Kathleen Ann Caizzi M.D., 71, died Saturday, March 21. She was born in Bristol, R.I., to the late Frank and Margaret Caizzi.
She is survived by a brother, Frank Charles Caizzi; two nieces, Carolyn and Deborah Caizzi Messenger; a “niece”/godchild, Mary Wood; two grandnieces, Lucy Messenger and Willow Wood; three grandnephews, Alex and Michael Caizzi, and Harry Messenger; and her life partner of 54 years, John Pellegrini, M.D.
Dr. Caizzi grew up in Bristol R.I., where she was a member of the Mount Carmel Catholic Church. She received a B.S. at Northeastern University in Boston in 1970, and an M.D. from Tufts University School of Medicine in 1974.
She completed her postgraduate specialty training in internal medicine at Rhode Island Hospital/ Brown University, and fellowship training at Montifiore Hospital/NYC in Intensive Care Medicine.
Dr. Caizzi came to Kentucky in 1978, where after working briefly in Jenkins, she came to Whitesburg as the medical director of Mountain Comprehensive Health Care.
She joined Dr. Pellegrini in private practice in 1982, with a medical staff appointment at Whitesburg Appalachian Regional Hospital (WARH) for more than 40 years, serving as Chief of Medicine and Chief of Staff for nearly half of those years.
She served on Appalachian Regional Healthcare’s Board of Directors and was Credentialing Consultant to ARH CEOs for more than 20 years, resigning in 2019 because of failing health.
During the period 1983- 2009, Dr. Caizzi also treated patients in a clinic at Norton Community Hospital in Norton, Va., and she was a founding member and sponsor of Letcher County Cares, a not-for-profit company caring for victims of domestic violence.
She was one of six physicians who assisted WARH in building a medical office building at a time of financial stress for the ARH hospital group. She served on the Letcher County Board of Education for several years.
Dr. Caizzi treated thousands of patients in southeastern Kentucky and southwestern Virginia over her 40 years in this region with legendary skill and kindness. Her patients truly loved her.
She enjoyed traveling and visited every continent except Antarctica. She also liked gardening, swimming, cooking, and entertaining her friends. Her dinners were memorable with family, friends and medical pals.
Please send no gifts or flowers. If you wish to make a gift in her name, she favored St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., and the Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Bristol, R.I.