Medical 01

Ronald A. DeLellis MD

April 28, 1941 ~ February 10, 2024 (age 82) 82 Years Old

Obituary

Dr. Ronald A. DeLellis, Emeritus Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and beloved mentor to generations of medical students and residents, passed away on February 10, 2024 surrounded by his family and friends.

Born in 1941 in Providence, Rhode Island to Ida D’Amico and Vittorio DeLellis, he was raised in a close-knit Italian American family on Federal Hill. Dr. DeLellis attended Classical High School, where he met his future wife, Addolorata (Dolores) Teresa Capobianco. He received his undergraduate degree from Brown University, where he studied biology, and his medical degree from Tufts University School of Medicine.

Dr. DeLellis’ career spanned decades and ended where it began, in his beloved hometown of Providence. Following his early experiences as an intern and research fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital, he served as a resident in Pathology at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD. Returning to the Boston area, he worked in pathology for a short time at University Hospital, then joined the teaching staff at Tufts University School of Medicine, where he served in multiple leadership roles including Directorships of the Pathology Residency Program, Surgical Pathology, and Anatomic Pathology. Late in his career, he took the opportunity to serve as Vice Chair and Director of Anatomic Pathology at The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center and a Professor of Pathology at Cornell University Medical College, as he and Dolores fulfilled a longtime dream to live in Manhattan and enjoy the city’s vibrant arts community. After several years, they returned to Providence, where he served as Pathologist-in-Chief at Lifespan Academic Medical Center and Vice Chair of Pathology at Brown University.

Throughout his career, Ron, as he would introduce himself to everyone, distinguished himself in diagnostic pathology and tumor biology research. Dr. DeLellis gained recognition for his work in molecular pathology for tumor diagnosis and classification and his expertise in endocrine pathology. In endocrine pathology, he was mentored by Dr. Hubert Wolfe and readily did the same for countless mentees. He was an author and collaborator on numerous journal articles and book chapters. Dr. DeLellis also served in senior editorial roles for books and monographs, most notably the 2004 World Health Organization Classification of Endocrine Tumors.

In line with his work on the advancement of the mission of academic pathology, Dr. DeLellis was elected to pivotal leadership roles in various scientific organizations, including the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology, and was an important contributor and board member of the American Registry of Pathology. Moreover, he was a founding member of the Endocrine Pathology Society, which honored him with the society’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2021.

Dr. DeLellis exhibited a profound commitment to teaching, which was recognized and rewarded. His warm and engaging personality, patience, and friendly manner made him both an effective and beloved instructor. In this role, he planned coursework, lectured, and—perhaps most importantly—mentored residents, fellows, and faculty members. Highly valued for his insights and experience, he was regularly invited to speak at conferences and publish commentary. Until nearly the end of his life, he helped instruct residents and consulted on challenging endocrine cases. Dr. DeLellis is fondly remembered by former students and colleagues as an exceptional mentor and friend, whose kindness and wisdom helped establish enduring connections across the globe.

Ron’s relentless passion for learning, wide-ranging interests, and inquisitive nature established him as something of a Renaissance man. His scholarship and scientific curiosity were matched by his love of literature, art, history and, most of all, music—especially opera, which he first heard when it was played in his childhood home. He enthusiastically shared his interests with his family and friends, especially with his grandchildren, who were always learning from him. In recent years, he and Dolores participated in numerous online courses through the Lifelong Learning Collaborative, exploring their interests in subjects ranging from Central Asian history to animal senses. Dr. DeLellis and his wife were generous supporters of the arts and education, including the Rhode Island Philharmonic, where he served on the Board of Directors for many years; the Providence Athenaeum; the Providence Public Library; and Tufts University School of Medicine.

Throughout his life, Ron demonstrated a deep caring for the lives and well-being of the people around him. He especially loved being a grandfather, and his grandchildren treasured their time with him. Their favorite memories include learning to cook special family recipes, gardening with him in his beautiful yard, and exploring the world with him in different ways. He is remembered as a generous and thoughtful friend. With Dolores, Ron would warmly welcome family, friends, and colleagues to their home, especially international guests far from their families. For those lucky enough to know him, Dr. DeLellis could always be counted on in difficult times to provide everything from a sympathetic ear to some homemade chicken soup.

Ron DeLellis is survived by his devoted and loving wife of 58 years, Dolores, his children Renata DeLellis of Newton, Massachusetts and Marsian DeLellis of Los Angeles, California, his grandchildren Mia and Luca, his relatives, and many friends. 

 A celebration of life will be held on Saturday, March 9, 2024 at 10 am at Swan Point Cemetery in the Historic Chapel, 585 Blackstone Boulevard, Providence, RI. 02906. Donations in his memory may be made to the DeLellis Family Scholarship at Tufts University School of Medicine to support financial aid for medical students. Gifts can be made at: https://medicine.tufts.edu/giving, selecting “other” and typing in “DeLellis Family Scholarship” as the Designation. Checks should be made out to Trustees of Tufts College. Please make a note that your gift is for the DeLellis Family Scholarship and mail it to: Tufts University, PO Box 3306, Boston, MA O2241-3306.


Services

Celebration of Life
Saturday
March 9, 2024

10:00 AM
Swan Point Historic Chapel
585 Blackstone Blvd.
Providence, RI 02906

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