell was CCH medical staff president in 1986 - 1987 and played an active role in numerous hospital committees throughout his 30 years on staff. During his career he was a very dedicated and much loved internist who was committed to caring for his patients. His calm, reassuring presence and compassionate manner will always be remembered. In his spare time he enjoyed spending time with his family and friends, traveling, snow skiing, boating, gardening and the outdoors.
Tom was a wonderfully loving husband and father to two children, Lauren Garell Cordova and Tyler Burton Garell, both of Atlanta. He was a very supportive, dedicated father who always took great pride in them and played a very active role in their lives. He was anxiously awaiting the birth of his first grandchild, Grace Juliana Cordova, who is due in mid-August.
Tom was a member of Georgiana United Methodist Church on Merritt Island and in years past enjoyed singing in their choir.
He is survived by his loving wife of 36 years, Kay; daughter, Lauren Cordova (Gonzalo); son, Tyler Garell (Lindsey); father, Rildo Garell (Rosemary) of North Palm Beach; sister, Christine Screen (Christopher) of Metairie LA; brother, John Garell (Jeanie) of North Palm Beach; sister Kathy Collins of Windsor, CT, plus seven nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his mother, Gladys Bossi Garell, and grandfathers, Gustavo Garello (Theresa) and Paul Bossi (Bertha).
A memorial celebration of Tom's life will be held at a future date so that his daughter Lauren and baby Grace can attend. Pastor Corky Calhoun will be officiating. Details will be forthcoming.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be made to either Georgiana United Methodist Church, 3925 S. Tropical Trail, Merritt Island, FL 32952 or to Cape Canaveral Hospital Thomas L. Garell, MD Scholarship Fund, 701 W. Cocoa Beach Cswy, Cocoa Beach, FL 32931. Please indicate "Garell" on your memorial.
Published in FLORIDA TODAY on Aug. 4, 2013