Ciao y’all: Remembering Dr. Philip Todaro

Published 6:11 pm Tuesday, October 3, 2023

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Bainbridge lost one of the community’s pillars last Thursday with the passing of Dr. Philip Todaro. Originally born on the Italian island of Sicily in 1939, Dr. Todaro immigrated to the United States in 1959, furthering his education by earning his master’s degree from Wayne State University and his doctorate from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Dr. Todaro would marry his wife, Lynda Wight, in 1965, and would move to Bainbridge in 1973. He would practice as an OBGYN as well as a family physician during his 46-year career in Bainbridge, before retiring in 2019.

Dr. Todaro touched the lives of many and the community during his career, and continued to be involved in the community even after retirement. Both he and Lynda were instrumental in the creation of the Firehouse Art Gallery, and continued supporting the Arts Council for years. Firehouse Executive Director Jessica Polsky spoke fondly of Dr. Todarro, recalling how he always seemed to be making jokes. “We are just so saddened that he won’t be around telling jokes,” she said. “He was incredibly important to us even being in Bainbridge.”

While he ran his own practice, Dr. Todaro worked closely with Memorial Hospital and Manor, and continued to support the hospital with generous donations even after retiring. Georgia Jones, Memorial’s Health Information Management Director, recalled how he would always leave with a “Ciao Americanos”, a farewell not too different from his more well-known, “Ciao y’all!”

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Dr. Todaro was a wonderful physician and community member,” Memorial Revenue Integrity Manager Sonya Williamson said, recounting his care for her parents. “Not only did he save my mom’s life by finding a skin melanoma and referring her to have it removed before it could move to other areas of her body, but he was very compassionate with my dad as he came to the end of his life as a result of lung cancer. Dr. Todaro accepted him into our hospital from Shands at a moment’s notice where he cared for him in his last days.  I will always be grateful for his loving, caring and compassionate concern for my family as well as others.”

Hospital Authority Chairwoman, City Councilwoman and SWGA Oil President Glennie Bench spoke of how close friends her own parents were with Todaro, saying that he had “a zest for life, energy, and a worldliness that Bainbridge didn’t have,” and that he was “part of what made Bainbridge such a special place.”

The family will receive friends from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM on Thursday, October 5. The graveside funeral service is scheduled for 11:00 AM on Friday.