Dr. Emil Bisaccia was remembered Monday morning at his funeral at as a true "renaissance man" whose personal and professional impact on family, friends, patients, fellow medical professionals and his students was both profound and far-reaching.
The Basking Ridge physician was 59 when en route to Ohio, where one of his offices of is located. Other offices are in the Liberty Corner section of Bernards Township, Morristown, Roxbury and Somerville.
Those who eulogized Bisaccia listed his But although he was a pre-eminent cosmetic surgeon and co-founder of Affiliated Dermatology—and a professor at Columbia University in New York and University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey—he was remembered first and foremost as a loyal and generous soul who loved his family and friends.
"We are his legacy," said his son Devon Bisaccia, 20, who said had many conversations with his father, one of the most recent being a talk about death about a month ago.
"He shared his opinion—that opinion is that it's important to live each day so that when the day ends you would have no worries or regret as to how you lived it," said his son, who now is a student at The Ohio State University, his father's alma mater.
"His ability to love was unrivaled," said his older son, Adam Bisaccia, 26. But he said his father also played the role of teacher in his life, someone to whom he could turn to for guidance.
Speakers said Bisaccia also was a writer, who sought peace of mind by setting aside time each day to fill a journal with his philisophical insights. "He structured his day to include an hour of thinking time," said his colleague and co-founder of Affiliated Dermatology, Dr. Dwight Scarborough.
And although the crash that killed him was "devastating," Adam Bisaccia said that somehow hundreds of pages of the writing his father kept close to him survived intact, and even in order.
He said that the first morning after his father's passing he had turned to the many handwritten journals at the Bisaccia home in Basking Ridge to seek guidance.
That home was the scene of many Christmas parties and other occasions with his brother and his wife, Teresa, that showed Bisaccia's fun side, according to his brother, Ron Bisaccia.
"I have never been on this planet without my brother," Ron Bisaccia said. "My brother was a force of nature, a force for good."
He recalled that his brother had been "a conquerer of problems," who had been somewhat like a superhero. "But Superman is not supposed to die."
Ron Bisaccia said his brother had been a hero to many people. "Many of us even called him by his nickname, 'Doc,'" he said of family members.
He said his brother often had written of the importance of making the most of time, and the people in life during that time.
"We find ourselves now in the biggest time of need without the one we rely on the most," Ron Bisaccia said.
Devon Bisaccia recalled a letter his father had written him for his younger son's high school graduation in which the physician had promised, "I will be there behind you...in the darkness as well as the brightest of times."
His longtime colleague, Scarborough also spoke of how the two forged a professional and personal bond while in Ohio, and how they had joined together in setting up a practice.
"Emil's career had such incredible breadth," his colleague said, noting his work in treating skin cancer as well as cosmetic procedures.
During his "brief but full life," Bisaccia had many career achievements, but, "He lived for his family." Scarborough said.
He noted that Bisaccia had a quest to become a true "renaissance man."
Following the service, Dr. Ingrid Warmuth, who said she had been a student of Bisaccia's at Columbia University, said of her former professor, "He was my mentor."
Dr. Bisaccia also loved to fly, and his bi-weekly trips from Somerset Airport in Bedminster to Ohio to participate in surgery at that Affiliated Dermatology center later became visits to both of his sons after they had chosen to enroll at The Ohio State University, said Rev. Glenn Commandini, who led Monday's service.
Bisaccia also is survived by his father, Emil. by Gallaway and Crane Funeral Home in Basking Ridge, which handled arrangements. Interment was to be at Somerset Hills Memorial Park Mausoleum in Basking Ridge.
The Dr. Emil Bisaccia Honor Fund has been established at Columbia University in his recognition, according to the obituary on the Gallaway and Crane website. In lieu of flowers, the family requests all donations can be sent to the Columbia University Department of Dermatology, c/o Marilyn Mullins, 100 Haven Ave., Suite 29D, New York, NY 10032 or the Wounded Warrior Project P.O. Box 758517 Topeka, Kansas 66675.