Jorge Rene Sarmiento Espejo

jorge sarmiento espejo
Jorge Rene Sarmiento Espejo was born August 12, 1912, in Tacna, Peru (the southernmost city of Peru), under siege, at the time, by Chile. He was the 5th of 9 children born to Arturo Sarmiento Ara and Victoria Espejo Liendo, both of Tacna, Peru. Early recollections of his childhood were raids made by the Chileans on the homes of the Peruvians. His father, a loyal Peruvian, would display the Peruvian flag, which led to their home being stoned and the family's life being threatened. When he was 6, the family left the Tacna-Peru/Arica-Chile area, under threat of death to move to Arequipa, Peru, north of Tacna. The captain of the ship that took them had intentions of letting the family die at sea. His father found this out and held a gun to his head making sure the trip was safely completed. The family remained in Arequipa for one year until they received help to move to Barranco, a suburb of Lima, where the government had built homes to house families who had been forced out of Tacna. His father, wanting his children to be well-educated, enrolled the boys in the Methodist school in Lima, where they learned English from an early age. Three years later, his father found a job in Huancayo, in the mountains of Peru. There Jorge attended the Instituto Andino, which was run by American Methodist missionaries in Peru. The family moved to Huacho, north of Lima, 3 ½ years later, leaving Jorge in Lima to study at the Colegio Guadalupe, from where he had received a scholarship, including room and board, and from where he graduated with a high school degree. Having been groomed by his parents to become a doctor from a young age, Jorge applied to and was accepted to the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos to study medicine. After his two years of pre-medicine, Jorge moved to Quito, Cuenca and then Guayaquil, Ecuador, to finish his medical studies. His move to Ecuador was the result of political strikes in Lima which caused the University to be closed for many years. Jorge returned to Lima to get his degree, because one professor would not graduate Peruvians, because he did not like them. He was the top student of his class the five years that he studied in Ecuador. Because of agreements between Ecuador and Peru, he was able to take exams, present his thesis and graduate in Peru at the Universidad Nacional de San Marcos. He received his medical degree in 1941. His interest in working with patients of Tuberculosis happened because there was an opening working with a service for tuberculosis at the Hospital Dos de Mayo. Later he was hired by the Hospital Obrero (Worker's Hospital) where he specialized in tuberculosis and chest diseases, having also served as Chief of Public Health. Concurrently he worked as chief of the mobile health unit that went to schools to check on possible tuberculosis patients. It was on one of these visits to the Colegio America, a Methodist school, that he met Viola Geraldine Johnson of Carpenter, South Dakota, a Methodist missionary in Peru. They married January 1, 1945, and had four children, Jorge Louis, Alicia, Mary Ann and Patricia Mae. Jorge and Jerry shared 55 years, Jerry having passed away in the year 2000. It was after her passing, that Jorge moved to the United States and lived with daughter, Mary Ann, and her family. Jorge's work always was centered on helping the people of his country, Peru, whom he felt had given him so much. His affiliation with the government hospitals, and his dedication to his work with tuberculosis, opened opportunities for training sponsored by the U.S. government. Shortly after getting married, he traveled to the U.S. to receive training and to observe methods of working with tuberculosis patients. When he returned to Lima, he was put in charge of the tuberculosis section of the Centro de Medicina Preventiva del Rimac (Preventive Medicine Health Center). In 1953, the U.S. government was looking for doctors to be trained in public health. Jorge was recommended and granted a scholarship to attend Johns Hopkins University, where he attained his degree in public health. He minored in radiology while attending there. He was named Chief of the Centro de Medicina Preventiva del Rimac. In 1959, the U.S. government again paid to send him to different cities in Central America and the U.S. to observe the operation of Public Health centers. A year later he chose to give up this job when the government of Peru decided that doctors could only hold one government job at a time. He chose and stayed at the Hospital Obrero, where he felt he had the best opportunity to help his people. Jorge was a man of strong family values. His long hours working to help those in need, left few hours to spend with his family during the week, but he did what he could to make the remaining hours and weekends special and valuable. He instilled the value of education in his children. Of honesty. Of loyalty. Of sportsmanship. Of respect. He sacrificed to join clubs that would give his family the opportunities to create wholesome lifestyles. He joined the protestant church so that his children would know the strength and importance of unity in faith. He put his family and their needs before anything else in life. He was a loving and caring son, brother, husband, father, in-law and grandfather.

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Memories Timeline


  1. Dear Sarmiento children and grandchildren, Your parents/grandparents were a blessing to so many. We shared many years together in Peru. Several of you went to Scripture Union camps with us and we watched Patsy grow up. Several years I (Marty) directed the Union Church choir and, of course, Gerry was the organist. Your dad helped us on many occasions when a friend either had TB or some chest problem. We loved them both and thank God for long lives for each of them. It is good to know that they are now together with the Lord. We look forward to the Memorial Service in Peru in June. God bless you all and give you the peace and hope in eternal life that they had. With love, Paul and Marty

  2. My condolences for the Sarmiento family …may your memories be a source of comfort. Such a great man wil truly be missed here on Earth.

  3. To: Licia Marshall and family I am honored and privileged to have met your grandfather Jorge. His story is truly amazing and although at the time I did not know the extent of his hardships and triumphs he was an impressive gentleman and I know that you loved him very much. My condolences to you and your family, may he rest in peace. -Christina Villa

  4. To Gwen and her family, My deepest sympathies. May you all treasure the wonderful moments that you were able to share with your loved one as his legacy lives on with each of you. Fondly, Alma

  5. Dear Family, after reading the obituary for Jorge I was touched by his life. I am a member of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest and part of the Affirmation Outreach Team. If I may share something from Gods word: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. There is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day. 2 Timothy 4:7-8 Jorge truly fought the fight and finished the race. May God grant him the crown he deserves. God Bless you all.

  6. A mi querido Hermano Jorge, de tu hermana Gladys ,tu engreida, por todos los recuerdos,por la vida, por la familia, por tu cario, por tu amor, por cuidarme siempre, y asustarme con tus esqueletos debajo de la escalera, cuando aun era estudiante de medicina. Descansa en paz hermanito, ya pronto te alcanzaremos. Gladys.

  7. Dear Rosemary, Our hearts and prayers go out to you and your family at this time. Thank you for sharing Jorge’s biography with so many wonderful details that we never knew. We remember your dad as the quiet gentleman who adored and accompanied your mom to church every Sunday. They are together now, resting in the Lord. It will be an honor to play the organ for Jorge’s memorial service in Lima on June 22. Sending you and your family our sympathy and love,

  8. What a remarkable life your father had – so many accomplishments and contributions on all fronts. I’ll share this with Mother who will feel as I did that we are proud to have known your father and all the family. Dr. Sarmiento let no obstable keep him from doing what he felt called to do and did so with grace and quiet courage. We will miss him, but are grateful to have had time with him. Love, Anne

  9. Reading your father’s obituary and seeing the photos brought back a lot of wonderful memories of good times in Peru. He, as well as your mother, touched many lives and will never be forgotten. Our deepest sympathies to you, your family, and George, Alicia and Patsy and their respective families.

  10. What an amazing and remarkable man! We are privileged that we were able to meet him. We know what good care you gave him and are sorry for your loss.

  11. Thank you for sending us this lovely and complete biography. Though we never met Jorge we have heard so much about him that is reinforced beautifully by the obituary. Sincerely Ed and Roxanne

  12. Your father’s life-story was fascinating. Blessings to you all; I know He is watching over all of you, and Jorge, too.

  13. Dear Mary Ann and family: It is with great sadness we heard of your dear father’s passing. Our hearfelt condolences to all the Sarmiento’s and their spouses. We remember your dad and mom with special affection, admiration and love. Thoughts of them bring back warm and special memeories of the years at the Union Church, your home and Lima. May he rest in peace in the knowledge that he and your mom leave behind loving and caring children with the same values they so much cherished. A hug to each of you. Frank & Paulie

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