Sylvester J. Sanfilippo M.D.

Bloomington, Minnesota


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Sanfilippo, Sylvester J., MD Dr. Sylvester (Sy) J. Sanfilippo, 87, of Bloomington, MN and formerly of Edina, MN, passed away on May 2, 2013 at the Friendship Village senior living center in Bloomington. Son of Sicilian immigrants Salvatore and Rosaria Sanfilippo, Sy was born on January 1, 1926 in Rochester, NY, where he was raised and later met and married the love of his life, Edna Cannarella. Sy earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Rochester and both a Master of Science degree and a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Utah. He also served for two years as a lieutenant in the United States Navy. Sy was a practicing pediatrician in Richfield, MN for 26 years, retiring in 1988. He is remembered by patients and their parents for his gentle and reassuring care, warm smile, and natty bowties. In addition to practicing medicine, Sy was a medical researcher and a lecturer at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Sy's research led to his identification in the early 1960s of a rare and fatal genetic disease now known as Sanfilippo Syndrome (MPS-III). A fan of the Minnesota Vikings, Twins, and Gophers, Sy also enjoyed attending performances of the Minnesota Orchestra, the Guthrie Theater, and the Theatre in the Round. He was an avid reader of history and took pleasure in travelling the world with his wife. Sy is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Edna Sanfilippo; his three children, Sarah Sanfilippo, Amy Demarest, and Robert Sanfilippo; his daughter-in-law, Patricia Sanfilippo; his seven grandchildren, Andrew, Julia, Carolyn, Laura, Sarah, Michael and Anna; his brother, Joseph Sanfilippo; and several nieces and nephews. Sy was preceded in death by his brother, John Sanfilippo. Visitation is Thursday from 5 to 8 pm at Washburn-McReavy Funeral Chapel, 5000 W. 50th Street, Edina, MN. A memorial service will be held Friday at 10:00 am at Friendship Village, 8100 Highwood Dr., Bloomington, MN. Contributions in Sy's memory can be made to the National MPS Society, PO Box 14686, Durham, NC 27709-4686. Edina Chapel 952-920-3996
This obituary was originally published in the Star Tribune.

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In 1972, at 8 years of age, I got pneumonia. Your father ordered strict bedrest, and for the next month he made weekly trips to our home in Burnsville (which at that time was "out in the country") to personally take blood and test my CBC. What amazing care he gave me. God bless his memory.

My deepest sympathies. My mother, Patty Murphy, said it was a wonderful service. What an amazing life story.

Betsy Murphy Eisen

My wife and I are greatful that SY found this disease. Our daughter passed away 4 years ago from MPS 3. Without the understanding of the disease that SY gave us it would have been a lot harder to cope with her day to day challenges! May god bless Dr. Sanfilippo and all of the worlds children. Andy & Pam Faust

Dr. Sanfilippo was a giant among men. As a primary care physican, it was always reassuring to have his expert consultation on difficult pediatric diagnostic cases. His gentle, kind personal touch, to his colleagues, families, and patients was reassuring to all.

In Warm Remembrance,
Stephen Hanson, MD
Virginia Beach, VA.

Amy and family, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your father and grandfather. He sounds like a man who enjoyed his family and life in addition to making a major contribution to the health of others and medical research.
Anne Bishop from Cinema Chicks

Dear Sanfilippo family, I was a very sick and scared 6 yr old girl when I first went to see Dr Sanfilippo in 1966. He was so kind and gentle. He listened to my heart and said I needed to have further tests. The tests revealed a hole in my heart. A week later I had surgery. Without him I may have lived another year or two at most. I am now a mother and grandma and will celebrate Mother's day with my family. I thank you and God for sharing him with all of us who were fortunate enough to have...

My deepest sympathies on the loss of your Dad.

Rob Schwartz

Dr. Sanfillipo was my doctor. I remember him as being gentle and kind. One time, I was in the hospital waiting to have a test done. I was nervous. He stayed with me instead of going back to the clinic; I felt so much better with him there. Later, he was my sons' doctor. Chris remembers how he would whistle like a bird when he looked in his ears and would call him Chrissy. We saw each other at Southdale years later...we hugged. He was a really nice person. I am so sorry for your loss.

I remember Dr. Sanfilippo as a wonderful doctor and a pleasure to work for. I was a part of Richfield Peds from 1981 to 1988. I hope you will take comfort in knowing that there are many who grieve your loss with you and extend my deepest sympathy.