In Memoriam – Southern California Peruvian American Medical Society

In Memoriam


Peaceful Shores

I have lived in sight of the ocean

Where the water runs into land

I have walked on the beach in the morning

And left my tracks in the sand

But musical waves have been calling

And the ocean is so wide and vast

That I've struck for the silver horizon

And put out to sea at last

In Memory of Dr. Zubiate

My Dear Friends,

Thank you so much for being here. For those who I've not yet had the pleasure of meeting, I am Pablo's youngest son, Christopher.

On behalf of my mother, Mrs. Pablo Zubiate; his sons Pablo and Eduardo; his daughters Ada, Rosanna, and Susana; and their children, I want to express what we feel to those who mourn with us. We loved him as a husband and father and grandfather…and his loss is felt keenly today.

We gather in the House of God to celebrate Pablo’s life and give thanks. Our hearts are full of sadness, yet at the same time, of joyful hope and profound gratitude. These are the sentiments that inspire us.

It is impossible to speak of my father without speaking of his life's work. Many of you know him as a physician and a surgeon. He was a titan in the field of cardiac surgery. His brilliance, daring, tenacity, confidence in his own abilities, and trust in the amazing teams who worked with him saved thousands of lives.

Nothing gave him greater satisfaction than giving his patients more time with their loved ones, more time to enjoy the very gift of life itself. I remember eating out with my family when my dad was still working. A gentleman and his wife approached our table unexpectedly and tapped my dad on the shoulder. "Dr. Zubiate? You operated on me 15 years ago. You saved my life and I just wanted to thank you. Thank you for giving me the chance to grow old with my wife. Thank you for giving me the chance to watch our grandchildren grow up." And of course my dad remembered him. Stories like this happened on more than one occasion. And my dad always remembered. He remembered his patients here in the United States…and he made sure never to forget the poor and the sick and the underserved in his home country of Peru, always making time to return and care for them.

He was a man who was for others. He cared deeply about people and that's why he was everything that a doctor could and should be. Not just because of his technical excellence and pioneering work, but because of his heart.

From his parents, and from his brother, Mario, and sister, Feli, he received a heart that was meek and mild, humble and compassionate. He had the heart of a servant, a heart that grew in wisdom as it was molded by his life. It's no strange coincidence that a man with a golden heart made it his life's work to touch the hearts of others, both literally and figuratively. And he was able to change the world, one heart at a time—including my own.

Words cannot adequately express how a father contributes to the formation of his son's heart as he journeys from boy to man. He spoke to me many times of our infinitesimal smallness in this vast universe. “The world is so beautiful!” he exclaimed. “You should go everywhere. You should see everything.” And that’s how he lived. 

In his first years, still young and full of energy, he went to the very ends of the earth. He was captivated by the great civilizations and his soul was nourished by nature. He found himself contemplating the mysteries of life in the sacred spaces of Earth:  among the clouds in the Andes at Machu Picchu; gazing at the ancient pyramids in the desert of Egypt; on pilgrimage to the Holy Land; in the solitude of the Denali wilderness.

You could find him holding tightly to the fin of a giant manta ray as it towed him through the depths of the Pacific while SCUBA diving and you could find him hang gliding through the skies over Ventura County. You could find him climbing Mt. Whitney in the Sierra Nevada during the summer and snow skiing in the Rocky Mountains during the winter. 

And he ran…he always ran…whether just to clear his mind while going for a light run through the hills of La Canada, running marathons through the streets of downtown Los Angeles, or jogging on the beach just down the road from here and then jumping in the surf—which was one of his favorite things to do. He always has had a special affinity for the ocean.

In the midst of all of this, he always made time for those whom he loved, whether smiling and laughing as he ruined his good leather shoes one day many years ago playing soccer with his young son in the rain after a long day’s work, or gradually guiding his scared little boy farther and farther out in to the surf and reassuring him that there was nothing to be afraid of.

I can still hear that laugh today. And I can still feel his reassurance.

This is how he touched our hearts—my heart—by savoring life and inviting us along with him. And by giving of himself so readily and openly, with humility and quiet dignity. He made me want to be like him…and I try to learn from him, still.

We have been fortunate to have lived with him, and loved him—even if only for a time—as we shared this same short moment of life. 

My father has gone home now, guided by his faith and by the light of loved ones who have gone before him. At last he is with them once more, leaving those of us who grieve his passing with the memories he gave, the good he did, the hearts he touched, and a single, enduring image—the image of a man with a golden heart running on a warm beach; black and silver hair glinting in the sun; smiling broadly and laughing as he bounds over the sands, carrying on toward some new and wondrous place just beyond the horizon.

May God bless my father and all of us.


Dr. Pablo Zubiate

The medical community is heartbroken over the loss of our dear friend, who was one of the best Cardiovascular, Thoracic & Heart Surgeons, Dr. Pablo Zubiate. He was internationally well-known, including in the United States, Brasil, Argentina, his home country of Peru and throughout the world.

Dr. Zubiate was a brilliant and very skilled heart surgeon who worked alongside distinguished, internationally well-known heart surgeons, Dr..Zerbini of Brasil, Dr. Fabaloro of Argentina and Dr. Michael De Bakey of Texas. He also did considerable medical research in his earlier years and contributed his findings to various medical publications.

Despite being so influential in the medical community, Dr. Zubiate remained very humble. I’ve never heard him brag about his medical knowledge or surgical skills, but I’ve heard from others, that he was so skilled as a surgeon that whenever they had a challenging surgery, they would assign the case to Pablo.

Dr. Zubiate was not only a prominent surgeon, but also a wonderful humanitarian. When I was president of PAMS Southern California Chapter, I had the privilege and honor to present Dr.Pablo Zubiate with a well-deserved “Lifetime Achievement” award. For over 20 years, he has been a great contributor and member of PAMS with his ideas, donations and friendship.

Pablo, we are going to miss you very much, but our consolation is to know that you are in heaven. We will cherish our memories of your friendship. May you rest in peace.

Federico Alva, M.D.

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