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Dr. Orlando Sison, M.D., a pioneer in the medical field and a beloved community leader, passed away on Thursday, November 23, 2023, after having attended the community Thanksgiving Mass at St. Hugo of the Hills Catholic Church, where he collapsed as he was getting ready to visit with friends for Thanksgiving Dinner.
Dr. Sison was born on October 2, 1931 to Joaquin Rico and Villaflor Soliven, the oldest of 6 children in Umiingan / Balungao, Pangasinan, Philippines. He studied at the University of Santo Tomas, School of Medicine and graduated M.D. in 1955, after which he left for the United States in New Jersey on as exchange visitor’s visa. He sent his siblings to school, including 2 other brothers who went to medical school.
After 2 years, he had to exit to Canada and re-applied again for the United States on an immigrant visa. He had post graduate training in Anesthesiology in Montreal, Canada. Then he met and married Fortunata Luzarraga (NeNe) and, just to show how flamboyant he was, their wedding reception was held at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, which was unheard of at the time! He was preceded in death by his wife, Nene, and brothers, Joaquin Jr., Abelardo, and Amante.
Doctor Sison had a successful career as an anesthesiologist, serving as an attending physician at the Detroit Medical Center. He was known for his leadership in various Filipino medical associations and community councils, including the Philippine Medical Association of Michigan, the Filipino American Community Council (FILAMCCO), and the Filipino American Community Council of Michigan (PACCM). He was also President of the UST Medical Alumni Association in Michigan, President of the UST Medical Alumni Association in America Foundation, and a board member of the UST Medical Alumni Association in America. He was also very active in the Michigan State Medical Society, where he represented foreign medical graduates, in particular, graduates from the Philippines, for equal treatment compared to medical graduates in the United States.
Beyond his professional career, Doctor Sison was a philanthropist and a beloved figure in the Filipino American community. He was lovingly known as “Manong Orly” and was regarded as a mentor and godfather to many. His generosity and knowledge continue to benefit both the local Detroit community and the Philippines.
Even after his recent retirement, Doctor Sison remained active in community service, continuing to share his expertise and knowledge through his involvement in various organizations. Doctor Orlando Sison is survived by his daughter, Stella, brothers, Jose (Teresita) and Rene (Fely), and many cousins, nieces, and nephews. His legacy lives on in the countless lives he has touched throughout his lifetime. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him.
Visitation Tuesday, November 28, from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. and Wednesday, November 29, from 2:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at Wysocki & Wilk Funeral Home, 29440 Ryan Road, Warren, Michigan. A Flower Service at 6:00 p.m. and a Vigil Service at 7:00 p.m. will take place Wednesday evening at the funeral home. Instate Thursday, November 30, from 9:30 a.m. until the 10:00 a.m. Funeral Mass at St. Hugo of the Hills Chapel, 2215 Opdyke Road, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Interment will follow the Mass at White Chapel Memorial Park Cemetery in Troy, Michigan.
Donations may be made to PACCM, 17356 Northland Park Ct., Southfield, MI 48075.
Please share a memory, thought, or prayer with the family here on Orlando's Tribute Wall.