Jul 10

Honoring Dr. Louis Tedone

Dr. Louis Tedone will be honored this evening, July 9, 2013 at Mission San Luis Obispo Parish Hall.
Tribune reporter Sarah Arnquist wrote this story published Sept. 10, 2006:

Dr. Louis Tedone, 83, will recieve the first Louis Tedone Humanitarian award next week from French Hospital for his 45 years of serving the community as a pediatrician and volunteer.  ©The Tribune/ Aaron Lambert

Dr. Louis Tedone, 83, will receive the first Louis Tedone Humanitarian award next week from French Hospital for his 45 years of serving the community as a pediatrician and volunteer.
©The Tribune/ Aaron Lambert


Few people have touched as many lives in San Luis Obispo as Dr. Louis Tedone, say those who know him.

Tedone was San Luis Obispo’s first pediatrician. In his 45-year career, he cared for more than 30,000 children, and according to his friends, the doctor’s dedication to his patients, family, friends and community define him as a great humanitarian of his time.

On Sept. 16, French Hospital Medical Center will honor Tedone, 83, for his extraordinary contributions to improve the community’s health.

In future years, the hospital’s foundation annually will award a local provider or advocate with the Louis Tedone Humanitarian Award for a lifetime dedication to health care and improving the community’s health.

Bill Thoma, a member of the French Hospital Foundation and San Luis Obispo native, said Tedone cared for Thoma when he was a child — and later his children.

“I can’t think of anyone that had a better bedside manner, ” Thoma said.

After learning of the award, a humbled Tedone said his initial feelings were surprise, then bewilderment and eventually pride. He considers himself lucky to have chosen a career that never bored him, provided job security and allowed him to help people and earn a good living.

“The most important thing that you do (as a doctor) is help a lot of people, ” he said.

The Brooklyn-born son of Italian immigrants graduated from New York Medical College in 1947 and was stationed at Camp Roberts during the Korean War. Tedone stayed in San Luis Obispo after the war and joined Dr. Edison French’s specialty clinic. The team of doctors ushered in the practice of specialty care, a new concept then but the norm today.

Tedone and his wife, Grace, who died from cancer in 1994, raised nine children. In his spare time, Tedone volunteered in the community. He organized the county’s first mental health clinic and served on its advisory board for 10 years. He also taught sex education at Mission Prep High School for 15 years.

Besides great advances in technology and treatments, Tedone said the increased influence of insurance companies and managed care is probably the largest change he witnessed in medicine.

“I’m lucky because I chose pediatrics, ” he said, “and that I did it in a time that we refer to as the ‘golden age of medicine’ when there was less government and insurance interference.”

Bob Wacker, Tedone’s friend and one of the award’s sponsors, called Tedone “one of the finest people I’ve ever known.”

“He often refers to himself as ‘Lucky Louie’ because of all the good things that have happened to him, ” Wacker said. “But he works to earn his luck and deserves all the good things that come his way.”

Tedone said all nine of his children and their spouses plan to watch him receive his award. He has 22 grandchildren, most of whom live in the county, who keep his days full. But he also finds time to make his famous mozzarella cheese and stay involved with the community.

“You can’t hardly walk down the street and find someone who doesn’t know who Doc Tedone is, ” Thoma said.

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