Peter Vincent Palena, Sr, MD, 82, passed away Wednesday, April 22, 2020. Peter (alias Chief) was born April 15, 1938 to Vincent and Susan (Panichi) Palena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was a graduate of the 204th class of Central High School in 1955. He graduated from LaSalle University in 1959, and went on to earn his medical degree from Jefferson Medical College in 1963, all in Philadelphia, PA. In 1962 he married his high school sweetheart, Rosemary (Catroppa), and they had four children. He then interned at Jefferson Medical College from 1963-1964.
Peter served in the Navy, aboard the USS Pocono, where he received several commendations. Upon returning from military service, he completed an ophthalmology residency at Jefferson Medical College Hospital and a retinal fellowship at Wills Eye Institute, in Philadelphia, PA. Dr. Palena moved his family to Wallingford PA to start a private practice in Media, PA at the Media Clinic in 1971. In 1981, with the closing of the Media Clinic, he helped establish Jaeger-Palena Eye Associates at Riddle Memorial Hospital, which later became Riddle Eye Associates, where he retired in 2017 at 79 years old.
During his tenure at Riddle, Peter became the Chief of Ophthalmology in 1984, and later established the Riddle Eye Center. Peter also performed the retinal work at Kremer Eye Centers, taught ophthalmology residents at Jefferson Medical College, and was an early implementer of computerizing medical offices.
Although Dr. Palena had a busy and successful medical career, his priority was his family. With four children and 8 grandchildren there were always activities to attend. Peter loved playing tennis, golf, and bridge, was a Little League coach and a regular fan at all the sporting events, plays, dance recitals and other activities. Peter was an avid Philadelphia sports fan, and was happy to see the Philadelphia Eagles win a Super Bowl. The Ocean City, NJ, home was his “happy place”.
Peter leaves behind his beloved wife of 57 years, Rosemary, his brother Dominic Palena, his sister Janis Palena Cummiskey, his brother-in-law Frank Catroppa (Linda), four children, eight grandchildren, two step grandchildren, four step great grandchildren, many nieces, nephews, cousins, and many other close friends and relatives. He is survived by his children, Peter Jr. (Barbara), Susan Godwin (Glenn), David, and Scott (Karen), and his grandchildren are Peter III, Kathryn Diener (Brendan), Kevin, Eric, Rosemary, Shane, Alexis Godwin, and Liam.
The family is requesting donations to Main Line Health, Riddle Healthcare Foundation in memory of Peter at Riddle HealthCare Foundation, 1068 West Baltimore Pike, Media, PA 19063or https://www.mainlinehealth.org/ways-to-give/riddle-healthcare-foundation/make-a-gift-online.
A memorial service will follow at a later date.