Cover photo for Dr. Sergio Rabinovich's Obituary
Dr. Sergio Rabinovich Profile Photo
1928 Dr. Sergio Rabinovich 2024

Dr. Sergio Rabinovich

April 8, 1928 — May 26, 2024


CARBONDALE - Dr. Sergio Rabinovich, dedicated doctor, Professor of Medicine, beloved husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, died at home on May 26, 2024, at the age of 96. To the end, he had a passion for life, an endless curiosity, and a deep compassion for his family, friends, colleagues, and students. “I’m still having fun”, he told his daughter over a game of backgammon a week before his passing.


Sergio was born in Lima, Peru, on April 8, 1928, to Isaac Rabinovich and Consuelo Rospigliosi. He married Nelly Vasques-Solis on May 19, 1954, in Lima, Peru; they recently celebrated their 70th anniversary. Sergio and Nelly moved to White Plains, New York in 1954, where he did his residency during the polio epidemic and witnessed its disappearance as the vaccine became available the following year. They returned to Peru where he became the Chair of the Department of Medicine in Arequipa. Moving back to the USA, he continued his career at the University of Iowa School of Medicine, where he was an NIH grantee researching influenza and interferon. In 1972, he joined the newly formed Southern Illinois School of Medicine in Springfield Illinois, Department of Internal Medicine, and served as the Chair for 14 years, while also serving as Division Chief of Infectious Diseases and Residency Program Director. He was a strong advocate of universal precautions in hospitals and introduced them to the police department, while being an early advocate for patients with AIDS and normalizing testing at a time when fear was so prevalent. He was an early proponent of SIUM’s involvement in rural health care. Dr. Rabinovich trained his students in the Socratic method and challenged them to think and explain clearly. After Sergio's retirement, he continued hospital rounds, journal clubs, and Infectious Disease meetings and still had an office in the hospital well into his 90’s. He also led seminars on medical Spanish for residents at SIUM. 


He is survived by his loving wife of 70 years, Nelly; son, Sergio Jr. and wife, Holly Barlowe Rabinovich, Hillsborough, NC; daughters, Regina Rabinovich and husband, Franco Piazza, Carbondale, IL; Egla Rabinovich and husband, Kenneth Jordan, Chapel Hill, NC; and  Norka Rabinovich and husband, John David Lindt, Carbondale, IL; seven grandchildren, Alex Piazza & Stephanie Widmer, Los Angeles, CA, Adriana Piazza & Jordan Kline, Seattle WA; Danielle Jordan and Dan Pierson, Durham, NC; Nicholas & Miriam Jordan, Baltimore MD; Max Piazza, Carbondale, IL; Kyle Dylan Jordan, Charlotte, NC; Brigitte Bentulan, Oak Brook, IL; and Sergio Russell Rabinovich, Greenville, NC; five great-grandchildren, Juliana & Mariela Piazza, Los Angeles, CA; Oscar & Penelope Kline, Seattle, WA; and Xavier Pierson, Durham, NC. He was preceded in death by his beloved grandson, John Sergio Lindt.


Dr. Sergio Rabinovich lived his life with enthusiasm and gusto. He wanted to know the "why" behind the "what". “Show me the data”, he would comment. He was the core of a wonderful family that loved him deeply, and his impact on medicine and the countless doctors he helped train, will not be forgotten. He will be truly missed. A life well loved and a life well lived.


A Celebration of Life honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Sergio Rabinovich will be held at 2 pm on Thursday, June 20, 2024, at Meredith Funeral Home in Carbondale. 


In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that donations be made to Southern Illinois University Medical School:


Meredith Funeral Home in Carbondale is in charge of arrangements.  To leave a memory or story of Dr. Rabinovich, visit

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Service Schedule

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Celebration of Life

Thursday, June 20, 2024

Starts at 2:00 pm (Central time)

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