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posted: 5/16/2013 5:32 PM

Suburban doctor remembered as caring leader, excellent surgeon

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  • Dr. Peter Pleotis

    Dr. Peter Pleotis
    Submitted photo

By Eileen O. Daday
Daily Herald correspondent

A portrait of Dr. Peter Pleotis still hangs in the doctors' lounge at Northwest Community Hospital, some 14 years after he retired.

The former obstetrician and gynecologist, who practiced 37 years at the Arlington Heights hospital and led the staff as president, board director, and chairman of his department, left a standard that his colleagues still measure themselves against.

Dr. Pleotis, of Inverness, died Monday from complications of Parkinson's disease. He was 82.

"He was a wonderful doctor and an excellent surgeon," said Dr. Lorraine Novas, who worked alongside Pleotis for 20 years in the Gynecological and Obstetrics Associates practice that Pleotis helped start. "He was very caring, kind and personable and because of that, he had a lot of very devoted patients."

Pleotis joined Northwest Community's medical staff in 1962, after earning his medical degree from the University of Illinois and serving six years as a medical officer with the Navy, where he completed his residency and rose to the rank of lieutenant.

When he arrived in Arlington Heights, he joined an obstetrics department that was bursting at the seams, with an occupancy rate of 99.5 percent, making it the busiest in the Chicago metropolitan area at the time.

Over the next nearly four decades, Dr. Pleotis himself would deliver nearly 10,000 babies, according to his family and colleagues.

"Peter was one of the early, legacy ob-gyns in the Northwest suburbs," said Bruce Crowther, former CEO and president of Northwest Community. "He set a high mark for quality. He was a gentleman and loved by all who knew him."

Pleotis also served as a clinical faculty member at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine for many years, where he taught residents and medical students who regularly rotated through Northwest Community.

"Our classmates referred to my father as 'the Prince' because he was never too busy to include students, and cared about providing them with a meaningful learning experience," said his daughter, Dr. Lydia Pleotis Howell, professor and chair of pathology and laboratory medicine at University of California-Davis School of Medicine. "He was an excellent role model."

Besides his daughter, Pleotis is survived by his devoted wife of 57 years, Ann; and daughters Elaine Alden (Joseph), and Andrea Pabich (Randal); as well as seven grandchildren.

Visitation will take place from 4 to 9 p.m. Friday at Smith-Corcoran Funeral Home, 185 E. Northwest Highway, Palatine. A funeral service takes place at 10 a.m. at St. Nectarios Greek Orthodox Church, 133 S. Roselle Road, Palatine.

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