In his 55 years of practicing medicine, Dr. Lewis R. Elias went from treating indigent coal miners in West Virginia to attending to the medical needs of President Richard Nixon and the affluent of South Florida. He gave each of his patients the same loving care, said his son, Jamie Elias, a partner in Trivest, a Coral Gables-based private equity firm.
The good doctor retired in 2008 and sold his practice but still found the time to see some of his longtime patients, said his daughter Tara Elias Schuchts, a realtor associate at Douglas Elliman in Miami Beach.
Retiring was a big milestone for Elias. On Saturday, he celebrated another milestone — his 90th birthday.
Born in Charleston, West Virginia, Elias graduated with honors from Princeton University and Columbia University’s medical school. He entered the U.S. Air Force as a captain during the Korean conflict and served two years as a flight surgeon.
Back home, Elias opened his private medical practice in a small town surrounded by coal mines. During the 1960s, he opened a clinic in Montgomery, West Virginia, where he treated local patients — many of them indigent and disabled miners. His practice included internal and general medicine, surgery and obstetrics. He practiced in Montgomery for 19 years before moving his family to the Bal Harbour’s residential area and opened an office in the old Harbour House, where he focused on internal medicine. Later, he joined the staffs of Miami Heart Institute, Mount Sinai and St. Francis hospitals.
In Miami Beach, Elias’ patients were more affluent. “But his care remained the same,” Jamie Elias said. “He was really a doctor from another era. He made house calls; you don’t see doctors who have that level of care today.”
“My dad is really an amazing person. He started treating the indigent coal miners in West Virginia, and you can just imagine the ailments they had. By the time the family moved to Miami Beach in 1973, Dad had one of the largest medical practices in the state of West Virginia.”
In his new home, Elias soon developed a reputation for high-quality medical care and a talent for quick, accurate and decisive diagnoses. Because of his reputation, Elias found himself treating patients who ranged from CEOs to nationally known politicians and television commentators, from entertainers to ambassadors and prime ministers.
The highlights of his medical career: treating Nixon and later receiving the prestigious Ellis Island National Medal of Honor in 1998 in New York. The honor was awarded him for his many years spent caring for the unemployed and indigent in West Virginia, and later treating so many nationally recognized figures in Florida.
In retirement, Elias stays busy. “He maintains a rigorous exercise schedule four or five days a week, and he just finished his first book, Common Sense in Medicine — Basic Guide to Health, which he wrote mainly for family and friends,” Jamie said.
Throughout his medical career, Elias has served in many areas outside medicine, including serving on the boards of Barry University and the publicly traded Pharmanet Development Group.
He has been married 53 years to Deanna Andeel, and they are also parents to prominent Miami Lakes attorney Lewis Robert “Robby” Elias III.
Dr. Elias is set to celebrate his birthday on Saturday, surrounded by family at a party in his honor.
Jamie wrote in a birthday letter to his dad: “From an early age, your children saw first-hand that there were no shortcuts in the paths to long-term, lasting success. We now realize that the early mornings, late evenings and weekend hospital rounds reflected both your love of the craft and selfless desire to provide for your family. Now your grandchildren have the opportunity to witness your trademark dedication and work ethnic in ‘retirement’ which has seen you tackle many projects including the completion of your first book ... needless to say, you have set a very high bar for all of us.”
Labor Day weekend with Tom Joyner
If you are still trying to think of something to do with the entire family this Labor Day holiday, how about a weekend at Disney World with Tom Joyner?
Joyner, the host of the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show, and Allstate Insurance Co. will celebrate “family fun and excitement” at the 2015 Allstate Tom Joyner Family Reunion during Labor Day weekend.
According to a news release, families from throughout the country are expected to join Joyner and his celebrity friends for a weekend filled with stellar concerts, interaction with celebrities and leaders; enlightening seminars, and endless activities for people of all ages. The free expo is open to the public. The event will be at the Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center in Orlando.
The program will feature a family fest with the cast of the TV show Black-ish, a Good Times reunion and a special appearance from the cast of Living Single.
The annual “family party with a purpose” was created in 2003 by Joyner. Since then, more than 14,000 guests have attended the event.
The concerts tickets can be purchased online at blackamericaweb.com/entertainment-2/.
Ticket prices: $49 each for Friday night’s show featuring the ’90s Experience with Teddy Riley, Dave Hollister, Wreckx-n-Effect, Kool9 Moe Dee and Big Bub; $49 for Saturday night’s Soulful Saturday with Frankie Beverly and Maze and Johnny Gill; and $29 for the Gospel Explosion featuring Yolanda Adams, Deitrick Haddon, Willie Moore Jr. and Kirk Franklin.
For more information about the 2015 Allstate Tom Joyner Family Reunion, visit BlackAmericaWeb.com.
New Neighbors Game Day
You are invited to the New Neighbors Club of South Dade’s annual Game Day on Sept. 9 at the Killian Palms Country Club, 9950 SW 104th St.
Socializing starts at 11 a.m., followed by the meeting and luncheon. The deadline for reservations is Thursday. You may make yours by calling 305-595-0213. The cost of the luncheon and program is $26.
Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Friends and Neighbors, c/o Neighbors, 2000 NW 150th Ave., Suite 1105, Pembroke Pines, FL 33028, fax it to 954-538-7018 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.