The mourners at St. Viator Catholic Church last Friday easily numbered 400. They had come to pay their respects to Dr. Charles W. Ruggeroli, noted cardiologist and surgeon, and former commissioner and cardiologist for the Nevada Athletic Commission, who passed away June 24. He was 64.
It was an eclectic crowd. The good doctor had touched many lives during his 30 years of practice, including casino moguls, sports book operators, doctors, nurses, gamblers, boxers, and hundreds of former patients and their families.
His skill as a physician and his unwillingness to ever give up on a patient brought many back from the edge of the precipice. He gave added years of life to thousands, including my late husband, Chuck Di Rocco.
As the service progressed I drifted back over the years and thought of Chuck’s numerous office visits. They were all the same.
Charlie and Chuck spent almost all of their time discussing sports and betting. What hot game was being played that weekend? What was affecting the betting line? Where was the smart money being laid?
All the while Charlie would be testing pulses, checking breathing and making note of other vital signs without ever missing a beat of the conversation. Suddenly in mid-sentence he would hold up his index finger for silence, place the stethoscope on Chuck’s heart and listen intently for a moment. Then, as if someone had pushed a start button, Charlie would complete his sentence and carry on as though there had never been an interruption.
He made it seem so effortless. It was amazing to watch.
The skill and caring Charlie showed was a gift that came from his soul. It wasn’t something you learn in books. It was God given and he used it well.
Charlie, you will be sorely missed by family, friends and the thousands you touched with your healing hands.
God Bless you.
Dr. Ruggeroli is survived by his wife of 47 years, Barbara, four sons, Dr. Charles E. Ruggeroli (Heather), Dr. Edward Ruggeroli (Renee), Enrico Ruggeroli, and Nicholas Ruggeroli (Vickie); two daughters, Nicole Ruggeroli and Alicia Ruggeroli-Wilson (Victor); 13 grandchildren; one brother Harry (Cheryl) Ruggeroli and many cousins, nieces and nephews.