Dr. Deogracias Ladao Caangay

January 8, 1946 - February 11, 2022

Dr. Deogracias Ladao Caangay, devoted husband, loving father, committed physician, and resident of North Fort Myers, passed away Friday, February 11, 2022, in Fort Myers at the age of 76.  He was born in Sagay, Philippines, to Ceriaco & Esperanza Caangay, both deceased. 

He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Medical Technology and a Doctor of Medicine Degree at Far Eastern University, Manila. This is also where he met and courted Beth and her family. Dr. Caangay taught Physiology at FEU Department of Medicine and interned at Subic Bay United States Naval Hospital. This was followed by a Pediatric Residency at Clark US Air Force Base Hospital, where he was one of the pediatricians who provided initial care for the evacuated Vietnamese children of Operation: Baby Lift. Leaving behind his wife and his first-born, he emigrated to the United States in 1976, beginning another Pediatric Residency at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Memphis, TN. But the weather did not agree with this child of tropical islands, so he transferred to the University of South Florida’s Pediatric Residency program, where he was reunited with his wife and baby. Under the tutelage of Drs. John Curran and Lewis Barness, he became USF’s first Fellow of Neonatology. He soon joined the NICU of St Mary’s Hospital in West Palm Beach, FL, headed by Dr. Luis Arango.

In 1983, with wife and three kids in tow plus another on the way, Dr. Caangay founded SW Florida’s first Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Associates in Neonatology, at Lee Memorial Hospital Downtown. From the humble beginnings of 10 little beds in a hallway, they soon needed more room; their expansion to 48 beds became the cornerstone of HealthPark Medical Center, and then the 70 NICU beds of Golisano’s Children’s Hospital. Concordantly, this practice provided neonatal coverage to Cape Coral Hospital, Gulf Coast Medical Center, Naples Community Hospital, North Collier Hospital, and Physician’s Regional Hospital in South Naples. Throughout his career he was committed to the health of the babies of the region; if there was a sick baby born in Southwest Florida between 1983 and his retirement in 2015, there was a good chance Dr. Caangay attended to that child, an estimated 15,000 patients in total!

Deo, as a devout Roman Catholic, and Beth, as a devout Methodist, raised their family and community in their own “Cathodist-Metholic-Filipino” tradition. Upon retirement in 2015, he went back to his roots as a fisherman and farmer, with his latest classroom as YouTube University for grafting trees and experimental growth methods. He indulged in his hobbies, which included singing, pilgrimages to Holy sites, boating and fishing with his children and grandchildren, gardening, bonsai, and tending to his orchard of tropical fruits, especially mangoes. Together with his cousin-in-law, Dr. Narciso Albarracin, they formed the Jonar Bible Study group which crosses the Florida border to Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, California; over the American border to Canada, and across the oceans to the Philippines. He was a regular fixture at the daily Mass at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, where he is a long-standing member.

He is survived by his loving wife of 47 years, Beth Caangay, MD; four loving children, Ephraim Caangay, MD (Christine), Joy Caangay Moore (Jaret), Christopher Reyes Caangay, MD, and Jason Dale Reyes Caangay (Holly); five grandchildren, Xavier, Cameron, Aria, Avalyn, and Alan; one sister, Josefina Rabino (Candido); brother-in-law, Alfredo Kho (Remy); sister-in-law, Cenciafina Centeno (Carolino); Uncle, Zosimo (Tonette) Ladao; cousins,  Melchor Mercado, Jr. (Josephine), Garnette Resaba (Milo), Bobby Ladao (Levi), Ramil Ladao, Jhun Ladao, RamRam Ladao, Carol Mantua; nieces and nephews, Ronald (Kathy), Marietta (Stephen), Monica (Joy), Joe, Mark (Ayda), GJ (Hannah), Jovy, Gemma, Rob, Nelson, Emil, Georgette (Spencer); as well as Donald Hinnant (April), Dr. Dante Loo, his best friend and classmate, Dr. & Mrs. John Curran, his adopted father (Heather & Heidi), The Barkada, and beloved colleagues and co-workers in the NICU.

Dr. Caangay was preceded in death by son, Alan Daniel Reyes Caangay and sister, Remedios Caangay Kho.

A memorial mass will be held 11:00 AM, Saturday, March 19, 2022, at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, 2057 Cleveland Ave, Fort Myers, FL 33901 with Father Anthony Hewitt, J.C.L. and Father Ronnie Sison officiating. Eulogy and lunch will follow at the Caangay Residence in Hidden Acres Circle. Facebook Livestreaming will be available.

Mullins Memorial Funeral Home & Cremation Service, Fort Myers, is entrusted with final care.


  1. Ephraim R Caangay Feb 21, 2022 at 5:05 pm

    Papa chilling out.

  2. Patrick and Peggy O’Hara Feb 23, 2022 at 11:26 pm

    We are so very sad for the Caangay family. We have sweet memories of Deo and Beth when our Dad, Dr. Bernard O’Hara, introduced us in the early eighties in West Palm Beach, then visiting your family in North Ft. Myers and watching and listening to Deo sing. We remember Deo’s sincere smile and sense of humor and the warm love of family in your home. We hope we can join you at the funeral mass next month. God bless you all, and love from Patrick and Peggy O’Hara.

  3. Michael. T. Foust Feb 25, 2022 at 2:48 pm

    My family has known the Caangay’s since I was around the age of 5. My grandmother, was a nanny to Joy, Chris, Jason and Ephraim, as well as worked at Lee Memorial Hospital. Joy and I would later became classmates, as our friendship and love of family grew. Deo, may you rest eternally with The Father. Seep In Peace. Well done thy good and faithful servant.

  4. Edwin and Gigi Etcubanez Mar 7, 2022 at 4:09 am

    Our dear Beth and family,
    We offer our heartfelt sympathies on Deo’s passing. He is such a sweet friend and classmate to Edwin.
    We feel your loss.
    He will surely be in heaven with his parents and sibling and Allan, happy and looking down at all of you with all his love.
    He will be missed.
    Rest in peace dear Deo.
    We love you.
    Edwin and Gigi

  5. Melinda Ceniza Holt Mar 7, 2022 at 8:27 am

    Dr. Caangay, have a joyous journey to meet the Lord. Rest in eternal peace and happiness beside Jesus. Your kindness will never be forgotten. To Beth and the whole family, be at peace! I will always remember both of you. To a newly arrived Cebuano nurse of St Mary’s you two were a great blessing! Thank you!

  6. Rosie Wysong Browning Mar 8, 2022 at 3:55 pm

    Beth and Family, I was sad to hear about your husband and father’s passing. Although I didn’t know him, I know his family, and they are kind, loving, honest, generous people. Traits that I know was shared by your husband/father. All of you have left a beautiful legacy of him. Beth, I still have a sweater that you gave me years ago. I remember the children and the bright spots that they created for me in the IB program. Unfortunately, we will be out of town on the day of the memorial service. Please know that my heart and prayers have been with you since I read the obit and will be with you at the memorial. Prayers and hugs to all of you.
    Rosie Wysong Browning

  7. Sandra Blackington Mar 12, 2022 at 8:48 am

    Heartfelt condolences to you Beth and all of your loving family. I was so saddened to hear about Dr. Caangay’s sudden illness and death. I always held the highest respect for him as a devoted physician and leader in the establishment of the NICU . I was new to the Fort Myers NICU in 1996 when I was recruited at the Nurse Director of the NICU. As a professional colleague he was supportive of so many efforts to continue to improve neonatal care. Beth I will also never forget your presence, with the Dr., in caring and hospitality for all the NICU staff. With my deepest sympathy for your loss. Sandy Blackington

  8. Dr. & Mrs. Narciso Albarracin, Jr. Mar 13, 2022 at 5:58 pm

    Terri and I are still in disbelief, and we terribly miss you, Deo — you who was so full of charity, Christian love, music, many other talents that you pursued with passion, qualifying you as a modern renaissance man. Your self-deprecating and brilliant humor startles: “I chose the specialty of Neonatology because I want my patients to me smaller than I.” And at your retirement party: “I used to be 6-ft tall but after working so many years in this NICU, look at me now!” The “work in progress” attitude of your Heaven-bound journey founded the virtual JoNar Bible Study Group during the “vacant” and otherwise unproductive time of the Covid Era. Terri and I will miss those foursome Saturday afternoon sessions when we studied the Bible and shared Christian experiences. And those evenings of music and desserts in our home @ Moody River, sessions which Terri practically “demanded” of you (and asked to leave one of your guitars at our place) — oh, what happy snowbirding memories for us. Someday (at my age, sooner than later) if I’ll be blessed enough to land where you are now, let’s continue our music sessions, covering English and Cebuano and Tagalog and angelic music. In the absence of your precious presence, we too can say, “We used to be 6 ft tall in joy and happiness, but look at us now.” Manong Dodong and Manang Terri, Columbus, OH.

  9. Rozzi Osterman Mar 19, 2022 at 11:19 am

    We only met a few times, but when my husband would see Dr Cangaay, he would immediately take me over to visit with him. My husband, John Osterman, a pediatric neurologist, worked together with Dr Cangaay. for many years.. He was such a highly respected colleague and even more importantly a wonderful and kind man.
    In our Jewish tradition, we call that a true mensch.
    Our deepest condolence
    to the entire Cangaay family from the Osterman family

  10. Carol, Rianna, Celina Mantua Mar 19, 2022 at 11:36 am

    Sending our love and deepest sympathy to Manang Beth and family. We will forever be thankful to Manong Deo for his kindness and generous heart even across the miles. May he rest in peace, Amen🙏

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