Doctor who helped start Capitol Hill community clinic remembered

The community around Capitol Hill’s Country Doctor Clinic is mourning the death of one of the group’s founding physicians.

Dr. John “Jack” Ciliberti died last week when the small airplane he was piloting crashed near Fall City. Ciliberti was 70.

Linda McVeigh, executive director of Country Doctor Community Health Centers, tells CHS that Ciliberti was an integral person in getting the nonprofit off the ground in the ’70s.

“Jack was one of the very dedicated physicians involved in Country Doctor’s formative years,” she tells us. “He was committed to making quality — emphasis on quality — health care accessible to all.”

Ciliberti was the retired medical director of Overlake Medical Center’s emergency department.

The Seattle Times has more on his life and his early days working with Country Doctor:

In the 1970s, he was one of the first volunteer doctors at Country Doctor Clinic, an early community clinic. “He was colorful, a joy to be around, and just one hell of a good guy — and also really well known as a very high-quality doc,” said Tom Byers, who was the clinic’s program coordinator in the 1970s.

In 1974, Dr. Ciliberti met his wife-to-be, a nurse, during an emergency “code” at the former U.S. Public Health Service Hospital. The setting wasn’t very romantic, said Molly Ciliberti, but the two hit it off and married in 1982.

Dr. Ciliberti, an early environmentalist, was a political liberal “and proud of it,” his wife said. “He truly believed all people were equal and he lived that as a humble human being. … He was the physician that you hoped you would have.”

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