Dr. Juan F. DeRojas, 95, of Mountain Top, entered into eternal rest on Thursday, October 22, 2020, surround by his loving family, at home.
Born in Cardenas, Cuba, on March 9, 1925, the son of Juan A. DeRojas, MD, and Maria Eliana (Smith) DeRojas. He studied at Maristas School and then at Belen Jesuit School in Havana, where he graduated in 1942 to enter University of Havana Medical School. He graduated as Medical Doctor in 1949, to continue on Internships and Residency programs to later become Staff surgeon and later Chief Director of a private hospital and a state hospital too. He also joined his father in private practice with great success.
Dr. Juan F. De Rojas married Elena (de Cubas) de Rojas, on June 11, 1950, and they had five children all born in Cuba. On June 1961, he and his beloved wife and children, escaped from Cuba to the United States of America, due to the political and social changes toward Communism in Cuba. They wanted to provide a better life for their children in a free country. They arrived in the United States with only one suitcase, leaving everything behind in Cuba, to start a new life in this country. They lived in Miami for six months, while he received a Certificate from the University of Miami School of Medicine and the University of Havana School of Medicine in Exile, after a Post Graduate Educational Medical Intensive Course he took in Miami. He obtained by examination the Certificate from the Educational Council for Foreign Medical Graduates. On November of 1961, he moved with his wife and five children to Hot Springs, South Dakota, as he was appointed as a staff surgeon at the VA Medical Center. During that time, he obtained by examinations the Certificate of the Board of Examiners in the Basic Sciences, state of South Dakota, and the Certificate of the South Dakota State Board License. During that time, the family became residents of the United States from the status of refugees. Later on, in Pennsylvania, they became USA citizens in June of 1969.
In August of 1965, he and his family moved to Mountain Top, Pa, as Dr. De Rojas was employed as a staff surgeon and later as Chief of Surgery in the Wilkes-Barre V.A. Hospital. In Pennsylvania, he obtained by examination further surgical certificates and he also served as a Clinical Instructor, Clinical Assistant and Associate Professor of the Department of Surgery, Temple University of Medicine and also was an Adjunct Professor of Clinical Medicine, King s College, until his retirement in September 1995. Dr De Rojas has been a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, a Senior member of the Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, Member of the Association of Veterans Administration Surgeons, American Society of Abdominal Surgeons, American Medical Association, Cuban Society of Surgery, Cuban Medical Assistance in Exile. He attended multiple courses in Surgery, presented many papers in different Societies or Institutions and published also many papers including The Archives of Surgery, Journal of the AMA, Abdominal Surgery Journal, and others as in Spain, Europe. He was also Chairman of the Medical Audit Committee at the V.A. for twelve years, a member of the SERP team, Central Office, DC., auditing and evaluating patient care in different institutions. He also received a Meritorious Service Award from the V.A. as well as a Director's Commendation Award for his contribution in Laparoscopic Surgery at that institution. At the time of his retirement in September of 1995, he was awarded a Citation from the House of Representatives and also from the Senate of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and a Special Recognition from Washington signed by Rep. Paul Kanjorski. After that he served as a volunteer at the Surgical Department for a few more years.
Juan and Elena raised their children with unconditional love and dedication. Juan was a very devoted husband to the love of his life. Their deep love story has shown us what real love is. He was a most wonderful father, grandfather, great grandfather, brother, son, friend and doctor. He was an avid Eagles and Phillies fan. Juan was an enthusiastic lifelong learner. He loved history, reading his daily missal, listening to music, singing, swimming, rowing, (He was the champion rower in Cuba in 1943). He enjoyed doing magic tricks for his grandkids, gathering the family every weekend and holidays at their home, going on family beach vacations, which always included a trip to Candy Kitchen. Juan 's priorities were always faith and family. He taught us by his example that the way to peace is always trusting in God's plan. He was the embodiment of wisdom, humility, gentleness, and determination. Juan was a kindest, most gentle soul. His patients loved him and he was a friend to all. Popop was a hero and an inspiration to all his grandkids. He leaves us all a profound legacy. He taught us how to live and how to die.
Juan was a devoted member of St. Jude Church in Mountain Top, where he participated as a lector, Eucharistic minister, and the Minstrel shows.
Dr. DeRojas is preceded in death by his parents, sisters, and as of a year ago, his beloved wife, Elena.
Juan is survived by his daughter, Elena Eichorn, and her children and grandchildren: Mia Preston and sons Mason and Gavin; Charles and his wife Maria, and daughters Anastasia and Katerina and son Brian Eichorn. His daughter, Betty Waskevich and her husband Ed, and children: Anthony and his wife Anna, and their son Luke; Tom and his wife Maura; his son Dr. Juan J. DeRojas and children: Alma, Juan, Michael, Christopher and daughter Mallayah, and Patrick. His daughter Maria Glenn and her husband Jim, and their children: JT and his wife Kelsey and son JR, Christina Masteller and her husband TJ, and children Eliana and Jude; Rev Ryan Glenn, and Michael and his wife Lianne and daughter Emiliana. His daughter Maria Luisa and husband Kevin, and their son Kevin and Robert and his wife Gianna. He is also survived by his brother in law and several nieces and nephews.
The family would like to deeply thank our angels Marion, Valerie, Joanie and Kathy for their wonderful care and compassion as well as the Hospice of the Sacred Heart staff that helped Dad in the last years of his life.
Visitation will be from 5:00-8:00 p.m. on Monday, October 26, 2020 at Desiderio Lehman Funeral Home, 436 S. Mountain Blvd. Mountain Top. Due to the pandemic, those attending the visitation are asked to wear a mask and follow social distancing.
Private Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, October 27, from Desiderio-Lehman Funeral Home, Mountain Top, followed by a private family Mass of Christian burial at St Jude's Church, Mountain Top. The principal celebrant will be his grandson, Rev. Ryan Glenn. Burial will be in Cavalry Cemetery, Drums.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to St. Jude's Church.
The funeral mass will be live streamed and available for those unable to attend because of the covid 19 guidelines. Please use www.stjc.org to view Dr DeRojas' Funeral Mass.
To send flowers to Juan's family, please visit our floral store.