Manuel F. Alsina Capo
Dr. Manuel Fernando Alsina Capo (born 1909) was a prominent Spanish-American urologist surgeon, who was a co-founder of the New Progressive Party in 1967 and performed the first kidney transplant in Puerto Rico in the 1960s.
Born on February 11, 1909 in Barcelona, Spain (other sources claim 1914 in Venezuela and 1919 in Puerto Rico), young Manuel Fernando traveled extensively with his progenitors Manuel Alsina Montes and Rafaela Capo, accompanied by his aunt Mercedes Alsina and uncle Pepe Girones, all which came from Barcelona to the New World at some point in the early 1900s, subsequently settling in Maracaibo, Venezuela, where Manuel Jr, if not born there, did attend a German Military Academy from kindergarten until his graduation with high honors at age 17, and city in which his father also had established a shoe factory and related leather-goods manufacturing and export venues.
Upon realising that his son was fit to study medicine, and being that he was the only offspring he had, Manuel Fernando Alsina, Sr. and the family decided to sell their booming businesses in Venezuela and once again migrated, this time to the United States, where, as expected, Manuel was promptly welcomed and admitted to the Villanova School of Medicine.
After graduation with Magna Cum Laude honors, Dr. Manuel F. Alsina Capo married Rosa Latimer, a beautiful woman of Corsican descendance, and settled in the Caribbean island, US Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, immediately following World War II. The entire family, along with parents and uncles and other relatives, quickly established themselves there and it was not long before they once again became well known in business, social, and political circles. The marriage of young Manuel and Rosa did not last, however, and not long after their fourth child, Maria Celeste Alsina Latimer, was born, the couple divorced following a bitter separation. The other older children were Manuel Fernando, Jose Antonio, and Rosa Gemma.
Manolin, as Dr. Manuel Alsina had become affectionately known to his family and friends, served shortly after in the US Navy Medical Branch as surgeon and for a time was stationed in the Pacific during the Korean-American War.
Upon his return to civilian life, Manolin met and married Norma Mercedes Gonzalez Sapia, daughter of Spaniard and Italian immigrant Antonio Gonzalez and Francesa Sapia Bosch. Antonio, head of the accounting department of one of Puerto Rico's main sugar mills at the time, was brother of Avelino Gonzalez, a well-known and beloved local inventor and founder of the highly successful Puerto Rican socialite retreat, the Ponce Yacht and Fishing Club.
Norma's mother, Francesca, was a well-known, cherished, and highly spirited lady who widowed at an early age, but with financial support from her brothers, Washington D.C.-resident U.S. Army General Timothy Sapia-Bosch, Banco de Ponce Vice-President Salvatore (a.k.a. Salvador) Sapia-Bosch, and little sister Esther Armstrong Sapia, plus her lifelong friends Rosa Serralles, Ada Valdivieso, Joaquin Villafañe, and the Cortada, Covas, and Vendrell families among others, and so Francesca, who had become locally known as Francisca and then as "Paquita", was able to raise and bring her children up (William, Edmee, Norma and Jorge Antonio) comfortably amid the difficult and perilous World War II years.
Indeed, Paquita was very glad to have her youngest daughter Norma marry Manolin, despite him being a divorcee. Elder daughter Edmee had previously married Jaime Vicens, a very successful businessman and brother of well-known sports figure and idol Pachin Vicens, and of Enrique "Coco" Vicens, well-known doctor and ex-Senator of Puerto Rico. Son William, to his credit, was well respected locally for having been Puerto Rico's top swimmer at one point, having been able in his twenties to swim from one island to another without tiring. He married the beautiful Mercedes Frau, a charming lady from one of Puerto Rico's most prestigious families at the time. Finally, Jorge the youngest of the four, graduated from College after serving in the US Army in Washington, D.C., subsequently marrying sweetheart Mercedes Clavell Arias, then positioning himself as Upjohn Pharmaceutical's European General Manager.
From Manolin's marriage to Norma Mercedes were born, in this order, Manuel Antonio (a.k.a., Monty, deceased 1986), Fernando Rafael, Elizabeth-Ann and Lee-Ann (twins, the latter who died as an infant while still in the hospital), Lila Mercedes and Angel Eduardo.
Manolin co-founded and was President of the Asociacion de Urologos de Puerto Rico in 1957.
Dr. Manuel F. Alsina Capo loved his social, political and sports life and throughout his existence dedicated himself to serving and promoting everything from boxing, track and field, swimming, baseball, basketball, Sports Clubs and national and international sports competitions...also as an avid Republican and personal friend of Luis Alberto Ferre Aguayo, Manolin, along with Nelson Escalona and Ferre Aguayo, founded the New Progressive Party in 1967, once again a statehood-oriented political party which in less than a year won the general elections and put its Party President Luis A. Ferré in the governor's seat for the next four years.
Manolin also served as President of the Ponce, Puerto Rico, City Hall Assembly, for four years, while maintaining his medical profession. Some of his house guests included George H. W. Bush.
Upon wife Norma's death from liver cancer in 1987, Manolin became very distraught and despite intense counseling from many of his loyal friends to dissuade him eventually married Mildred Freyre Gonzalez, a very wealthy woman of whom few of Manolin's friends and acquaintances approved.
Manolin's final years were spent in a nursing home where few people could visit him, eventually dying on February 9, 2008, two days before his next birthday.