ELIZABETH C. LARDI

Obituary
  • "Dr. Coryllos changed our lives. We will never forget her."
    - Susannah Abbate
  • "Paul Sr., Lisa , Janice, Paul and Gordi...Love to you all...."
  • "Happy Birthday Mom!!!!"
    - Lisa Lardi-Echeverria
  • "Happy Birthday Betty in Heaven."
    - Charles Coren
  • "Dr. Coryllos was my hero! In 1963, I was born with no..."
    - Susan Hinners

LARDI--Dr. Elizabeth ("Betty) Coryllos Dr. Elizabeth ("Betty") Coryllos Lardi, died on March 6th, 2013 at her home in Old Brookville, NY at the age of 83, surrounded by her family and beloved dog, Niko. This extraordinary woman lived an anything but ordinary life. Born in New York City in 1929, as the only child of renowned thoracic surgeon, Dr. Polivius Coryllos and Lois Ralli Coryllos, she often said she considered being a veterinarian but, when advised that a woman could only work on small animals, decided to become a surgeon. To her, the words doctor and surgeon were synonymous; her father had always told her that to be a surgeon was to be a doctor with an added tool. After graduation from the Spence School in New York, Elizabeth studied pre-med at Barnard College where she graduated cum laude in 1949. She was a runner in the Greek Games, a college auctioneer, active in Physical Education and President of the combined Barnard-Columbia Pre-Med club. In 1953, she was one of two females to graduate from Cornell Medical School. The next step was an internship in Medicine and Pathology at the Cornell division at Bellevue, then a five year surgical residency, including one year as a New York Heart fellow, for which she earned her masters degree in Surgery and, as Senior Resident in General Surgery, helped set up the first heart-lung machine at NYU. In 1959, Elizabeth set off to Toronto where, as not only an American but the only female, she completed her Pediatric Surgery fellowship at the Hospital for Sick Children where she felt blessed to find wonderful people who rapidly made her feel welcomed. Upon returning to "her island", Manhattan, she began practicing pediatric surgery. She helped start the New York Society for Pediatric Surgery and her new home became New York Medical School-Metropolitan Medical Center where her first of many projects was to set up the new Department of Pediatric Surgery while holding the rank of Assistant Professor and Junior Attending on the Thoracic-Cardiovascular service, teaching 3rd and 4th year med students and surgery residents, and serving a term as President of the Hellenic Medical Society. In 1963, Elizabeth married attorney Paul F. Lardi. They began their life together in a one bedroom apartment over a garage on a Great Neck estate with their two adopted police horses and ultimately two babies. After moving to their current home in 1965, they had two more children and many more animals. It was during this time that Elizabeth went into private practice on Long Island and joined North Shore, Mercy and Meadowbrook hospitals where she was chief of Pediatric Surgery for many years. In 1965, she joined the staffs of Glen Cove and Nassau Hospitals, now Winthrop University Hospital. She later became Chief of Pediatric Surgery at Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffolk and was made Chairman of the New York State Injury Prevention Committee. Amongst the many accomplishments Elizabeth achieved professionally were her involvement in Pediatric Sports Medicine since its beginnings in the 1960's; the separation of Siamese twins in 1978, being named "Man of the Year" by the Lion's club in Glen Head, becoming active in the Advanced Trauma Life Support program as a State Faculty Member. She helped introduce the use of hypnosis combined with local anesthesia as an alternative for patients needing surgery who are medically contraindicated for general anesthesia. More recently, her work concentrated in the Breast Feeding program at Winthrop through which she became internationally known as one of the leading sources for lactation therapy. Elizabeth constantly sought to increase awareness of and treatment for children with osteogenesis Imperfecta. In 2001 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Teaching Attending Award for Pediatrics from Winthrop University hospital. In 2002 she was honored with the Distinguished Service Award by the Nassau Surgical Society and in 2003 the State of New York honored her for her "50 Years in Practice". The list of Elizabeth's diplomas, certificates, awards, associations and memberships goes on. She was a uniquely gifted surgeon who sought to heal not only the child that was her patient, but also their families. She was a strong and confident 5 foot 3 inch tall woman who carried a gift from God in both her hands and her heart; her mission in life was to share those gifts with as many people as she could. As a mother, Elizabeth treated every child in the way she would hope another doctor would treat her own. Elizabeth lived her personal life as passionately as her professional life. She and her family indulged their love of farming and outdoors with a small Angus farm. She will always be remembered for her desire to save everything from a human life to a shriveled up plant; her love of gardening and adventure, and her will to make a difference. She was a daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, cousin, friend, role model, a reason to believe that nothing is impossible, a symbol of hope and encouragement, and so much more. She lived her life to help others and have a great time in the process. Whenever cautioned that a planned new challenge would overtax her capacities, Elizabeth would quote her idol, Joan of Arc, and say, "I'm not afraid, I was born to do this". Elizabeth is survived by her husband, Paul, and all four children and seven grandchildren; Lisa (Sergio Echeverria), Paul (Laiz; Nina, Chloe), Janice (Steve Ross; Will, Cole, Luke), and Gordon (Shana; Jaden, Ava). Visitation will take place at the Whitting Funeral Home, 300 Glen Cove Ave, Glen Head, NY 11545, on Sunday, March 10, from 2pm through 9pm. www.whitting.com. Funeral services will be held on Monday, March 11at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Resurrection, 1400 Cedar Swamp Road, Brookville, NY. at 10am. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a contribution to The Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation. OIF.org

Published in The New York Times on Mar. 8, 2013
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