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Andriana Natale Thompson

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Andriana Natale Thompson Obituary
Thompson, Andriana Natale
Dr. Andriana Natale Thompson, MD, 90, of New Haven, died peacefully on Wednesday Nov. 29, 2017, surrounded by her loving children and her devoted caregiver, Akua Fisher, at The Connecticut Hospice. A New Year's baby, Dr. Natale was born on January 1, 1927 on Staten Island to Antonio and Olga Natale, the eldest of two daughters (Rose Natale Kelly). Her father, an Italian immigrant and master shoemaker, and her mother, a skilled seamstress and neighborhood altruist, provided Andriana with the support and inspiration for her passionate career in medicine, specifically surgery. Never without a book or tool in hand, her drive and commitment led her to become the first female in the country to hold the title of Chief Resident of Surgery in 1954 at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx. During WWII, her teenage years, Andriana and her family would regularly visit Fort Dix searching for Italian relatives who were prisoners of war (POW). After interviewing, reading and translating for POWs, she and her family ended their visits by sharing home-made pasta and bread with them. It was these experiences that developed her language skills, volunteerism, and her commitment to the welfare of veterans. As the Valedictorian of her high school class, Andriana graduated early and was the recipient of a full scholarship to New York University where she double-majored in Biology and language, receiving the highest awards for her proficiency in four different languages, Italian, Spanish, Latin and German. She continued on to NYU medical school, supporting herself through scholarships, working as a phlebotomist, and through the assistance of her sister Rose who worked as a laboratory technician. Graduating medical school in 1950 at the age of 23, Dr. Natale chose surgery as her specialty and did her surgical internship at St. Vincent's Hospital in New York, from 1950-1951. Dr. Natale did her surgical residency at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, NY from 1951-1955. It was here that she became an Assistant Resident in the Surgical and Laboratory Division, and Resident in the Surgical Division. She held the honor of being the first female Chief Resident from 1954-1955. It was at Montefiore where she met her husband, Professor John D. Thompson, then the Director of the hospital. Dr. Natale had a reputation of whimsical intelligence, integrity and extreme generosity. She volunteered in the Montefiore health clinic for staff and the indigent. In between her surgical duties, she volunteered to translate for Italian, Spanish, and German-speaking patients. Always modest and humble, Dr. Natale was hesitant to call herself a trailblazer but she was just that. She was a true pioneer as a female physician and surgeon. After marrying John they decided to head to Yale in New Haven, CT. As the only woman at the time studying for her surgical boards at Yale, Dr. Natale passed them in 1960, becoming certified to practice surgery in both NY and CT. It was then she decided to put her medical career on hold while she raised a family. She and John had seven children. Once the children were school-age, she began working at the Yale University Health Plan serving as Director of Student Health. Taking full advantage of her Yale campus exposure to the issues of the time such as the political protest of the Vietnam War, support of feminism and human rights, Dr. Natale joined her Westville neighbors to march in and serve on the standby medical team for the May Day rally on the New Haven Green during the Black Panther Era. Embracing the family experiences at Fort Dix, she then took a position in 1977 as a hospital attending physician doing urgent care and triage at the VA in West Haven, CT. She retired from the VA in 2002, at the age of 75 years after having cared for thousands of veterans. Known for her impeccable bedside manner, diagnostic expertise, and her profound medical knowledge, Dr. Natale was a well-regarded physician by her colleagues and was loved by all her patients. She was a longtime volunteer with the American Cancer Society (ACS) and held the position of President of the Connecticut South Central Chapter from 1974-1977. Dr. Natale traveled all over the state lecturing and teaching breast cancer detection. As a volunteer with the Connecticut ACS, she received the Milton Geyer Public Education Volunteer Life Saver Award in 1991. Dr. Natale was an active member of her church, St. Aedan's in Westville, as well as other community organizations. She served as a Board member for multiple local organizations, with a primary focus on mental health and addiction services. She was an outstanding role model and instilled in her children the importance of giving back to the community and being of service to others. A lifelong learner, Dr. Natale was often found with her nose in a book, newspaper, or professional journal. She also loved the theater and was a season ticket holder at Long Wharf Theater for many years. She was preceded in death by her husband, Professor John D. Thompson, and her daughter, Monica N. Thompson. She is survived by five daughters, Margaret D. Thompson of Newton, MA, Julie Creamer (Skip) of Milton, MA, Siobhan Thompson and Deirdre Hamilton, both of Branford, CT, and Maire Thompson of Emeryville, CA; a son, Anthony Thompson (Carolyn) of Branford; her sister, Rose Kelly of New Jersey; and her loving grandchildren Leah and Peter Roberge, Matt and Mike Potter and Lauren Thompson, Hank Hamilton, Warren, Zachary, and Matthew Creamer, and her loving nieces and nephews. It is with great sadness and with great love that say farewell to our mother, our mentor, and our friend. Just as she accomplished her studies, she lived her life - Summa Cum Laude! The Thompson family would also like to acknowledge the support of the incredibly dedicated and talented staff of the CT home and inpatient Hospice in Branford.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. in St. Aedan Church, Fountain St., New Haven. Burial will follow in St. Lawrence Cemetery. Calling hours at Sisk Brothers Funeral Home, 3105 Whitney Ave., Hamden were held Friday from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, The Thompson family would ask that donations be made to the John D. Thompson Hospice Institute for Research, Education and Training, 100 Double Beach Road, Branford, CT 06405. To leave an online condolence please visit www.siskbrothers.com.
Published in The New Haven Register on Dec. 2, 2017
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