A Grateful Tribute to Longtime Surgery Administrator Eva Calderon

In a heartfelt message to faculty and staff of the DeWitt Daughtry Family Department of Surgery, Alan S. Livingstone, M.D., Chair of Surgery, Executive Dean for Clinical Affairs and Chief Executive of the UHealth Clinical Practice, paid tribute to Eva Calderon, senior department administrator, who lost her battle with cancer on September 4, and whose life will be honored at a memorial service on Friday, September 13. In the message, Livingstone wrote:

It is with a heavy heart that I share the news of the passing of Evangelina “Eva” Calderon. I am saddened to have to acknowledge the loss of a very special individual who I consider to have been integral to the building of our Department of Surgery. Over the last four decades, she helped transform it from a nascent department into what we can be proud of today.

Eva arrived from Cuba in the late sixties, circuitously through Mexico, and started her professional career at the University of Miami School of Medicine in 1970. With her demonstrated abilities, she ascended through a number of administrative positions until we were fortunate to recruit her to the Department of Surgery in 1982 as Director of Fiscal, Billing and Collections Affairs. Eva was a multi-talented individual, and with her broad background and tireless energy, rapidly transformed our business operations, setting a paradigm for success that others have attempted to emulate. Her insight was remarkable; her problem solving skills impressive; and her keen business acumen was truly unique. Humble as she was, her demonstrated expertise in multiple aspects of the University’s finances resulted in her being a sought after resource for other departments when they had issues that needed urgent resolution – and she always graciously assisted them. Her track record of accomplishments is inspiring, her integrity beyond reproach, and her team building skills exemplary. She earned the acclaim, loyalty, and admiration of her peers creating positive professional relationships throughout the University based on mutual trust and respect. We all came to rely on her wisdom, guidance, and intuition. She was truly an accomplished professional whose trademark was excellence in all she did, and she remained intimately involved with the Department and School until the last few weeks. It was inspiring to see how someone could go through all she has and still radiate wit, charm, and joviality.

She cared deeply for our Department and all its employees, and her legacy will live on in the individuals she trained and inspired. Every day was a fresh start for Eva, and even at the nadir of her battle against cancer, Eva’s main concern was the welfare of her family and co-workers. Her unmitigated enthusiasm for her team and the Department never waned, and our continued success will be a testament to her memory which I know would make her proud. The University recognized Eva’s extraordinary contributions by bestowing upon her the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012 – an award given to a select number of employees for selfless dedication and service to the University.

The University has lost a unique employee, the world has lost a great humanitarian, and the Department of Surgery has lost one of its closest friends and partners.

Eva is survived by her husband Rodrigo, her daughter Cristy, her son Julio, and loving grandchildren.

On a personal level, as a neophyte Chairman, I initially counted on her for business acumen and sage advice in difficult situations. This rapidly evolved as I got to know just how special a person she was, and with time, she became a trusted friend and beloved extension of my family. Eva touched so many of us, and my family joins in mourning her passing.

Farewell Eva – you have earned a long and peaceful rest. The world is a far better place for you having illuminated it. We will miss you terribly.

A memorial service and Holy Mass will be held for Eva at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church, 2987 West Flagler Street, Miami, 33135, beginning promptly at 7 p.m. on Friday, September 13. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the church.

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