Services for a University of Arizona physician and pediatrics pioneer are set for Saturday morning in Tucson.

Dr. George Comerci, 81, died Feb. 10 of natural causes, UA officials said Tuesday.

Comerci was one of the founding members of the UA Department of Pediatrics, a past president of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a major figure in the development of adolescent medicine as a pediatric subspecialty in the United States.

He created the adolescent medicine program at the UA in 1977 and the UA College of Medicine "George Comerci Visiting Professorship in Adolescent Medicine" was established in 2007 to honor those groundbreaking accomplishments.

A graduate of Rutgers University College of Pharmacy and Temple University Medical School, Comerci interned with the U.S. Public Health Service and completed his residency at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children (Temple University) in Philadelphia.

After four years of private practice in New Jersey, he was appointed an assistant professor of pediatrics and outpatient director at the Glennon Children's Hospital, St. Louis University Medical School.

In 1969, he became director of ambulatory pediatrics and deputy head of the Department of Pediatrics at the UA College of Medicine, where the department's ambulatory-focused teaching program was twice winner of the Ambulatory Pediatric Association's teaching award.

He served for two years as the college's first associate dean for continuing medical education and in 1979 became professor of pediatrics and of family and community medicine.

In 1991 he was named director of pediatric and adolescent medicine at Desert Hills Center for Youth and Families in Tucson. In 2004, he received the Clifford G. Grulee Award from the American Academy of Pediatrics for his outstanding service to the organization.

His career had a positive impact on his family - his son graduated from the UA College of Medicine, and his grandson is currently enrolled there. Also, his daughter-in-law and two of his grandchildren graduated from the UA College of Nursing. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Jane, their three children, George, Janice and Andy, and seven grandchildren.

Services are scheduled for 10 a.m. at Immanuel Presbyterian Church, 9252 E. 22nd St.

Visitation is set from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday at Bring's Funeral Home, 6910 E. Broadway.

Contact medical reporter Stephanie Innes at or 573-4134. On Twitter @stephanieinnes