Dr. Louis Ciampi was a prominent Portland physician who operated a family practice, worked at Mercy Hospital and Maine Medical Center, and served as student health physician at the University of Southern Maine for 30 years.

Dr. Ciampi, who also devoted time to serving the city’s most vulnerable, was a fixture at Preble Street Health Clinic and St. Vincent de Paul Soup Kitchen. He died Tuesday after a brief illness. He was 81.

Dr. Ciampi began his career in medicine in 1960, opening a general practice in Gray. Soon after, he relocated the practice to his home in Portland’s North Deering neighborhood. His daughter Gilda Bryand of Portland said the examining room was attached to the kitchen and accessible through a bathroom door. Bryand recalled nights when patients would ring the doorbell late looking for help. She said her father didn’t turn anyone away.

“He was amazing,” Bryand said. “He was a great role model. He had the most amazing heart.”

Dr. Ciampi split his days between house calls and visiting patients at Mercy Hospital and Maine Medical Center. He also ran his family practice and worked as a student health physician at USM. In addition, he was an occupational physician for Crosby-Laughlin Co., Burnham & Morrill Co., American Can Co. and the city of Portland.

“He had a lot of patients,” Bryand said. “It’s often that I go someplace and (hear) a story of someone he took care of. Portland is such a big place, but it’s a small world. I don’t think my siblings and I could even fathom how many people he has touched.”

A lifelong resident of Portland, Dr. Ciampi graduated from Cheverus High School in 1950. He earned two college degrees, including one from Dalhousie School of Medicine in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1958.

He and his wife, Patricia Ciampi, were married for 45 years. They lived on Stevens Avenue, where they raised six children.

Bryand, the youngest of the bunch, described her father last week as strong, caring and supportive.

“He was an amazing father,” Bryand said. “There wasn’t a moment that any one of us would question that we were the most important thing in his life. … We are all so lucky to have had him as a role model.”

Bryand credits her father for teaching them about responsibility and accountability.

“He was very strict,” she said. “As kids, we were not allowed to do what a lot of our friends did. At times, that was tough. But, looking back at it, I totally see what his reasoning was. He made the tough choices and set rules that we followed. … He felt it was important to give us what we needed. We needed to work for what we wanted. I think he really instilled a good work ethic in all of us.”

Dr. Ciampi worked until 1999, when he turned his practice over to his son, Dr. Michael Ciampi.

Dr. Ciampi was a longtime volunteer at St. Vincent de Paul Soup Kitchen and the Preble Street Health Clinic. He served on the Parish Council at St. Peter’s Church in Portland and was active in the Italian Heritage Center. He was also a loyal fan of the Cheverus High School football and basketball teams.

Bryand emphasized his passion for the soup kitchen.

“After my mom died, he started volunteering at St. Vincent de Paul Soup Kitchen,” she said. “It was a great joy to him. To him, it was the most amazing place to go. He loved to help people. … It was important to him that we support our communities and do nice things for strangers. That’s always something both our parents instilled in us.”

Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

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