Dr. David Annunziato of Amityville, a pediatrician associated with Nassau University Medical Center and other Long Island hospitals for close to 60 years, died last Tuesday after a long illness. He was 90.
"He was a fixture in the department of pediatrics for more than a half-century and was viewed as a consummate pediatrician, a doctor's doctor," said Dr. Steven Walerstein, medical director at NUMC, who said he first met Annunziato in 1999. "He was a founding pediatrician on Long Island, and the number of lives he touched was innumerable."
Born in Staten Island and a graduate of Wagner College there, Annunziato got his medical degree in 1946 from the Long Island College of Medicine in Brooklyn, now SUNY Downstate College of Medicine.
In 1952, he entered private practice in Massapequa Park and soon joined the staff of Meadowbrook Hospital in East Meadow -- now Nassau University Medical Center -- where he supervised the polio division during that disease's epidemic.
In 1956, Annunziato was appointed director of pediatrics at Brunswick Hospital in Amityville. Three years later, he became the first chairman of pediatrics at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip, where he established a pediatric residency program, the first in Suffolk County.
He continued to work at Meadowbrook -- which by then had become Nassau County Medical Center -- and in 1973, he became director of pediatric ambulatory services there. Later he became associate chairman and served as acting chairman of the department several times.
His good friend and colleague, Dr. Stephen Katz, associate chairman of NUMC's department of pediatrics, estimated that over the decades Annunziato helped train 400 pediatric residents. Although he retired in 2002, he remained active as director of pediatric education at NUMC and organized a continuing medical education series named after him.
Annunziato was also involved in local, regional and national pediatric societies. In 1974 he became chairman of the New York chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics and served as member of the national board of directors from 1987 to 1993. In 1993, he was invited to the White House to help draft a national children's health plan for then-President Bill Clinton.
Survivors include his wife of 64 years, Ruth; his son, Philip of Bradenton, Fla.; his daughter, Diane Annunziato of Boxford, Mass.; and a granddaughter.
Visitation is Wednesday from 2 to 4:30 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at Powell Funeral Home in Amityville. A funeral is to be held Thursday at 10 a.m. at St. David's Lutheran Church in Massapequa Park. Burial is to follow in Pinelawn Memorial Park.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the American Academy of Pediatrics Historical Archives Advisory Committee, St. David's Lutheran Church Fund or to a charity that helps alleviate hunger.