Robert J. Santella M.D.
1943 - 2018
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Robert J. Santella, MD December 4, 1943 - January 17, 2018 San Diego, CA Dr. Santella passed away unexpectedly and will be missed by family and friends. He was a practicing physician for the past 35 years in the San Diego area and was loved and respected by many. He was a graduate of the University of California at San Francisco Medical School and was a Board Certified Physician. He is survived by his wife France, two brothers, one sister, nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be held this Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018 at El Camino Memorial Sorrento Valley Chapel at 2pm.

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Published in San Diego Union-Tribune on Feb. 1, 2018.
Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by El Camino Memorial – Sorrento Valley and El Camino Memorial Park and Mortuaries (Sorrento Valley)
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40 entries
January 29, 2021
May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.
October 6, 2020
I appreciated his respect for my preferences not to be prescribed pharmaceuticals. I trusted his staff. It was several years ago when I stopped seeing him because I was dropped from Medicare however the service in his office was such that I was now willing to pay the whole bill out of pocket. I wonder whether another doctor might have come in and continued with the same outstanding staff.
Chef-doctor Jemichel
December 31, 2019
Still missing you my dear friend there's no other doctor that can stand up against you. You was one of the best. You was for the people u understood us. I think of u all the time. For some reason I can hear you saying don't worried everything will be fine. That's the kind of person you was all knew what to say. Rest on my friend.
Sarah Turner
July 11, 2019
I will miss Dr. Santella. He took a lot of time with me to figure out for me that I was misdiagnosed with cervical cancer. He and his staff were so wonderful. I will miss him.April Neal Nava
April Neal
February 11, 2019
Wow, just found out Dr Santella passed away. He did my C-section for my 1st daughter & Dr Santella and the other Dr in his office delivered by C-Section my 2nd daughter. He was such a passionate doctor. I know his wife Francine was a Psychologist. Rip
Ann Antillon
November 6, 2018
Awe my gosh. I had no idea... my mother and i were patients of his since my mother was pregnant with me and I will be 30 in December. He was kind and patient and knowledgeable. He had a way of explaining things in simple terms that non-medical professionals would understand. Just a wonderful physician and human and he will be missed. My condolences for his family.
Alexandra Hendricks
August 14, 2018
I still find it hard to believe he's gone. He was such a wonderful and caring doctor with a nice manner an always has time to listen. He was the one who suggested I have a breast lump xray and he turned out to be stage 2 cancer(yet an oncology doctor 2 months earlier didn't discover it after a breast exam) He was my primary care doctor for over 10 years. when I went thru 1 year of chemo. surgery to remove my breast and some lymph nodes, 34 radiation treatments, he and his staff helped me thru it. when I got lymphedema from the cancer treatments they were there for me. when I was forced to retire from work due to bone on bone arthritis in both knees and was facing joint knee replacement in both knees, he was there to keep my spirits high and that I would get thru it as well. I was at his office the end of Dec 2017 to wish him a happy retirement, along with many of his other patients, I had my first knee joint replacement Jan 16,Jennifer waited a week or so til I was recovering from knee surgery to let me know he had passed away Jan 17th. I broke down and cried all that nite as I couldn't believe he was gone and he was 2 years younger then me and looked so healthy in Dec.
ruthann storr
June 24, 2018
Your wife couldn't live without you now she not here on this earth no more it's so painful that u and her not here anymore it's hard on all of us too people that everyone love there will never be it's so hard to say good by now you too can rest on in peace
Sarah Turner
June 1, 2018
I have been his patient for nearly 18 years. I feel very fortunate to not only have received world-class healthcare from Dr Santella, but that I got a chance to sit down with him and tell him how much he has meant to me over the years, and to let him know he literally saved my life. This was just a few months before his death. A genuine and kind man who served this community well.
Ken Wilson
May 24, 2018
Glenn, give me a call. I'm concerned.
Gregory Nasralla
May 20, 2018
It seem like the effects are finally hitting me and I can't understand how much the loss is affecting me. Robert is such a loss and so much of me is in pain.
April 29, 2018
When Robert was in high school he did a science project on the dna double helix that was made of wire and colored gum drops. It stayed in his home after the science fair for years. He helped us with our science fair projects and was truly a big brother.
Gregory Nasralla
April 10, 2018
It still hasn't sunk in. What a loss to all of us that knew and loved him, and to those who did not have the chance to meet and share his love and intellect. His animated expressions of being "pissed off" were classic, but his love was felt in the instant you met him. We and the world have truly lost a great person.
Gregory Nasrallah
April 5, 2018
To those who may be unaware, Robert was also a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh(pre-med with highests honors), New York Medical School, and the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary School with highest honors. He went to the University of San Francisco to specialize and was also chief resident. Greg.
April 2, 2018
Happy Easter Dr Robert Santella rip you're sp miss it's still doesn't feel real at all it's not aday goes by that I don't think of u all our hearts is heavy things just not the same knowing that you will not be coming back you was a very sweet person and a good doctor wjat we going to do now!
Sarah Turner
March 29, 2018
Miss u Dr Robert Santella
Sarah Turner
March 15, 2018
Selene Shumate
February 27, 2018
Just learned of Dr santella passing. He was my Dr for 30 years. Delivered some of my friends children. He was a very good Dr!!!!! Always took his time to listen and explain everything to me. Bless his wife and family. He will be missed.
February 15, 2018
very sad this is the Dr that Delivered me at El Cajon Valley Hospital on June 28, 1977 I weighed 3 pounds 16 oz and my mother was only 17 years old. My Condolences to Dr Santella's family
Blake Ratliff
February 7, 2018
Very sad to hear of his passing. My doctor for 15 years. Was so kind and understanding.
Monica E.
February 5, 2018
Im so sorry to hear this, he was my doctor for over 20 yrs!! Heart and prayers goes out to the family!! Youll be missed Dr, S
February 3, 2018
Dr. Robert Santella took care of my family and I for 21 years. I am deeply saddened to hear the news of his passing.
Pamela Beckum
February 2, 2018
He loved what he did, and he did what he loved. Wish he could have enjoyed retirement longer. Little pain and suffering is blessed for him. I loved that he answered his own phone sometimes. He was one of the last, that could be, the real deal. Thank you for seeing me for years as a walk in. Beautiful open door policy. Honorable Man, Divine Doctor. Bless His Eternal Light.
February 2, 2018
France, we are all here for you. Love, Greg.
February 2, 2018
Praying for his family and patients. We will miss him so much. I was a patient and friend for 35 years. Thank you for taking care of me.

Rita Aguilar
Rita Aguilar
February 1, 2018
Doctor Santella had a passion for life, and helping others live life to the fullest. Unlike most doctors these days, I believe that He truly cared about his patients. He referred me to the best hand surgeon in town when he noticed that my hands were not improving after 2 extremely painful surgeries which left me all but unable to play my guitar. I am now able to play my guitar again thanks to him. He was extremely knowledgeable in many areas, and very fun to converse and joke with. I will miss him, and feel blessed to have known him. Rest in Peace, and I will always remember you, especially when i watch the great Valentino Rossi.
James Maybin
February 1, 2018
Glenn, My condolences on the loss of your brother.
Dawn Moeller
February 1, 2018
He was unique and I loved him as a friend and a brother. Highly intelligent, but he never kept it to himself, but shared by teaching those around him. He had a sense of adventure and wanted others to journey along. He was a straight shooter, and you knew where you stood with him, yet he had a high tolerance for the uninformed. He had an animated temper, all bark, no bite, but it was his way of saying don't push. He had a sense of passion about him and all he embraced. He wasn't one for half measures. I was fortunate to have him in my life, and for all the learning and mostly, the laughter. God bless all.
February 1, 2018
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January 31, 2018
I have known Dr. Santella for 44 years. He has been through thick and thin with me. My ups and downs. One of the down was stage 4 Cancer. The day I was diagnosed he had me scheduled for surgery 4 days later. He removed the cancer and saved my life. His fast action saved me from Chemo and 19 years later I am still cancer free. He has been my children's doctor as well as the rest of my family. He always had a warm smile waiting for me on every visit. I used to embarrass him by calling him my doctor God. I will miss him more than anyone will know. I felt safe with him. I knew when I left his office I was in the best hands. Until we meet again. You will be greatly missed.
Tammy Smoot
Tammy Smoot
January 29, 2018
We met first time in 1977 in SD, this was my first visit to U.S. As my brother in law, we have had great moments together, my sister, my wife and my little son. He was so human and fully commited to his patients.
Rob, we already miss you so much, you 'll forever stay in our hearts.
christian louis
January 28, 2018
Dr.Santella was my doctor for 22 years
I truly am blessed to have had him for my doctor. He always took great care of me and was a wonderful listener.
I know I will never find another doctor like him. Rest in peace doctor Santella
You are truly missed.
Dana Candiano
Dana Candiano
January 27, 2018
I really truly miss you so much you was a good doctor you love us unconditionally you was a people lover God knows you love what you was doing for the people sorry you have to leave us I've been crying since the day you left but I know it's going to get better in due time you was a friend u was a loving caring Dr that loves all of your patient I didn't get a change to say thank u for all u have done for my health
Sarah Turner
January 26, 2018
I worked with Dr. santella for a little over 4 years. When I started to work in his private practice they told me I would get thicker skin and be able to handle any situation. He was RIGHT! He had the biggest heart and truly cared for his patients and his employees. He is the best dr I have ever worked for and probably will ever work for. He always made sure his patients and his employees were taken care of. He is literally a walking book of knowledge. He has taught me so much. I will miss you dearly, I'll miss joking with you, ignoring you with my head phones on and you talking over my shoulder while I'm on the phone with patients. You have taught me so much and made me want to do so much more in the medical field. It was a blessing to work with you and I thank you so much for all that you have done. REST IN PARADISE
Blaoria Vanderhoof
January 25, 2018
Although I worked with Dr. Santella for a short while, I had come to respect and admire him greatly for his passion in helping people whether they were patients or not. I have never met a more devoted and caring doctor. I will miss his zany sense of humor and his plethora of knowledge! Rest in Paradise, Doctor Santella.
Dede Manuel
January 24, 2018
Dr Santella,
Well this is the end of a 42 yr relationship! And You Dr will be severely missed!! I'll never forget our laughter & disagreements but more importantly Thank You for all you have done for me!!! My Heart is HEAVY NOW but soon I'll join you and drive you crazy in Heaven!!!! God Bless You Dr Santella and may you Rest in Peace!! Thank You for helping Change so many of the things that needed to be changed in the medical field!!!!! This place will (your office) never be the same with out you!!!!!!! God Bless!!! I'll forever miss You!!!!!
Elizabeth Strang
January 24, 2018
What can I say about Dr santella it would take days for me to tell you how great he was I enjoyed going to work everyday he believed in me and made me want to be better and I learned so much from him . The jokes and the laughing that me and Dr santella were the funniest because our personality was the same we knew what each other was thinking without saying anything. I know he is up there going crazy because he hated attention on him well santella we are celebrating and remembering how much you meant and how much you did for everyone love and miss you.
Jennifer Loprete
January 23, 2018
Dr. Santella was the only Dr. In my 52 years that came in, spent time with me and made me feel like he cared. He was a good man and a great dr. He will be greatly missed.
Laurie & Dave Clancy
Laurie Clancy
January 20, 2018
Dr Santella was the most kind and caring doctor ever! We are very thankful for the great service he provided us throughout the years. Theres so many memories.
Ill never forget the time he let my dog come into the exam room while he gave me 20 stitches. It was an emergency.
He always took great care of us. Before I had insurance he would see me at a reduced cost and gift free samples of whatever medication I needed. He loved helping people.
We lost one of the greats! He will be missed severely. Thank you Dr Santella for all youve done!
Andy Perchy and Sara Parker
January 19, 2018
Robert Santella always took his time to take proper care of me, loving and kind. 3 other doctors told me I would walk with a crutch for the rest of my life. But he, Santella would not go for that, he directed me to a doctor that did surgery that made it possible for me to walk on my own, in 2010. I lost 4 family members in a very short time, he has done so much to help me, I would not of made it though without him, He always went the extra mile, and always had a answer for us, and offered help, listened, and was a friend, I could go on and on, at Christmas Royce my husband and I wrote him a card telling him how thankful we are for him and how much he meant to us. I'm so glad we did that, I know none of us are promised tomorrow. Robert Santella you have been a blessing, with such loving compassion, genuine concern for so many people, to me Vivian and my husband Royce, you will be greatly missed, but never forgotten. You have truly touched our life and so many others. We love you
Vivian & Royce Brown
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