A Life-Saving Renaissance Man

Doctor Michael Marrone said he became a trauma surgeon in part due to the influence of his godfather, who was a doctor, and the frequency of trauma injuries he was surrounded by growing up in the Bronx.

“You have to show that confidence you have in your ability,” said Marrone referring to his experience in trauma surgery.

When Marrone wasn’t saving lives, he painted, refinished furniture, fished, fenced, skied, and traveled.

He was also a resident at The Chelsea at Greenburgh, a leading Assisted Living and Memory Care community in Westchester County.

He passed away on November 12th, 2021. He was 87.

But the impact he left is undeniable.

An Italian Education

Marrone graduated high school in the Bronx a year early and graduated college a year early.

He majored in Chemistry at New York University. He was only 20 years old and because of his age, he was prohibited from starting his doctorate in the United States.

“They said you can’t go to Med School – you’re too damn young,” he said.

Dr. Michael Marrone spent two years in the Army earning the title of Captain. / Chelsea Senior Living

Instead, he went to the University of Bologna in Italy to study medicine.

“I always wanted to go to Italy,” he said. “This is a good thing. I’m going to apply to an Italian school. This way I’m there and I can travel.”

He met his wife there and married “just a couple days” after graduation.

He returned to New York with her and did his residency at Misericordia Hospital Medical Center, renamed the Wakefield Division of Montefiore. He spent five years as an intern and then was drafted into the Army during the Vietnam War.

The Army and a Return to Italy

He spent six weeks at Fort Sam Houston for training. He was part of the medical core and his original assignment was supposed to be in Germany.

But he made friends with one of the Sergeants who gave him a tip.

“He says you must be fluent in Italian. Why don’t you get that added to your profile?”

Dr. Marrone met his wife while going to school in Italy. / Chelsea Senior Living

Marrone took a language test, passed, and had the skill added to his profile. The colonel called Marrone into his office.

“He said you’ve been transferred to Verona, Italy. He says in case you want to protest…”

Marrone’s eye pop out of his head at this point while telling the story.

“I said, geez, don’t even touch the damn thing. What are you crazy?” Marrone recalls in excitement.

He was in Italy for another two years and was awarded the title of captain.

A Rewarding and Tragic Job

“The hard part was not the surgery,” he said. “The surgery was a piece of cake.”

He said the hardest part was not being able to save someone’s life and the conversation with their family that followed.

“You never get over that,” he said. “I get emotional now talking about it.”

Dr. Marrone was a trauma surgeon in the Bronx. “I was intrigued by the challenge.” / Chelsea Senior Living

He said the challenge is what intrigued him about becoming a trauma surgeon.

“In trauma you never know what’s coming in the door and when you open them up you never know what you’re going to find.”

He said he typically worked late and early in the morning. But when he had time off, he made the most of it.

A Dream Fulfilled

Marrone had been fascinated with airplanes for as long as he can remember. He built model airplanes from the time he was a kid up until “just a few years ago.”

His uncle repaired C-54s and would take him to LaGuardia Airport where Marrone was able to help taxi the planes.

“Sitting in the copilot seat of a C-54, I just fell in love with it,” he said.

It was his dream to fly and not long after he became a trauma surgeon, he bought a plane of his own.

Dr. Marrone passed away on November 12, 2021 but his legacy lives on. / Chelsea Senior Living

He became a licensed pilot and would take weekend trips whenever possible. He would leave his office at night, fly to Vermont with his wife, family or friends to go skiing and fly back in time to start the work week.

He also turned it into a business to airlift those with medical emergencies. This was before major airlines such as Delta started doing the same.

While flying was one passion, he had many others. During his spare time, he would paint or refinish furniture. He was an avid fisherman. But, perhaps, more importantly is the mark he made for his kids and grandkids.

Both of his sons are also doctors and took a different path into dentistry.

Marrone’s granddaughter is a pediatric surgeon.

“She was inspired by the things I told her,” he said. “And she’s very good at it.”

Perhaps she was influenced by someone who was also very good at saving lives.


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