Dr. Wilfredo Tiu Hangs Up the White Coat After 51 Years
WHEELING — When working at a job that gives a person much satisfaction, it’s not easy to call it quits. Dr. Wilfredo Tiu is just that kind of man.
After 51 years of healing ears, noses and throats, Tiu has put down the microscope and picked up a watering can. His office at Wheeling Hospital — located next to the offices of two sons, Dr. Christopher Tiu and Dr. Jeremy Tiu — remains a place he visits often despite his “retired” status. The sons maintain private and separate practices, following in their father’s footsteps in the field of otolaryngology, but always with the advice of dad close by.
Upon his retirement last month, the siblings filled their father’s office with a garden of plants which senior Tiu tends to regularly. Whether the plants are an excuse to be “in the office” or simply out of habit, Tiu is always fondly greeted by staff and generations of patients he has treated.
As Tiu leaves the daily work schedule, the practice has welcomed certified physician assistant Hilary Miller.
Born in Cebu, Philippines, working in the family bakery before attending medical school, Tiu came to the United States in 1967 after completing medical school in his home country. He recalled the trip to the states via Japan to Alaska where he got his first look at snow. “We could see from the plane everything was white. I never saw snow and when we got out it was very cold. I was mesmerized by the snow, but I was cold,” Tiu said.
He began his residency training in ear, nose and throat surgery at Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh. It was there that he met the love of his life, Martha, a pediatric nurse. The couple celebrates 53 years of marriage this year.
It was at Mercy Hospital Tiu also was introduced to Dr. Donald Hofreuter, a family practice doctor from Wheeling. Hofreuter was at Mercy to learn more about Tiu’s specialty. The two became quick friends.
“He kept telling me how much I was needed in Wheeling. He said no one else in Wheeling was doing what I was doing,” Tiu recalled. “I visited Wheeling and liked the smaller city more than Pittsburgh but I had to convince Martha to come here.”
The couple eventually did make Wheeling their home with Tiu working at the Wheeling Clinic in his early years of practice and then at Wheeling Hospital. The couple raised their five children — James, Patrick, Maria, Christopher and Jeremy. Tiu, a devoted Catholic and daily Mass attendee at the hospital chapel, is proud that all of this children attended St. Michael School and Wheeling Central Catholic High School. Thirteen grandchildren complete the family.
Jeremy said he and his brother would go to their father’s office after school before going home. There they saw and heard their dad working with patients.
“We looked at his books and listened to him dictate notes into a dictation machine (he never used a computer). It got to the point we could mimic him pretty well,” Jeremy said. “I always knew I would get into this and I guess it came naturally to both of us (referring to his brother Christopher).”
For several years, Dr. Tiu was the only ear, nose and throat specialist in the Wheeling area. In 1998, Tiu changed his practice to clinic based only. He opened his solo private practice in 2007.
“This was such a wonderful place to work. It is like a family, so many people over the years. And I like the four seasons of weather,” he added.
When asked if he would do anything different if he had it to do all again, he said soundly “No!”