It was a medical mystery that Luigi A. Principato quickly solved.
"There was an old Italian lady in South Camden who was having serious stomach aches for quite some time," Dr. Principato's son, Louis, said.
"Dad determined that as she was making her homemade Italian sausages, she would taste the raw pork."
She did that, Louis Principato said, "to make sure there were the proper spices in the blend" before she surrendered her work to the oven.
Did the diagnosis stop the tasting?
"She lived to make sausage," he said, "for another day."
On Tuesday, Dec. 6, Dr. Principato, 96, formerly of Haddonfield, an internal medicine physician at Cooper University Hospital in Camden and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Center City, died in the assisted living facility at Waterman Village Retirement Community in Mount Dora, Fla., to which he moved full-time in 2012.
Edward F. Borden Jr., a Cherry Hill lawyer who was Camden County prosecutor from 1990 to 1995, recalled his family friend as "one of the most genuine and loving people I've ever known."
"A fantastic physician. His patients just loved him."
Their families were close enough, Borden said, that his mother, Louise, was maid of honor at the 1952 marriage of Dr. Principato and his wife, Teresa.
Born in the Calabria region of southern Italy, Dr. Principato and his mother, Guiseppina, brother Eugene, and sister Rosetta left Italy in 1930, the year he turned 10, to join his father, Dr. Roberto Principato, in Camden.
Roberto Principato had come to the United States after serving in the Italian army in the First World War and being a German prisoner of war for a time.
"It took him seven years to be recertified" as an internist, his son said, including work at Harvard University, before opening a Camden office in the late 1920s.
His son graduated from the Hun School in Princeton and earned a bachelor's and a medical degree at Georgetown University.
During World War II, he was a shipboard physician.
In the late 1940s, he became a physician at Cooper and, in the 1950s, at Jefferson.
He opened offices for his private practice in Camden in the early 1950s and in Cherry Hill in the late 1960s, his son said.
The American College of Physicians awarded him two fellowships, one for diabetes study and one for heart disease study.
Dr. Principato was "thorough, thoughtful, respected," his son said.
He sold his practice when he turned 65 and continued in the practice with his former partners until he was 70.
He was a member of the Tavistock Country Club in the early 1960s.
Besides his son, Dr. Principato is survived by sons Robert, John, and Paul; daughter Julia; a sister; a brother; and 10 grandchildren. His wife died at age 86 in 2013.
A visitation was set from 10 to 11 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 22, at Christ the King Church, 200 Windsor Ave., Haddonfield, before an 11 a.m. Funeral Mass there, with interment in Calvary Cemetery, Cherry Hill.
Condolences may be offered to the family at hinski-tomlinsonfuneralhome.com.