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Retired Schenectady physician turns 100

Retired Schenectady physician turns 100

Diorio and husband came to Schenectady after WWII
Retired Schenectady physician turns 100
Bellevue resident Dr. Martha Diorio, center, celebrated her 100th birthday on April 9 alongside family members.
Photographer: marc schultz

Intelligence and hard work made Martha Diorio a popular obstetrician and gynecologist in Schenectady for more than half a century.

A Puerto Rico native who turned 100 Tuesday, Diorio said she has no idea, however, how she managed to live such a long life.

"None whatsover," said Diorio, sitting in her Campbell Avenue home Tuesday surrounded by family and friends.

Born April 9, 1919, in Puerto Rico, Diorio graduated from high school early and had finished her four-year degree at the University of Puerto Rico by the time she was 20. Then it was off to the University of Maryland for medical school. Diorio still has the original boat pass that took her from Puerto Rico to New York City, where she hopped on a train to Baltimore to begin three years of medical school.

"I knew there was something here to help me be a doctor," said Diorio. "I had already taken care of babies in Puerto Rico. It made me happy. It felt good. I was enthusiastic about it, so I just kept at it."

Diorio married her husband, John, the day after they graduated from Maryland together in 1943. While he went off to Europe to serve as a doctor during World War II, Martha went back to Puerto Rico to be with her family. Following the war, they came to Schenectady and opened their own medical practice in a house on Broadway. The couple used the downstairs as their office and lived upstairs. They eventually moved to Campbell Avenue, then moved their practice into a larger location on the same street while continuing to live at the first location.

"They came here right after World War II because my father was in the Army and working at the Schenectady Depot," said Diorio's daughter, Marta (Tita) McKenna. "They didn't know anybody, but they opened their own practice and then moved over on Campbell Avenue in Bellevue, where she worked until she retired in 2000. She was a working doctor for 57 years."

Diorio's husband, a native of Waterbury, Connecticut, died in 1985. The couple had four children. Their eldest, Dr. John Diorio, also became a physician and lives in Hingham, Massachusetts. McKenna was in town Tuesday for a visit from Pleasantville in the lower Hudson River Valley, while her two sisters, Rose Wells of Plattsburgh and Deborah Lyons of Paxton, Massachusetts, will be heading to Schenectady later this week. Martha Diorio has nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, with another due in July.

Diorio delivered two sets of triplets during her career, and on Jan. 2, 1965, the Schenectady Gazette reported that she delivered the year's first baby.

Diorio told the Gazette in 2015 that the best part about her profession was "the idea that you're bringing new life into the world."

During her career, Diorio delivered babies at what was called Bellevue Hospital on Route 7 in Niskayuna, and St. Clare's and Ellis Hospital in Schenectady.

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