March 06, 2012

Nancy Solomon

Manuel R. Comas, M.D., 1935-2012

Former Medical School Associate Dean of Admissions Passes Away

ST. LOUIS - Manuel R. Comas, M.D., an obstetrician/gynecologist and medical school administrator from 1975 to 1998, died March 2 in Ocala, Fla. He was 76.

Manuel Comas, M.D.

Dr. Comas was key member of the School of Medicine's administrative team, serving as associate dean for admissions and students from 1980 to 1998. He held previous administrative positions at the medical school: associate and assistant dean for students and post-graduate trainees and financial officer for student loans and scholarships.

William Mootz, M.D., assistant dean for curriculum and professor of internal medicine, said Dr. Comas was warm and positive, helping medical students with any of their struggles - from finding a residency, which determines a physician's area of specialization, to dealing with a difficult family problem.

"He was a great student advocate, always working to help students succeed in their careers," Mootz said. "With his good and upbeat disposition, he enjoyed his work and that rubbed off on everyone else."

Dr. Comas went out of his way to assist students who were not accepted to SLU's medical school in strengthening their applications so they might get into medical school in the future, Mootz said.

In addition, Dr. Comas taught elective Spanish language courses to medical school students, helping them to improve their communications skills. He also was one of the principal architects of SLU Medical Scholars Program, a highly selective program that places incoming freshmen who know they want to become doctors on an early-admissions track for SLU School of Medicine.

Dr. Comas joined Saint Louis University as an instructor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology in 1966 and retired as professor emeritus of obstetrics and gynecology in 1998. During part of that time, he supervised the department's clerkship program, working with medical school students as they completed their women's health rotation.

Robert Blaskiewicz, M.D., professor of obstetrics and gynecology and the current co-director of the clerkship program, described Dr. Comas as a role model who motivated him to become an obstetrician.

"He was an individual you would never forget. He'd fill the room with his presence and was a joy to be around," Blaskiewicz said. "He always had a positive attitude and inspired students to pursue obstetrics and gynecology by showing the bright side of our specialty - the sheer pleasure of delivering a baby. He was a wonderful, warm human being."

Blaskiewicz said Dr. Comas was protective of his students and always had their best interests at heart.
"People looked up to him," Blaskiewicz said. "He could do high-end research, teach and take care of patients - all within the course of a 24 hour day."

Dr. Comas received his bachelor's degree in zoology from Yale University and his medical degree from the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine. He did his internship and residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Miami and Jackson Memorial Hospital in Florida.

Dr. Comas was a captain and general medical office at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, and was awarded the Army Commendation Medal upon his discharge. For many years he served as treasurer of Missouri Doctors for Life.

Survivors include his wife, Marie Campbell Comas; three sons, Manuel, Gerry and Jim; sister, Marina; six grandchildren and one great granddaughter.

A memorial service for Dr. Comas will be held at 11 a.m., Friday, March 9 at Seven Rivers Presbyterian Church, 4221 W. Gulf to Lake Highway, in Lecanto, Fla. Interment with military honors will be at Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, Fla. at 11 a.m. on Thursday, March 8, with the procession meeting at Heinz Funeral Home & Cremation in Inverness, Fla. at 10 a.m.

Memorials may be given to Hospice of Marion County or to Seven Rivers Christian School, Lecanto, Fla.

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