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Former Providence chief of staff dies

Darleene Barrientos

Longtime pediatrician Wendell Coffelt will be remembered at a public

memorial reception at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center for his

medical contributions and patriotic efforts. Coffelt, 92, died in his


sleep July 30.

Coffelt was a chief of staff at Providence, an advocate for the

center’s emergency center for infants and children and a World War II

medal recipient.


To his daughter Wendy, who is named after him, losing her father

also meant losing a friend.

“I just feel so sad about him when I think about him because I do

miss him,” she said. “We spent a lot of time together.”

Coffelt served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps as chief of medical

services of all U.S. forces in China, Burma and India during World

War II. While he was there, Coffelt was instrumental in controlling

epidemics throughout China with an immunization program. He received


the Chinese Grand Star of Honor for his service.

Coffelt, a longtime Glendale resident, was also presented with

several medals -- including the Bronze Star, the Asiatic- Pacific

Campaign Medal with one Bronze Star and the World War II Victory

Medal -- by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Glendale) during last year’s Veterans

Day celebration in Burbank.

After the war, Coffelt opened a pediatric practice in Burbank and

joined the staff at Providence St. Joseph in 1946. Coffelt


established programs like newborn genetic screening, a countywide

car-seat program called “First Ride-Safe Ride” and Pediatric After

Hours Care at the hospital.

Coffelt is survived by his wife, Dolores, and his five children,

Wendy, Phillip, Lisa, Brian and Christina, 14 grandchildren and one

great-grandchild. He was preceded in death by his daughter Kimberly,

who was the mother of four of Coffelt’s grandchildren.

Plans for the public memorial reception at Providence St. Joseph

are pending, and in lieu of flowers, the family has asked that

donations be made to Providence St. Joseph Medical Center’s Pediatric

After Hours Care, 501 S. Buena Vista St., Burbank, CA 91505.