Dr. Frederic A. Costales

Dr. Frederic A. Costales

Dr. Frederic A. Costales passed away peacefully June 29, 2019, following a brief illness. His long-time loving companion Julie Carson and family members were able to be with him.

Dr. Costales was the elder of the two sons of Frederico and Edith Costales and was born in Brooklyn, New York, on November 24, 1923. Fred, as he came to be known, and his family moved around the country in his boyhood during the precarious economic times, eventually moving to California when his father went to work for Ford Motor Company.

Enlisting during World War II in the Navy’s program to train doctors, Fred entered Baylor University, transferred to UCLA and eventually entered Stanford in 1946 to finish medical school in 1948, getting his MD in 1949. During his time at Stanford, he met fellow Stanford student Nancy Ann Spackman and married her shortly after his graduation. Together with his new wife, Fred served his internship at San Francisco Hospital in 1949, and took up residency in internal medicine at the Veterans Hospital in Portland, Oregon. It was here his first son, Ric, was born.

Before he could finish his residency, the Korean War intervened. Fred was called out of the Naval Reserve to serve in the Marine Corps. Stationed at Camp Pendleton with his family, Fred served at the 1st Marine Evacuation Hospital where his second son, Jim, was born. Transferred to the Marine base at Barstow to finish his combat medical training, his unit was loaded into helicopters to begin the trip to Korea. Upon taking off, his unit’s dispatch to Korea was canceled. Returning right back to the joy and relief of his wife Nancy who was at the airfield to wave goodbye, Fred spent the rest of his service time in Barstow, mustering out at war’s end in 1953. Fred and his family then moved to San Francisco where he finished his residency in 1954.

It was at this point that Fred began his connection to Los Altos. He set up his first practice at Loyola Corners. Living a few blocks away at first, he and Nancy soon purchased the house on Cherry Avenue in Los Altos where he lived for the rest of his life. It was here that their daughter, Nan, and third son, Tom, were born. Shortly after this move, Fred partnered with another internist, Dr. Dick Wheat, to build one of the first medical offices on Altos Oaks Drive. Their partnership was a great one, lasting many years. It included the building and running of the medical lab next door and bringing in fellow internists Dr. Alan Carpenter and Dr. Adrian Dronkert.

A primary aspect of Fred’s practice and a career-long joy was the FAA medical certification of pilots. At the time of his retirement from the Palo Alto Medical Clinic (the forerunner of today’s Palo Alto Medical Foundation), where he had moved to concentrate on the part of his practice that he loved most, he was the longest certified FAA medical examiner in the United States. During this time Fred made many close pilot friends who helped inspire him to get a private pilot’s license and take up flying himself. Highlighting this time was FAA work with IASCO and Japan Airlines and his around-the-world record setting flight in a TAG-built airplane as the in-flight medical officer.

Fred was also remarkable for his community efforts. He was one of the founders of El Camino Hospital and the Los Altos Tennis Patrons Association (LATPA). The latter was an extension of his lifelong love of tennis, a game he played into his late 70’s. In service to his profession, he was an Emeritus Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at Stanford University, another of the many ways in which he expressed his gratitude and devotion to his medical alma mater, not least of which was the common local obsession with the peaks and valleys of Stanford football.

Fred loved the recreational pursuits of skiing, flying, camping, international travel and spending time at the family place that he and Nancy acquired in 1974 in Siskiyou County. As in everything else he did in his life, he did these things with delight and gusto.

Fred was predeceased by his dear wife Nancy in 1999, and his son Jim in 2007. His life was brightened in 2005 when Julie Carson shared love and joy with him until his death. Fred is also survived by his children Ric, Nan and Tom and their spouses, Jim’s widow Sondra, 5 grandchildren, 3 great grandchildren and 2 great, great grandchildren. A small family service will honor Fred’s Life. Donations to your favorite local non-profit or charitable organization in Fred’s name would be greatly appreciated.

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