Mario Joseph Campagna
Mario Joseph Campagna, distinguished neurosurgeon, humanitarian, loving husband, father, and grandfather passed away after a long battle with congestive heart failure Wednesday, July 3, 2013 in Medford, Ore. He was born April 29, 1927 in Portland, Ore.
Mario grew up in Portland with his brother Sam and sister Josephine in a simple, hard-working Italian home of their immigrant parents Salvatore and Mary Campagna. He graduated from Washington High School in 1944, and joined the Navy near the end of WWII in 1945. Following the war, he attended the University of Portland as a premed student and graduated magna cum laude in 1949. In 1952, he graduated with a medical degree from the University of Oregon in Portland (today called OHSU). It was during his med student years in Portland that he met the love of his life, Edith Cutone, who preceded him in death February 11, 2013. Mario married Edith June 7, 1952 and spent the next 60 years following his medical path and raising their four children.
Mario practiced medicine and neurosurgery for over 40 years, starting with his internship in Philadelphia. He moved to Rochester, Minn. in 1953 where he completed a Fellowship in Neurological Surgery at the Mayo Clinic; obtained a Masters in Neurological Surgery from the University of Minnesota in 1957. Mario and Edie yearned to return to their home state of Oregon, so he, Edie and their first two children moved to Medford. Mario exhibited the vision and foresight of a truly remarkable leader in the health care community by selecting Medford because of its potential for becoming a regional medical center. Mario helped bring the first CT scanner to the state of Oregon, and initiated the use of microlaser and ultrasonic surgery. In 1972 Mario founded the Medford Neurological Clinic and selected exceptional neurologists and neurosurgeons as partners to join his practice. Throughout his career Mario held several leadership positions in the Rogue Valley's medical community. Upon reflection, his colleagues said working with Mario was like being on the same team with Babe Ruth.
Mario retired in 1991. While most seniors look forward to the relaxation and free time of retirement, Mario remained active in the medical community. In 1999, Mario received the A.S.V. Carpenter Distinguished Citizen Award for philanthropic leadership to the Rogue Valley Medical Center, to its Foundation and to other charitable health-related institutions in the Rogue Valley.
Mario and Edie were strong supporters of the many cultural, educational, and medical activities in the valley. Mario chaired the major gifts campaign for the Francis Cheney Family Place, and he devoted a great deal of volunteer time and treasure to Medford hospitals, the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) and other educational and medical institutions. Mario and Edie worked to establish the Think First Program, the Campagna Family Scholarship (part of the Oregon Community Foundation), and the Mario and Edith Campagna Chair for Pediatric Neurological Surgery at OHSU's Doernbecher Hospital.
The visual arts have benefited as well through Mario and Edie's involvement with Southern Oregon University, where they were the initial chairs for the campaign for the Center for the Visual Arts. The Rogue Valley Symphony, the Rogue Valley Opera, Britt Festivals, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival all benefited from their generosity.
Mario and Edie loved to travel. Their trips took them all over the world. Mario was proud of his Italian heritage and made many visits to Italy, but marveled at new destinations in every continent on the globe. Each trip was an adventure, and deepened their bond and love for each other.
Mario enjoyed spending special time with his family: golfing, waterskiing, fishing, traveling, attending concerts, playing games with his grandchildren, and most particularly sharing a hearty Italian meal. His favorite saying was This is the best ravioli I have ever had!
He will be missed by so many. Mario leaves behind his four children and spouses Paul (M.D.) and Denise Campagna, Marla Campagna, Robert and Kitty Campagna, and Patrick Campagna and Leily Esteghlalian; his six grandchildren Cecilia Campagna and her spouse Waylon Poland, Michelle Campagna, Stephanie Campagna, Carly Campagna, Maral Esteghlalian, and Emily Campagna.
A funeral Mass to celebrate Mario's life will be held Friday, July 12, 2013, at 11:00 a.m. at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 517 W. 10th Street, Medford. A reception will follow immediately thereafter, location to be announced. The interment will be at Perl Funeral Home, 2100 Siskiyou Blvd, Medford.
The family asks contributions may be made in Mario's memory to the American Heart Association. We will all be comforted and healed by the memories of his excellent life and the many blessings that ensued from his success, his generosity and his charitable heart. He was a wonderful man and an outstanding Oregonian!