Posted on: January 12, 2021
Justiniano “Justo” Fernandez Campa, MD, PhD, 83, of Charlottesville, Va., died on November 23, 2019 in the comfort of his home surrounded by his family.
Born on November 6, 1936 in Cartagena, Spain, he was the son of Justiniano Fernandez-Campa and Concepcion Barcelo Vidal. His father, a surgical ophthalmologist, inspired him to pursue medicine and he did it with the same purpose, to give himself to others.
Dr. Campa was an independent thinker and while he was urged to stay in Spain to join his father’s ophthalmology practice, his mind was set on the brain. In 1961, at age 25, he arrived in the U.S. to pursue neurology. He was trained in Neurology and Neuropathology at The University of Virginia (UVA) and in Neuromuscular Research at the University of Copenhagen (EMG) and at Bethesda NIH. Afterward, he was appointed Assistant Professor of Neurology and Director of the EMG and Muscle Biopsy Laboratories of the University of Virginia Medical Center. In 1976, Dr. Campa was granted tenure and became Associate Professor of Neurology at UVA.
After nine years as a member of the UVA Neurology Faculty, Dr. Campa expanded his practice to General Clinical Neurology with expertise in Brain MRI/CT. In September 1979, he started an independent private practice in Charlottesville, Va. affiliated with Martha Jefferson Hospital and became Board Certified in MRI-CT Diagnosis. Well known for being an outstanding diagnostician and truly caring for each of his patients, Dr. Campa retired in 2009 after 39 years of practice.
Dr. Campa’s publication of “Histochemistry of energy metabolism in spinal motor neurons” (Nature & Science, 1970) led to his doctoral thesis. Additional publications include the 1972 collaborative work on the treatment of Myasthenia Gravis with steroids, a chapter on Diseases of the Motor Unit in Toole’s New Concepts in Neurology and several clinical publications in the field of Muscle & Nerve, his sub-specialty while on the UVA Faculty.
Born out of his love for neurology and helping others, after retirement, Dr. Campa designed and produced the Neurostaff using Virginia artisans. He called this walking aid a “beautiful third leg” to help those with vertigo, post-surgical balance, casual hiking and walking. He was also honored to be an adviser for the naturopathic Phydos Clinic in Charlottesville under the direction of Dr. David Zeoli.
Coming from Spain to rural Charlottesville, he formed a love for the sights and sounds of the peaceful Virginia countryside, the birds, his garden, the trees. Those who call him Justo know him as a generous host and expert of traditional Spanish paella and wines. His and Nancy’s home was a never-ending celebration of life with friends and family. He was adored by his family and was lovingly called “Papi” by his grandchildren.
Full of a life well-loved and beautiful memories with family and friends, we can all be sure to fulfill his favorite Native American quotation, “I will be alive for as long as people remember me.”
Justo is survived by his wife of 53 years, Nancy Sidebotham Campa; his daughters, Elena Gormley and Cristina Campa; his son, Justiniano “Justi” Campa; his son-in-law, Brian Gormley; his granddaughters, Julia and Ava Gormley; his son-in-law, Charley Morrow and grandson, Max Morrow; his daughter-in-law, Loring Woodriff; and stepgranddaughters, Octavia and Frances Lawson. A heartfelt appreciation to his wonderful team of doctors who treated him with great care, Dr. Greg Doull, Dr. Will Hammond, Dr. Kevin McConnell, Dr. Mark Pritchard, Dr. Mike Mangrum and Hospice of the Piedmont.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial contributions to be made to the Ronald McDonald House or Hospice of the Piedmont