ST. PETERSBURG — Dr. Frank Diamond Jr. had a way of putting his young patients at ease.
The pediatrician's easy manner reassured kids, whether they were patients at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg or at a hospital in Quito, Ecuador.
"It was eye opening to see him be able to help children from a totally different part of the world," said his son, state Rep. Ben Diamond, D-St. Petersburg. "To see him talk and joke with them and their parents in Spanish was really neat."
Dr. Diamond died Sunday night. He was 68.
He served children and families in Pinellas County for nearly four decades as a professor of pediatrics at the University of South Florida and a pediatric endocrinologist at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital. But his desire to help others took him beyond his own country.
He first traveled to Latin America while pursuing his medical degree from Penn State University. He continued to make those trips for most of the rest of his life, his son said, sometimes with his wife or children.
"It was so special the way he was able to combine that love of other cultures and the Spanish language with his professional skills and desire to help kids," said Ben Diamond, who first traveled to Latin America with his dad as a college student.
Most of Dr. Diamond's trips were to Ecuador, where he performed medical research and cared for sick children. His contributions there were recognized in 2012 when the Universidad de San Francisco de Quito named him an honorary professor of pediatric endocrinology.
At home in St. Petersburg, Dr. Diamond sought to improve children's lives through his work as a long-time member of the Pinellas County Juvenile Welfare Board, for which he also served as board chair.
"He was a passionate believer in the importance of service to your community," Ben Diamond said.
No matter what he did, Dr. Diamond did so with a sense of compassion and humility, his son said. Whether he was interacting with patients, community members or his family, Dr. Diamond always brought a great deal of empathy to the conversation.
"He was always very focused on who he was talking with," his son said. "He had tremendous listening skills, and I think that was why he was such a successful physician.
"He really cared about people."
Contact Caitlin Johnston at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8779. Follow @cljohnst.