Obituary for Mariano Buendia Tan MD
Mariano Buendia Tan was born in San Pablo City in the Philippines in 1930 to Domingo Eng Tan and Ngo Oe, both from Amoy China. Though his father was a merchant and a traveler, Mariano found his own calling in the practice of medicine. After earning his Doctor of Medicine (MD) from the University of Santo Tomas in 1958, he emigrated to the U.S. for graduate medical training. There he completed residencies at both the Grant Hospital of Chicago and the Cook County Hospital of Chicago, as well as a fellowship at the University of Illinois Research and Education Hospital. It was also in Chicago that he met his wife and true love, Bella in 1959. They married in 1961 and had their first child.
Soon after, the family emigrated to Winnipeg, Manitoba, where Dr. Tan would become Chief Resident of Pediatrics of the St. Boniface Hospital. They remained in Canada for the next sixteen years, having three more children as Dr. Tan built a private practice. In Winnipeg, Dr. Tan would also accept teaching positions at the Winnipeg Children’s Hospital, St. Boniface Hospital, and the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Manitoba, where he would serve as an assistant professor.
Life was good in Winnipeg, but the couple had long dreamed of returning to the states and in 1977, Dr. Tan was given an opportunity to serve as a medical officer in the United States Navy. Commander Mariano Tan, MD served as the Assistant Chief of Pediatrics at the Naval Regional Medical Center in Long Beach, CA, for eight years, frequently serving at the Naval Air Weapons Station at China Lake and the Naval Air Facility on Adak Island in Alaska. His years with the US Navy affected him deeply. From the time he served through the end of his life, Commander Tan could most often be found wearing a U.S. Navy logo on a tie clip, a windbreaker or especially on a ball cap.
After serving with distinction for eight years, Dr. Tan began the final phase of his career as a clinical pediatrician for Kaiser Permanente in Southern California. He was the first Physician in Charge when Kaiser opened its Cudahy Medical Office, a facility built to serve a working-class Latino Community in Southern California. For the next eleven years, Dr. Tan would continue to do what he loved: taking care of his beloved patients, the children. A stroke would force him to retire in 1996, but he left the clinic in good hands with two of his sons, Marvin and Michael, now pediatricians themselves, continuing to care of the children of the Cudahy community.
For the next twenty-one years, Dr. Tan would find a new role as a grandfather, enjoying alongside Bella, the growth of his six grandchildren into young adulthood. During this time, the couple travelled around the world, finding time to dance, make friends, and enjoy the life they’d made together. As his health declined, the good doctor would now let Bella and his family take care of him.