Vincent T. Cipolla, 91, professor, physician, retired Army colonel

Vincent T. Cipolla
Vincent T. Cipolla
Posted: June 04, 2014

Vincent T. Cipolla, 91, of Upper Darby Township, a professor, physician, and retired Army colonel, died Monday, May 26, at the Residence at Glen Riddle of complications from a fall.

Raised on Ritner Street in South Philadelphia, Dr. Cipolla went on to become a department chairman and professor of anatomy and neuroanatomy at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in the 1970s and 1980s.

He retired in 1988 after maintaining a private medical practice in Upper Darby for many years.

Dr. Cipolla earned his medical degree from the college in 1946. He had a long teaching career there, which brought him accolades. In 1975, he received the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching, and in 1986 and 1987 was named the college's Teacher of the Year.

His family came from Lanciano, in the Abruzzo region of Italy, but he was born after his parents, the late Dr. Thomas and Assunta Iannelli Cipolla, arrived here.

According to a family tribute, his life was shaped by the values of hard work and education instilled in him by his parents. He graduated from La Salle College High School and La Salle College.

Dr. Cipolla served as general surgeon and chief of surgical service of the 108th Combat Support Hospital, Philadelphia, from February 1980 to September 1986. He was honorably discharged with the rank of colonel. He was awarded the Army Commendation Medal.

He combined his love of medicine with his zest for motorsport racing. While he followed Formula 1 Racing in Europe, he served in the United States as a professional motorsport physician at Langhorne Speedway in the early Indy Car era of the 1950s.

"He was known to the drivers and fans as the 'Race Doctor,' " his family said in the tribute.

An accomplished musician, Dr. Cipolla played the piano, trombone, and French horn. He also loved European history and engaging in serious conversation.

Dr. Cipolla never married. He is survived by many cousins. Funeral services with military honors were Saturday.

Donations may be made to La Salle University, 1900 W. Olney Ave., Philadelphia, Pa. 19141, or St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Pl., Memphis, Tenn. 38105.


bcook@phillynews.com

610-313-8102

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