Dr. Pablo E. Dibos, a retired Baltimore County physician who volunteered at a Baltimore health clinic serving immigrants for many years, died of complications of vascular dementia Dec. 19 at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson. He was 82.
Born in Lima, Peru, the former Hampton resident was the son of Luis Dibos Dammert, a businessman, and Carmen Perez Galarza. He was a 1954 graduate of Colegio Antonio Raimondi in Lima.
He moved to Berkeley, California, in 1955 to study at the University of California. He joined the Newman Club, where he met his future wife, Dr. Esther Edery. The couple then started the Latin American Student Union. A member of the university’s soccer team, Dr. Dibos lettered all four years and was named California All American in 1957 and 1958. He graduated in 1959 with a public health degree.
Dr. Dibos received his medical degree in 1964 from the National University of Mexico in Mexico City. He completed his internship at St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore and served as an internal medicine resident at St. Agnes and as a chief resident in internal medicine at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. He was a clinical and research fellow in nuclear medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital from 1969 to 1971.
In 1971, Dr. Dibos started the nuclear medicine department at Franklin Square Hospital, where he served as chief of nuclear medicine until 2001. He then took on the same role at Good Samaritan Hospital, where he also started the nuclear medicine department. He retired from Good Samaritan in 2008.
“Dr. Dibos will be remembered for his warm and engaging personality, his enthusiasm, his great sense of humor, his recognized expertise in internal medicine and nuclear medicine, his service-oriented skills, and his big smile,” said Dr. Gabriel Soudry, director of the section of nuclear medicine and PET-CT services at four Baltimore-area Medstar hospitals, Franklin Square Medical Center, Good Samaritan Hospital, Union Memorial Hospital and Harbor Hospital.
"He was often described by people who knew him, as ‘a true gentleman,' ” and many residents considered him a mentor, said Soudry, who began a residency at Franklin Square in 1990, when he first met Dr. Dibos.
During his three decades at Franklin Square, Dr. Dibos also was interim chief of medicine in 1980 for a year and president of the medical staff from 1992 to 1994.
“I never realized the impact my father had as a physician until I met one of his former patients in 2008,” said Paul H. Dibos, Dr. Dibos’ son and a Charles Village resident. “She said that my father saved her life by his diagnosis of a thyroid condition that she was suffering from, and her subsequent treatment was life-altering. My dad really took the time to listen to all of his patients and treated everyone with dignity.”
Dr. Dibos volunteered for years at the Esperanza Center’s health clinic in Baltimore’s Fells Point neighborhood, serving a growing immigrant community with no other access to health care. He and his wife were instrumental in starting the clinic and recruiting other volunteer physicians.
“He really developed the medical part of Esperanza,” said Dr. Clayton Moravec, a longtime friend and colleague and former chief of infectious diseases at Franklin Square. At Esperanza, “he was responsible for giving good medical care to hundreds of indigent Hispanics. ... He developed the program, got volunteers and gave fabulous care to people."
Dr. Moravec, who met Dr. Dibos in 1971 after each had completed Hopkins fellowships and joined Franklin Square, said he and Dr. Dibos and their wives played tennis, attended performances at Center Stage and dined at Tio Pepe’s from the restaurant’s earliest years.
“He was a consummate gentleman,” Dr. Moravec said. “He was a devoted family man and caring physician.”
Dr. Dibos and his wife received the Worth B. Daniels Award in 2010 for providing health care services to the Esperanza Center, formerly known as the Hispanic Apostolate. In 2013, the Baltimore County Medical Association gave the couple the Thomas E. Hobbins Distinguished Service Award for their service to the disadvantaged in Baltimore.
Dr. Dibos spent the last years of his life living with his daughter, Lydia M. Dibos, and her family in Baltimore.
“My family and I were so blessed that my Dad lived with us," Lydia Dibos said. “We will always have many memories of that time together.”
She recalled her father as a generous person who made charitable gifts to Baltimore schools that offer Jesuit education for low-income city students, including Loyola Early Learning Center, a preschool, and Cristo Rey Jesuit High School. Dr. Dibos was on the steering committee for the college preparatory high school, which opened in 2007.
“He was intensely interested in the fact that the school was going to be reaching out to low-income boys and girls to get a quality Jesuit education,” said the Rev. Bill Watters, president of Loyola Early Learning, who also started Cristo Rey. “As a doctor, he saw that particularly Hispanic children needed that kind of quality education they were not being provided.
“He was always a man of great concern for the disadvantaged, the underserved,” Father Watters said. “He was really a man for others, particularly those who are disadvantaged and did not have opportunities, whether medical or in education. He wanted to make a difference, and he did do that.”
He also supported an education project in Guatemala through Catholic Relief Services.
“He supported the education of hundreds of rural Guatemalan children,” Lydia Dibos said. “Giving back to the community, especially to the Hispanic community, was an important part of his life."
Dr. Dibos was an accomplished club tennis player at the Valley Country Club in Riderwood, and later at Towson Golf and Country Club in Phoenix. He and his wife were regular patrons of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Morris A. Mechanic Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage and Everyman Theatre.
He was an active member of both the Maryland and Mideastern chapters of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and served as president of each chapter for several years in the mid-1970s and the early 1980s. He was particularly proud of his work as a co-author on several publications in the 1970s with Dr. Henry N. Wagner Jr., an international authority on nuclear medicine, including in 1978 the “Atlas of Nuclear Medicine: Bone.”
He and his wife enjoyed traveling the world and visited countries in Europe and Latin America as well as Russia, China, India, Egypt, Turkey and Jordan.
A memorial Mass will be offered at 11 a.m. Jan. 17 at St. Ignatius Catholic Church, 740 N. Calvert St. in Baltimore.
In addition to his son and daughter, survivors include another son, Dr. Luis A. Dibos, and his wife, Amy T. Dibos of Towson; son-in-law John B. Evermann of Baltimore; a brother, Jose C. Dibos, and a sister, Carmen Castillo Dibos, both of Lima; and five grandchildren.