Dr. Samuel Wirtschafter
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August 21, 1927 - May 26, 2020 Dr. Samuel Wirtschafter was a man whose life was about learning and laughing every day. He was loved and admired by his family, his patients, and everyone at San Pedro Hospital, where he worked for forty one years. Sam received his MD from USC in 1957, and received his PHD from the UCLA department of Biology while in medical school. He graduated number two in his class from USC. He completed his internal medicine residency and gastroenterology fellowship in 1961, and that same year started practice in San Pedro, where he worked until his retirement in 2002. Sam chose to live and work in San Pedro to be able to take care of people who had travelled by boat from all over the world. He also loved going fishing off Catalina Island. Sam was a major force in the evolution of San Pedro Hospital becoming a great example of a community hospital providing first class care in all specialties. He was involved in major administrative decisions as chief of the department of medicine, chief of the gastroenterology department subsection, and serving on the Board of Directors. Sam was also a clinical professor of medicine from 1961 until his retirement. Along with his work at the hospital, Sam also volunteered at the Long Beach Free Clinic and Marine Land. At the aquarium, he applied his knowledge of medicine and biology to seals, dolphins and whales, including saving "Bubbles " the whale by using a modified endoscope to remove a towel that she swallowed from her stomach. He was truly a doctor on call for the world, and with his love of traveling and photography, was able to bring many of his adventures back home to his family and friends. From a very early age, Sam's son Dave, was lucky enough to go fishing all over the world with his father, whom he idolized. Sam married his college sweetheart, Mollie, while in medical school. They had an incredible marriage, which lasted over fifty years. After Mollie's death, he married Margo Miller, with whom he had years of happiness. Sam is survived by his son Dave Wirtschafter, Dave's wife Dominique, and their twin daughters, Kauri and Ryan, who were the great joys of Sam's life. As much as he loved his daughter-in-law and granddaughters, they loved him more. In honor of Sam's lifetime love and commitment to San Pedro, his ashes will be cast out to sea off the shore of San Pedro. Donations in memory of Dr. Sam Wirtschafter will support the SCS Noonan Scholars. Please go to scsnoonan.org for more information


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Published in Daily Breeze on Jun. 15, 2020.
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20 entries
September 24, 2020
My sincerest condolences to Sam’s family. I came to know Sam as a student at USC. During my senior year, and after graduation, Sam would let me come to his office and shadow his practice during the day. He and I shared a great love of medicine, Tanzania, and afternoon chats about life. I learned a great deal from him of course in regards to medicine, but about life as well. It is because of Sam I did not pursue medicine, but instead found my passion teaching and educating. Sam and I stayed in touch after graduation, and I wish I had remained closer. To his family, please know, when he talked about Dave and the twins, oh the light in his eyes would beam. And Margo, how lucky was he was to have your love and friendship, and you, his. I am so saddened by this news, but I know he lived such a rich and beautiful life. He will live on surely in the stories I tell of good Dr. Wirtschafter, as well as the memories of others.
Megan Miller Sisto
Friend
September 24, 2020
My sincerest condolences to Sam’s family. I came to know Sam as a student at USC. During my senior year, and after graduation, Sam would let me come to his office and shadow his practice during the day. He and I shared a great love of medicine, Tanzania, and afternoon chats about life. I learned a great deal from him of course in regards to medicine, but about life as well. It is because of Sam I did not pursue medicine, but instead found my passion teaching and educating. Sam and I stayed in touch after graduation, and I wish I had remained closer. To his family, please know, when he talked about Dave and the twins, oh the light in his eyes would beam. And Margo, how lucky was he was to have your love and friendship, and you, his. I am so saddened by this news, but I know he lived such a rich and beautiful life. He will live on surely in the stories I tell of good Dr. Wirtschafter, as well as the memories of others.
Megan Miller - Sisto
Friend
September 24, 2020
My sincerest condolences to Sam’s family. I came to know Sam as a student at USC. During my senior year, and after graduation, Sam would let me come to his office and shadow his practice during the day. He and I shared a great love of medicine, Tanzania, and afternoon chats about life. I learned a great deal from him of course in regards to medicine, but about life as well. It is because of Sam I did not pursue medicine, but instead found my passion teaching and educating. Sam and I stayed in touch after graduation, and I wish I had remained closer. To his family, please know, when he talked about Dave and the twins, oh the light in his eyes would beam. And Margo, how lucky was he was to have your love and friendship, and you, his. I am so saddened by this news, but I know he lived such a rich and beautiful life. He will live on surely in the stories I tell of good Dr. Wirtschafter, as well as the memories of others.
Megan Miller - Sisto
Friend
June 21, 2020
My Doctor, my hero!! 48 years with him - he even made house calls 'back in the day'!! I retired from Doctors when Doctor Wirtschafter retired! Honestly irreplaceable!!! What a loss for San Pedro/RPV/San Pedro Peninsula Hospital!! My condolences to his family!!
Ruth Hummel
Friend
June 19, 2020
I first met Sam while in graduate school with his son and was immediately struck by his intelligence, sense of humor and equanimity. I particularly remember a sports mishap one weekend where I woke up bleeding internally. Although not my doctor, Sam wouldn't hear of me going to the ER in Santa Monica. Instead, he opened his offices in San Pedro to take care of me. Sincerest condolences to Dave, Dominique, Kauri and Ryan from the Shumway family.
Jeff Shumway
Friend
June 18, 2020
I had to check acquaintance as my relationship to the
Doctor because there was no choice for patient. I was his patient for 35 years and his vast knowledge brought me back to good health many time. What a caring physician . My condolences to his family for your loss.
Deborah Power
Acquaintance
June 17, 2020
My sincere condolences to Dr. Wirtschafter's family.
I worked at San Pedro Peninsula hospital for over 30 years. Dr. Wirtschafter was always kind, generous, respected and had a quick wit which I loved.
Rest in peace Dr. Sam
Maria Cardinale
Coworker
June 16, 2020
My sincere condolences to the Wirtschafter family. My doctor for 40 years, then my neighbor for the past few. I called him my quiet neighbor as I rarely saw or heard him but always glad to know he was there. I will miss him.
Alice Patterson
Friend
June 16, 2020
Sam, Thank you for all the adventures and memories. Our family appreciated your kindness, thoughtfulness, sincerity, humor, and wit. We will never forget your great stories, historical perspectives, interest in our children, and wisdom. Take care dear friend. We will miss you. The Gioiello Family
Gioiello Family
Friend
June 15, 2020
Dr. Sam was my neighbor, and I saw him a few weeks ago, then his wife died a few days after he did. He spent time with his medical colleagues daily, and the chef used the same menu of 21 entrees each week. I used to take him to his medical appointments. If he had not moved to RPV, I would not have had the pleasure of meeting him, before his complications of Leukemia. Doc, go find your darling and dog, they are waiting for you.
Patrick William Stednitz
Friend
June 15, 2020
I am truly sorry about your father , N grandfather!! He was an incredible physician and had so much respect in the community of San Pedro, that you can never find another doctor like him. Many physicians can learn by his example and the legacy that he left behind! He had true value, virtue and class!! Well into his retirement years and gave so many people and patients a sense of peace with his style of practicing medicine. He will be extremely missed and his legacy will be and should be an inspiration and a learning tool for many physicians to come in the San Pedro Southbay community! A true class act!!!
Jill Ursich
Friend
June 15, 2020
I am truly sorry about your wonderful father! He was an incredible physician And had an impeccable reputation in San Pedro! He worked up until I couldnt anymore he gave of himself to the community for over 41 years! He will be truly missed and they do not make doctors like this anymore! He was a man a virtue and pride and took great care of his patients.
JJ Ursich
Friend
June 15, 2020
Dr. Wirtschafter was an excellent physician and neighbor. His wonderful photography brought his travels home for all to share. He will be missed,
John and Alicia Maniatakis
John Maniatakis
Neighbor
June 15, 2020
Sam was an excellent physician and a very accomplished man. My father and Sam were colleagues and friends for about 60 years, and I knew Sam from the time that I was a very young boy. Sam was a very caring father and he was extremely proud of his son. On behalf of the entire Hill family, I express my condolences to David and his family.
Forest Hill
Friend
June 13, 2020
It was an honor to have known Dr. Wirtschafter. He was loved and respected by the medical staff at San Pedro Hospital. i will always remember his response when you asked him how was doing. "Splendid!" QDEP
Andres Jimenez, MD
Coworker
June 13, 2020
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Kirk Sommer
June 13, 2020
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Phyllis Whitmore
June 12, 2020
Dr.Wirtschafter was a wonderful doctor and person. He had a very big heart. His smile would light up the day. Dr.Wirtschaftet will be greatly missed . We will all miss Have a splendid day.
Phyllis Whitmore
Coworker
June 12, 2020
I am Mary Ellen Donnellys daughter , Carol Pinel . My mom worked at San Pedro Hospital from 1968 to 1986. She was a very good friend of Dr. Whirtschafter , They had many memories together. May he Rest In Peace.
Carol Pinel
June 12, 2020
i worked with Dr. Wirtschafter at San Pedro Hospital for over 30 years. He was a great doctor taking care of me and many family members in a compassionate and caring manner. He was a staunch supporter of nurses and was always willing to share his knowledge. My sympathies to David and the family. He was so proud of you all. He will not be forgotten. Nancy Young RN
Nancy Young RN
Coworker
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