Dominic F. Comperatore, 68, of Cherry Hill, former chief of gastroenterology at Virtua Health, who mentored many young physicians, died of pancreatic cancer on Tuesday, Dec. 21, at his home.
After completing his gastroenterology fellowship in 1974 at the Graduate Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Comperatore started a private practice in Voorhees.
After 12 years of solo practice, he brought on another gastroenterologist, Jay Malamut, to work with him. In 1995, Dr. Comperatore and Malamut merged with two other groups of gastroenterologists to form Allied Gastrointestinal Associates in Voorhees. The group started with seven physicians and has grown to nine. Dr. Comperatore mentored many of those who worked with him, his family said.
Though not an artist, Dr. Comperatore was known by many of his patients as the doctor who drew on bedsheets.
When explaining an ailment or a procedure, Dr. Comperatore would draw a diagram on the patient's bedsheet instead of on paper. He thought that way, the patients would not lose the drawing and could easily show relatives, his family said.
If another doctor or nurse came in to check on the patient, "the patient would say, 'I already have a stomach doctor: the one who draws on beds,' " his son David said.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, Dr. Comperatore graduated from St. Joseph's Preparatory School in 1960. He continued his education at St. Joseph's College, graduating in 1964, and went straight to Jefferson Medical College, where he graduated in 1968.
In 1966, he married Kathryn Muller, whom he had met a few years earlier in the cafeteria of Albert Einstein Medical Center.
After medical school, Dr. Comperatore interned at West Jersey Hospital in Camden and completed his residency in internal medicine at Pennsylvania Hospital.
From 1970 to 1972, he served as medical officer, with the rank of lieutenant commander, at the U.S. Naval Home in Philadelphia.
He completed his gastroenterology fellowship in 1974 and opened his practice. He was on the staff of West Jersey Hospital, now part of Virtua Health.
Dr. Comperatore retired in 2003.
Beyond medicine, Dr. Comperatore was a man of hidden talents, including woodworking and handy work around the house, his family said. Once, when the family's car had broken down in a snowstorm during a trip to Vermont, Dr. Comperatore fashioned a repair from some dental floss.
He had mastered the making of limoncello, an Italian liqueur, and would have "taste-offs" with relatives, said his son Dominic Jr. Dr. Comperatore had even persuaded a small grower of ponderosa lemons in Florida to save him a bush each year.
In addition to his wife and two sons, Dr. Comperatore is survived by daughter Kathryn; mother, Angelina; a granddaughter; a brother; and a sister.
Visitation will be from 10 to 10:45 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 28, at Holy Eucharist Roman Catholic Church, 344 Kresson Rd., Cherry Hill. A Funeral Mass will follow at 11 at the church. Interment will be private.