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Respected Los Alamitos Children's Doctor Dies

Dr. Joel Widelitz, 66, who has treated countless local children since relocating his practice to Los Alamitos in 1997, died this week from a complication of surgery.

A respected Los Alamitos children's doctor passed away Wednesday.

66-year-old Dr. Joel Widelitz, one of the cofounders of Kaplan & Widelitz Pediatrics, died during a complication of surgery, Aug. 8.

According to his longtime friend and business partner Dr. Robert Kaplan, Widelitz was a "great guy, honest, trustworthy, smart (and a) good doctor."

"He’s a sort of a legend in the area of pediatric knowledge," Kaplan said. "He’s very nice, ethical."

Kaplan has known Widelitz since 1977.

"We’re friends inside and outside the office," Kaplan said. "Our families have known each. I've taken care of his kids. He’s taken care of my kids."

Together they started their private practice in 1979, which they moved to Los Alamitos in 1997, according to Kaplan. 

The business is at 10861 Cherry Street.

Kaplan said that Widelitz loved children and loved dressing up for Halloween. 

"(He had a) great sense of humor," Kaplan said. "He would always have fun in the office."

Widelitz served at a number of medical centers including Miller Children's Hospital in Long Beach and Los Alamitos Medical Center

Today at about 1:40 p.m., the practice announced news of Widelitz passing on the businesse's public facebook page:

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the death of Dr. Joel Widelitz. It was fairly sudden and occurred as a complication of surgery. 

Our office and the family are asking for some time and privacy, so please refrain from contacting our office to inquire about details. Thank you for your understanding.

There will be a donation set up in his honor. We will post that information at a later date.

As of 2:32 p.m., at least 36 people have commented on the public page, expressing their condolences and sorrow over the loss.

  • Aly Mancini: "Terrible, terrible news. He was the first doctor to examine our baby and he was so sweet and gentle. Rest in Peace."
  • Joanie Dorsey: "My deepest sympathy to the office and family. I am proud to say I had the honor to work for the office 30 years ago. I am so very sorry."
  • Nikki Bailey: "How sad. He was wonderful with my boys. Thinking of the family and office family in this time of sadness."
  • Jamie Lynn Jones: "I am heart broken to hear this news. Dr. Widelitz is my favorite at the practice and I was hoping he'd be the one to come visit my new baby girl in the hospital when she is born in about a month. My thoughts and prayers to the family and office."
  • Stephanie Minami: "We are shocked and so sorry to hear this. Daddy and all three kids were patients of Dr. Widelitz. Our sincere condolences and prayers for his family and the staff.

Correction: Widelitz was 66 years old and would have been 67 in October. An earlier version of this story erronously said he was 67. 

Renee Burlin August 13, 2012 at 03:01 PM
We are so sad to hear the passing of Dr. Widelitz. I remember how he always made us feel confident and at ease with visits to the doctor. He was always so nice and fun to get my girls to talk with him. He would bend down to their level and talk in a kiddish way make them smile. He always never forgot to let them pick their own stickers before they left. He will be greatly missed, we were honored to have him treat our children as their Pediatrician. The Burlin Family.
LYNN SHAW August 13, 2012 at 06:07 PM
So sad to hear about the passing of Dr. Widelitz, he was such a nice man & good Doctor. He has seen my son a number of times along with Dr. Kaplan & I myself had been seen by him when I was young. My prayers go out to his family & staff. The Shaw family.
Cynthia Stava August 14, 2012 at 10:05 PM
There wasn't a kinder and more gentle man and doctor. He was with my boys from birth until their teens. I'm so sad to hear of this wonderful man's passing...he will be missed!!
Lynne Cawley August 17, 2012 at 09:20 PM
I worked for Drs. Kaplan and Widelitz in the early 90's and hold those memories dear to my heart. Dr. Widelitz was more than kind--he was funny and smart and loved kids of all ages. He will be missed by all who knew him. My condolences to his family and the staff of the office and to the community he so faithfully served.
Cheyenne Calderon August 21, 2012 at 05:36 AM
Wow. I'm only 14, but when I was littler, my mom said that Dr. Widelitz saved my life & I wouldn't be here with out him. I remember everytime I went in to get a check up, he would always make me laugh even if it wasn't my best day. He was a kind, gentle, funny man. He was 23, & 21 year old sisters pediatrician too. We will miss him. He will be greatly missed by everyone that had him in his life.

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