Goodbye, Dr. Schiebler

editor’s note

Editor, The Florida Pediatrician

PUBLISHED spring 2024 | Volume 44, Issue 2


In March we lost a true titan of pediatrics: Gerold L. Schiebler, MD. Dr. Schiebler was a phenomenon when it came to advocacy for children. But he was more than that. He was a mentor, a scholar, a gentleman, a friend and academic father to many physicians.

I had the distinct honor of knowing Dr. Schiebler as a teacher, a mentor, and a friend. I can tell many stories about
Dr. Schiebler and about his numerous accomplishments. How he was instrumental in getting many child friendly laws passed in Florida. However, I will limit myself to personal stories.

Thirty-three years ago, when I came to the University of Florida, the pediatric HIV services in Jacksonville, Florida were floundering because of a lack of an organized HIV program. It was largely due to lack of funding. I was frustrated and sought advise form late Dr. Sam Katz. He advised that I seek out Dr. Schiebler and said that “he will get you what you need.” He was correct. I remember Dr. Schiebler telling me 33 years ago that getting pediatric HIV services funded in Florida will be his “last hurrah.” We all know he never stopped advocating for children – even 3 days before his death he was on statewide advocacy meeting. The current statewide Pediatric HIV program is a testament to his advocacy and there would not have been a UF Center for HIV/AIDS Research Education and Service (UF CARES) in Jacksonville without
Dr. Schiebler. But the there would not have been a CMS, Poison Control Center network, Congenital heart Center and many more programs without Dr. Schiebler

He got me involved with the Florida Chapter of the AAP (FCAAP). One day he called and told me, “You should be in the leadership of FCAAP”. You never said no to Dr. Schiebler! I am thankful to him for getting me involved with FCAAP.

It is the little things he did. He always remembered the names of spouses and children. He always asked how they were and remembered what they were doing. One time, I was on a trip which included Mrs. Schiebler (and not Dr. Schiebler). I helped her during the trip with some things, and he was ever so thankful. He sent me one of his famous handwritten thank you notes. I would miss his 6 am calls when he would discuss specific issues and plans to address them. How can I forget “Schiebler’s lists?” A few years ago, he had a fall which required weeks of rehabilitation. I visited him daily on my way home. One day, I came home and told my wife Dr. Schiebler is fine. She asked how do I know that with such surety. I said he gave me a list of things to do.

I can write pages of stories about Dr. Schiebler, but for the page limit of the journal.

I am sure he has a list of things that need to be done for children in Florida that he will share with God in heaven.

Rest in Peace Dr. Schiebler!! I will miss your early morning calls and your lists, among many other things. There will be no one like you again.