photo of Dr. Tony Mancini and his grandson, Domenico

Dr. Tony Mancini with his grandson, Domenico

Dr. Joseph Anthony (“Tony”) Mancini, an alumnus of South Florida State College (previously South Florida Community College), practices gynecology at Gessler Clinic in Winter Haven. He spoke about his family and his career in medicine.

Where are you originally from?
I was born and raised in Wauchula.

A news clip on the wall in your examining room is about someone in your family who owned a business in New Britain, Conn. Why do you have the news clip on the wall?
My grandfather started a food processing business in Connecticut. They moved the operation to Zolfo Springs in the 1940s. Mancini Foods makes canned and jarred roasted peppers and is still in business to this day. The news clip in the office writes about the business, my grandfather being an Italian immigrant, and the value of hard work to be successful. I keep that article up as inspiration.

How/why did your family come to Hardee County?
My grandfather, my father, and uncle came to Hardee County to start and run the business. My dad met my mom here and they had a family — me and my two brothers. I went to public school here and am a proud graduate of Hardee Senior High School, Class of 1971.

You were in a band once upon a time. Tell us about that. Are you still active as a musician?
I was in a rock band in high school called “Copperfield.” And we were quite popular! I was the guitarist. We played high school dances and other venues. I don’t play now, other than for my own enjoyment. I own several guitars in my collection.

Why did you decide to attend SFCC?
I attended SFCC because of convenience and to get my Associate in Arts (A.A.) before transferring to a four-year school. I got a great education and was able to work and save money. I graduated from SFCC in 1973 after completing some of the pre-med requisites. I went on to major in Biology at Florida Southern College in Lakeland and graduated in 1975.

 Why did you choose to go to medical school at St. George’s University School of Medicine in Grenada?
I went to Grenada School of Medicine because it was difficult to get into med school in the United States and, rather than wait listing, I could start there immediately.

Why did you choose to go into medicine? Did anyone or an incident inspire you?
I was inspired to go into medicine, mainly, because we had a great group of doctors at Palmetto Medical Clinic in Wauchula – Drs. Palmer, Sayre, and Carmichael. I knew I wanted to be like them.

Why did you choose to go into obstetrics/gynecology?
I went into obstetrics/gynecology because it is mostly a happy specialty — delivering babies. I retired from obstetrics five years ago, now focusing on gynecology. I’ve delivered the children of many of my current patients. I have also practiced long enough to have patients whom I actually delivered!

How long have you had your practice at Gessler Clinic in Winter Haven? What aspects of your career have brought you the most pride or joy?
I have been in practice since 1986 – four years in Lake Wales and going on 30 years at Gessler Clinic. I take pride in caring for my patients. I loved delivering babies. I’m thankful I’m able to continue practicing gynecology.

You have a brother who is also a physician.
My brother is an internist in Winter Park, Fla. He is three years younger than I.

 Do you have any children who have followed in your footsteps and gone into medicine?
I have three children and two grandsons. My daughter, Katie, who lives just outside Rochester, N.Y., is married and has two sons ages 5 and 8. Meredith lives in Chicago and is a recruiter for Robert Half, a staffing firm. My son, Trey, is a Major League Baseball player, who is the first baseman for the Baltimore Orioles. None of them are in medicine, but that’s fine as long as they are happy!

In what ways did SFCC assist you in preparing you for your career? What advice would you give to young people (or people interested in changing careers) about going into medicine? About getting an education?
SFCC was a great place to begin my education. It had small classes, and it was easy to gain access to your instructors. Of course, I went there in the early days of the College and I can only imagine how great a place it is to attend now!

Medicine as a whole is a very rewarding career no matter what specialty you choose, and SFSC is a great place to get the foundation you need!