Dr. Mario Penafiel, 80

Anesthesiologist, teacher

Dr. Mario Loarca Penafiel, a retired anesthesiologist and professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, died Tuesday of colon cancer at his Odenton home. He was 80.

November 27, 2006

Dr. Penafiel was born and raised in Naguilian in the Philippine province of Isabela, and graduated in 1953 from Ateneo de Tuguegarao, a Jesuit school in Cagayan province.

He did his premedical through doctoral studies at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila and, after graduating in 1960, practiced general medicine for five years before immigrating to the United States.

After an internship in Yonkers, N.Y., he went to an internship at St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson, where he met Pearl Buhay, a medical technologist at the hospital. They married in 1967.

He went to White Plains, N.Y., for another internship and then to Baltimore for a residency in anesthesiology at what is now the University of Maryland Medical Center.

After his Baltimore internship was complete in 1970, he joined the hospital staff and remained there for more than 25 years as a cardiothoracic anesthesiologist focusing on heart surgeries.

He was also an assistant professor who taught students about the specialty.

"Not only did he take care of the patients, he loved teaching," said a son, Jay B. Penafiel of Crownsville, who is also a physician. He said the hospital staff told him that his father encouraged hands-on learning.

The elder Dr. Penafiel, who retired in 1996, was a member of MedChi, the Maryland State Medical Society, and the Association of Philippine Physicians of Maryland.

A devout Roman Catholic and longtime Hunt Valley resident, he was a parishioner at the Catholic Community of St. Francis Xavier.

He attended St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Odenton after he moved to that community this year.

He made several religious pilgrimages, including to Fatima, Portugal, Vatican City and Lourdes, France. He and his wife belonged to a Couples for Christ group.

After his retirement, Dr. Penafiel enjoyed weekly ballroom dancing events with his wife. He also gardened and watched basketball.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 1283 Odenton Road, Odenton.

In addition to his wife and son, he is survived by his mother, Molly Loarca Penafiel of Los Angeles; another son, Jack B. Penafiel of Owings Mills; a daughter, Jennifer Miller of Raleigh, N.C.; a brother, Oscar Penafiel of Manila; and four grandchildren.

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