Dr. Deogracias Ladao Caangay
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.