Last fall, I sat down with Dr. Anita Figueredo and her oldest daughter, Dr. Sarita Eastman, for a Q&A about the book they had finished on Figueredo’s life. Figueredo was the first female surgeon in San Diego County, a pioneer in her field, and a long-time friend of Mother Teresa’s.

Figueredo died last Friday at her home in La Jolla, said Dr. A. Brent Eastman, her-son-in-law and chief medical officer of Scripps Health. She was 93.

About three weeks ago, Figueredo suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and was hospitalized, Eastman said. She was taken to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, the same hospital where she’d worked for decades. After several days there, Figueredo decided to spend her remaining days at home.

In her final days, she held onto a cross Mother Teresa had given her and received visits from family, friends and colleagues, including one last week from three of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in Tijuana. When they started playing a harmonica for Figueredo, she responded for the first time in about 36 hours, Eastman said, opening her eyes, smiling, raising her hands and softly clapping.

Before Figueredo death’s, her eldest daughter made a push to finish the Spanish translation of the book on her mother’s life, “A Trail of Light: The Very Full Life of Dr. Anita Figueredo.” Her daughter was able to read much of the translation to her mother before she died.

“She was a woman who accomplished more in any given day than most people I’ve ever met,” said Dr. A. Brent Eastman.

A memorial and celebration of her life will be held March 19 at The Immaculata Parish at the University of San Diego.


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