Joseph Theodore Saiter, Jr., M.D., husband, father, grandfather, healer, friend to all, affectionately known as “Daddy Joe,” passed away surrounded by family on January 6, 2022, from complications of advanced Parkinson’s.
Dr. Saiter was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and at an early age moved with his family to Louisville, Kentucky. He attended Louisville Male High School, which, at the time, was an all-male college preparatory school. He received an academic scholarship to Vanderbilt University where he majored in physics and biology, graduating in three years with Honors. His 4th year, he began Vanderbilt Medical School as a senior-in-abstention, graduating from medical school with Honors. His academic accolades included Phi Eta Sigma Freshman Honor Society, Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, and Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. Joe was also a member of Phi Kappa Sigma social fraternity. After one year of surgical residency at Vanderbilt, Joe left to serve his country in the U.S. Air Force, stationed at Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, D.C., where he met his wife of 55 years, Cheryl Peterson. After completing his military service, Joe and Cheryl returned to Vanderbilt where he completed an orthopedic residency, serving as chief resident.
In January of 1970, Dr. Saiter moved his family to Pensacola to open his solo practice in orthopedics. Over the years, the practice grew to nine orthopedists and one rheumatology associate, and the practice became known as Gulf Coast Orthopedic Specialists. In January of 1985, Joe and his family moved to Bern, Switzerland, where he completed a microscopic hand surgery fellowship before returning to Pensacola. Dr. Saiter retired in March of 2003. During his medical career, Joe was a loved physician within his practice and the community, as well as an admired and respected employer, friend, leader, and community servant. He gave his time as a past president of Baptist and Gulf Breeze Hospitals’ medical staffs and was a past president of the Escambia County Medical Society. He was a member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. He was a longtime member of multiple community organizations, including Gulf Breeze United Methodist Church and the Gulf Breeze Rotary Club, a Paul Harris Fellow, and a champion of the Gulf Breeze Rotary Scholarship Foundation. He was also an avid fan and supporter of the Gulf Breeze schools and loved his time as the team doctor for the Gulf Breeze High School football team. During his retirement years, Joe was a dedicated volunteer at the Good Samaritan Clinic in Gulf Breeze.
His time away from medicine was spent pursuing his passions: spending time with and entertaining family and friends, snow skiing with the Pensacola Ski Club in his younger years and enjoying the outdoors while participating in numerous hunting and fishing adventures. In recent years, his most treasured time was spent with friends, family, and, most especially, his grandchildren in his home away from home, Bluegate, in Conecuh County, Alabama.
Joe is predeceased by his parents, Joseph T. Saiter, Sr. and Virginia Slingluff Saiter. He is survived by his wife, Cheryl Saiter; son Jay Saiter and wife, Cindy; daughter Sherie Snider and husband, Paul; and son Judd Saiter and wife, Michelle; grandchildren Paul, Jr., Joe, and Pete Snider, Lauren and Ashley Saiter, and Jett and Blaise Saiter. Brother Gene Saiter, M.D., and sister Suzanne Joungebloed of Roberstdale, AL; sister-in-law Janie Stewart and husband Jim of Gulf Breeze; brother-in-law Pete Peterson and wife Carla of Jamestown, LA; multiple nieces and nephews; favorite first cousin Marjorie Dettmering and husband Bill of Atlanta, GA; and closest friends Sonny White, Ed Schwartz, Hal Holston, Bill Kettenring, David Young, and John McDaniel. Joe also will be sorely missed by his lap dog and precious poodle, “Baby.”
The Saiter family would like to thank Comfort Keepers, Emerald Coast Hospice, the memory care staff at The Arbors of Gulf Breeze, with an extra special thanks to his caregivers: Crystal, “Z”, Jeff, Josh, David, Ivon Yvette, and nurse Amanda.
A memorial service will be held on Sunday, January 23rd at 3pm at Gulf Breeze United Methodist Church. A celebration of life will follow. To continue his commitment to education, in lieu of flowers, contributions in memory of Dr. Joe Saiter can be made to Gulf Breeze Rotary Scholarship Foundation, P.O. Box 808, Gulf Breeze, FL 32563. You may offer condolences, share memories and sign the guestbook at www.roselawn-fh.com.
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