Thomas Lombardo, MD

In Memoriam
Thomas A. Lombardo

Dr. Thomas Lombardo passed away peacefully on Tuesday, August 15, 2023 at the age of 95, after a ten-year battle with cancer. He defied many odds with his illness and was able to live several years past his expectancy. He was born September 10, 1927, in Beaumont, Texas.

The third child of Anthony and Antoinette Maida Lombardo, Tom graduated from Beaumont High School in 1944, then attended the University of Texas at Austin and graduated in 1946. After graduation, he was accepted into medical school at the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas, graduating number two in his class in 1951.

In June of 1950, Tom married his high school sweetheart, Eleanor Jean Ming, in Beaumont, Texas. After graduating from medical school, he did a year of research in Birmingham, Alabama with his mentor, Tinsley R. Harrison, MD – generally acknowledged as one of the finest academic physicians in the entire history of modern medicine. He began training in his chosen field of Internal Medicine and Cardiology. First, as an intern at the Brigham Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, then a residency in internal medicine at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, followed by a fellowship in cardiovascular diseases at the National Institute of Health in Washington, D.C. He also was served with USPHS from 1954-56 as a senior assistant surgeon.

During these years Tom and Jean had three children, Karen, Lauren and Randy, each of whom were born in different cities.

Upon completing his medical training, he joined the faculty at the University of Alabama Medical School. After a year in academic medicine, he felt the need to return to his hometown of Beaumont in 1957; it was there that he opened his own medical practice in cardiology where he continued to work into his early 90’s.

Dr. Lombardo was the first cardiologist to practice in Southeast Texas and under his initiative and direction many new treatments and procedures were introduced.  He was the driving force behind bringing cardiac catheterization and eventually open-heart surgery to Southeast Texas.  He has a long list of “firsts” in Southeast Texas.  He opened the first coronary care unit (CCU) at St. Elizabeth Hospital, performed the first cardiac catheterization, implanted the first pacemaker, did the first angioplasty (balloon dilation of a heart artery), and one of his patients was the first to have coronary artery bypass surgery.  He was passionate about his work and learning. Many people attribute their careers to him, most notably his cousin, Carlogera Palermo’s sons – Giuseppe and Antonio, who are both physicians.

During the early years in Beaumont, he enjoyed an active social life with family and wonderful friends. In 1985, his wife, Jean, was stricken with cancer and passed away at the young age of 59.  Over the next 35+ years he split his time between Beaumont and Indian Wells, California; otherwise known as his home away from home where he honed his beloved game of golf and enjoyed an active social life. At The Vintage Club Tom was very loved by many and often thought of as The Vintage Club’s resident “physician” and a great comfort to many. He cherished this role until his death. One of his friends said, “there are very few people like Tom Lombardo, who touched many people of all walks of life, I will miss my dear friend.”

He had many affectionate nick names – the “Little General”, “Tidy Tommy” and “Tommy, the Stint” but his most endearing one – Poppy, a name given to him by his grandchildren. He enjoyed spending time with his children, as well as the many grandchildren he was blessed with. Always the gentleman, Tom was an outstanding host and chef and wore his Sicilian heritage like a badge of honor. He was an outstanding host and chef and was even found in the kitchen in his last few weeks of his life directing the preparation of meals with Sinatra playing in the background.

He was preceded in death by his parents, first grandson Samuel Thomas Fertitta and his wife of 37 years, Jean, and three brothers, Anthony Harry, Frank William and Dr. Carlos Roy.

He is survived by his sister, Anna Mae Fertitta and brother-in-law, R. T. Fertitta. His children and their families:  Karen and Kevin Henry, their children: Nicole Fertitta, Luke and Mary Fertitta, and their son Jude, (Tom Lombardo’s first and only great grandchild), Jonas and Caroline Fertitta and Marshall Henry.  His daughter Lauren Jean Lombardo; son Randy, his wife Sally and their five children: Noah, Nathaniel, Sam and his wife Amanda, Jesse, and Olivia along with his many nieces and nephews, all of whom he deeply loved.

The family wishes to thank the physicians who took care of him including but not limited to: Girish Kansara, MD, Dr. Courtney DiNardo, Dr. Christopher Logothetis, Dr. Scott McKenney, and Dr. John Henderson. The family would also like to thank Ms. Loretta Eaglin and care givers Erica, Alicia, and Zena.

In lieu of flowers, Tom and his family would appreciate any memorial gift to CHRISTUS Southeast Texas Foundation.

The family wishes to thank all for their friendship and support of Tom.