- On August 28, 2020
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John Emboaba Da Costa of Mt. Lebanon, PA age 75, died peacefully at home surrounded by family on August 26th, 2020. He was the devoted husband of Sandra Da Costa for 44 years, cherished father of Alexandre (Dia) of Edmonton, CA, Cynthia (Matthew) of Mt. Lebanon, PA and Luciana of Mt. Lebanon, PA. He was the loving grandfather of Kabir, John, Aijaz, and Elaina.
Dr. Da Costa was born in Santo Anastacio, Brazil, the third of three sons, to Arací and José Da Costa. His older brothers helped take good care of him, the late Manoel Da Costa and José Da Costa both of Riberão Preto Brazil. Dr. Da Costa spent his early childhood on a farm facing difficult conditions in post-Depression-era Brazil. Despite those challenges, he excelled in education and ultimately got his M.D. at the University of São Paulo School of Medicine. He moved to Pittsburgh in 1972 for his anesthesia residency at Mercy Hospital with the expectation of returning to Brazil to work with his brother Manoel, who was also an anesthesiologist. He met his future wife Sandra in Riberão Preto, Brazil in 1974 on a blind date arranged by family friends! They married in 1976 and moved to Pittsburgh in 1977 when he was offered a three year position to complete his training as a cardiovascular anesthesiologist.
In 1978, their first child Alexandre was born. That was also the year that they found out that Dr. Da Costa had chronic glomerulonephritis which was leading to kidney failure, which at the time was likely to be fatal. Dr. Da Costa and his wife researched transplant centers throughout Brazil and the United States but had faith that Pittsburgh would be the best option. He showed tremendous courage in the face of long odds. Daughters Cynthia and Luciana were born in 1980 and 1981, respectively, during the extended kidney treatments and dialysis. After a failed first transplant attempt with a live donor kidney from his brother José in 1981, he had a successful cadaver kidney transplant in 1983 at Pittsburgh Presbyterian Hospital and lived with it for another 37 full, happy years.
Dr. Da Costa will be remembered with deep love and respect for his commitment to his work, his patients, and his profession. Beginning in 1977, he worked for Pittsburgh Anesthesia Associates (PAA) based out of Mercy Hospital for 25 years. After recovering from Open Heart Surgery in 2002, he took the opportunity to join his PAA colleagues at South Pittsburgh Anesthesia Associates at Jefferson Hospital. Dr. Da Costa worked at Jefferson Hospital until he retired in 2014. He read widely in his field, and had a great passion for observing and interpreting the trends and challenges of his profession. In addition, one of the most favorite parts of his job was helping train the anesthesia residents, many of whom became life long colleagues and friends. He was an active member of the American Society of Anesthesiology, Pennsylvania Medical Society, and the Allegheny County Medical Society for much of his career. In 2019, Allegheny County Medical Society recognized him for 50 years of service to the medical profession. Dr. Da Costa and his wife were active in the Pittsburgh Chapter of the National Kidney Foundation since his diagnosis 40 years ago, serving as co-chairs of the National Kidney Foundation Gift of Life Gala in 2015 and 2016.
In his free time, Dr. Da Costa loved watching soccer, reading the newspaper, debating economics, researching car trends, traveling, and chasing his grandkids. When his children were younger he often coached their teams and enjoyed being part of the Mt. Lebanon Soccer Association. He loved going to the beach with family and friends and would walk down the shore line for hours.
Dr. Da Costa was committed to sharing US culture with his family and friends – any time you came to the Da Costa house, you were likely to meet one of the dozens of his nephews, nieces and Brazilian exchange students that would visit to learn English and explore Pittsburgh. He would often be seen at the dining room table helping these young visitors with English grammar and vocabulary, illustrating his joy for teaching.
Despite his love for all things Pittsburgh—from the Steelers to Steak Salad with Fries, his attachment to Brazil and Brazilian culture never abated. Dr. Da Costa, his wife and children continued Brazilian traditions at home in Mt. Lebanon and traveled every summer to Brazil to visit relatives and friends. Many of the family’s most cherished memories are from those trips through the years!
A private family memorial service will be held on Sunday, August 30th at 12 noon at the Mt. Lebanon Cemetery Mausoleum, where his ashes will reach their final resting place. The family requests that In lieu of flowers please send donations in his name to The National Kidney Foundation Pittsburgh Chapter.