This story originally appeared in the Summer 2021 edition of Promise magazine.
The legacy of Juan Perdomo, M.D., and his wife of 61 years, Angelina, reflects the deep affection the couple felt for Summa Akron City Hospital and the Akron community.
With Juan’s passing in 2016 and Angelina in 2020, there came to light a transformational gift demonstrating a love for and commitment to the health system that Dr. Juan Perdomo had served for more than two decades. Celeste Donohue, a close family friend, shared the story of the Perdomos for Promise magazine.
“I first met them in 1967 through a mutual friend,” she said. “I had moved to Akron from Florida for a teaching position. I was only 23. We had an instant connection, and they took me under their wing, like so many had done for them.”
By that time, Juan and Angelina, who had fled Cuba after the rise of Fidel Castro, had become American citizens. They never forgot the warm welcome they received when they first came to Akron.
Juan and Angelina met as students at the University of Havana in Cuba. There, Juan earned a degree in medicine, and Angelina earned a doctorate in philosophy and literature. They embraced the United States as their new homeland. Juan first went to Chicago, where he interned at the Sisters of the Little Flower Hospital, and then to Richmond Medical College in Richmond, Virginia, where he completed his residency in anesthesia. Angelina first went to New York City to stay with relatives until she and Juan were married in 1955.
When Juan accepted a position at what was then Akron City Hospital, the couple moved to Akron. There, professional relationships moved quickly to friendships and, in many cases, became family, surrounding the couple with warmth. One of Juan’s colleagues at the hospital was the late Dr. Eduardo Garcia, who also had earned his medical degree at the University of Havana. Another was Dr. Albert Bremer, who served as a mentor to Juan and became a lifelong friend.
“Juan was very dedicated to his profession and very happy to be at Summa Akron City Hospital,” said Celeste. “He always remained grateful to Dr. Bremer.”
After several years of working together, Juan, Dr. Bremer and other colleagues formed Professional Anesthesia Services in Akron. Juan went on to serve as president for many years. The practice served Summa’s Akron City and St. Thomas hospitals, Akron Children’s Hospital and Akron General Medical Center.
In 1992, Juan and Angelina retired to Coral Gables, Florida, where they lived for nearly three decades. Neither time nor distance diminished their affection for Akron and their Summa Akron City family.
"They loved Akron,” said Celeste. “They always felt very blessed. They wanted to give back and chose to share their blessings with others.”
Long after retiring, the Perdomos stayed connected to their adopted community, keeping their home in Akron until they were in their late 80s. “Even then, Juan regretted selling their Akron home,” Celeste said.
“He continued to feel strong ties to the place he loved. Juan would always tell me, ‘Akron is my home town. My life, my profession and my friendships all developed there.’”
With their gift, Juan and Angelina maintain their ties to Summa Akron City Hospital and Akron forever.
For more information about supporting Summa Health, contact Barbara Boyce at 330.375.6356 or email@example.com.