Over the past few weeks, Dr. Stanley Schiowitz's daughter has been contacted by dozens of people who said they felt like they had lost a father, too.
"I didn't realize how big of a reach he had," said Dr. Ellen Ellis, who took after her dad in becoming a doctor of osteopathy, a holistic branch of medicine.
Schiowitz, of Great Neck, was a national leader in the field, a founder of the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine in Old Westbury and co-author of a textbook that is a standard in the profession. He died of a heart attack June 27 at the age of 88.
Born in 1922 to Hungarian immigrants living in Brooklyn, Schiowitz was a doctor by the time he was 21, said Ellis, 56, of Manhattan. He had attended St. John's University and the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.
For more than 30 years, he had a large private practice in Brooklyn, where he did everything from delivering babies to removing appendixes to manipulating achy backs, Ellis said.
“He was truly a family physician,” she said. “He was able to take care of all your needs.” He had one innate skill Ellis said couldn’t be taught. “When he put his hand on you, you just knew you were going to be OK,” she said.
In 1977, he helped found New York Institute of Technology’s NYCOM, where he began a three-decade career in education. He taught, served as a dean and developed numerous programs at NYIT and NYCOM until retiring as NYCOM dean emeritus in 2002.
Under Schiowitz’s leadership, NYCOM grew from a fledgling college with an inaugural class of 36 to an institution with an enrollment of more than 1,100.
“He had an impact on the way students looked at practicing medicine,” NYCOM Dean Dr. Thomas Scandalis said. “And when you talk about the amount of growth we experienced under his leadership, it made a big impact on osteopathic medicine in the region.”
In NYCOM’s second year, Ellis enrolled to become a doctor of osteopathic medicine. Schiowitz's son, Joshua Schiowitz, 63, became a talent agent in Los Angeles, but recently moved back to Great Neck to be with his father.
Stanley Schiowitz had a gift for osteopathic manipulation, a hands-on system of evaluation and treatment that addresses the body's structure, and developed techniques that are widely used, Scandalis said. His textbook, “An Osteopathic Approach to Diagnosis and Treatment,” is used in medical schools around the country, he said.
“The students learned about him, his techniques and his love of teaching long after he retired,” Scandalis said. “They never lost touch with his guidance and his presence in the profession.”
After retiring, Schiowitz taught his techniques at seminars for faculty members around the country. In 2007, he received the American Academy of Osteopathy’s Distinguished Service Certificate, which Ellis described as the highest honor in the field.
One month before his death, he completed another book, a compilation of his osteopathic techniques, his daughter said.
He also is survived by his granddaughter, Justine Ellis, 22, of Manhattan. His wife, Lillian Schiowitz, died in 2004.
A memorial service was held in June at Riverside-Nassau North Chapel in Great Neck. Donations may be made to the Lillian Schiowitz Fund at Temple Israel, 108 Old Mill Rd., Great Neck, or to a preferred charity.