Fred's Story

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HAMPTON, NH: Dr. Fred G. Arrigg, Sr., of Hampton, N.H., died peacefully surrounded by his loving family on March 15, 2016. He was the beloved husband of Emily George Arrigg, with whom he shared 67 years of loving marriage. Dr. Arrigg lived a highly accomplished and remarkably distinguished life, characterized by decades of dedicated service to patients, generous commitment to community, deep respect for learning and education, and steadfast and abiding love of family. Dr. Arrigg, the longest practicing physician in the region, enjoyed a national reputation as a brilliant physician and surgical pioneer in the restoration of hearing loss for thousands of patients. Dr. Arrigg was a man of dignity and integrity and an honor to his profession. Universally respected by his peers and beloved by his patients, he will be forever known as a true gentleman, devoted husband, father, grandfather, and proud member of his community.

Dr. Arrigg was born in Lawrence on October 25, 1922, the son of Lebanese immigrant parents, the late George Michael Arrigg and Kafa Hajjar Arrigg. He received his early education at the Tarbox Elementary School and graduated from Lawrence High School, Class of 1940 with great distinction. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1944. During college, his Harvard Army Reserve unit was called to active duty, and he completed basic training at Camp Grant, Illinois. Dr. Arrigg received his M.D. from Tufts University School of Medicine in 1947, followed by internship and residency at Boston City Hospital in Pediatrics and Ear, Nose, and Throat Diseases. He was a Diplomate of the American Board of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

In 1950, he opened his private practice at the Bay State Building on Essex Street in Lawrence. He was again called into service during the Korean War and attained the rank of Captain in the U.S. Army (1952–1954). While in the Army, he was stationed at Fort Knox, KY, where he was chief of the Eye, Ear, Nose, and Throat Department. He then served in the Ear, Nose, and Throat Department at Fort Devens before returning to his private practice.

For over 60 years, Dr. Arrigg was a physician of outstanding medical talents and a pioneer in the surgery of restorative hearing loss. He practiced medicine in the field of hearing loss, dizziness, and balance problems until the remarkable age of 89. He studied at medical centers in this country and around the world. Dr. Arrigg was among the first surgeons to perform the stapedectomy procedure, an operation that has restored the hearing of thousands of patients. He founded the Arrigg Eye and Ear Associates, a multi-specialty practice which he later shared with his three physician children, all of whom trained at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. Together, this family of doctors continues to provide a wide range of medical and surgical care to patients throughout New England.

Dr. Arrigg was referred to as the “Dean of Medicine” in the Merrimack Valley because of his great knowledge and deep service to many hospitals. He was active at Lawrence General Hospital and also at the Bon Secours Hospital (later known as the Holy Family Hospital [HFH]). He was also on the staff at Boston City Hospital, the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Amesbury Hospital, and Phillips Academy Isham Infirmary. Dr. Arrigg, the most senior member and longest serving member of the HFH medical staff, had been the only surviving physician present during the opening dedication ceremony of the Bon Secours Hospital in 1950. At HFH, he also served as Trustee, Chief of Staff, Chief of the Ear, Nose, and Throat Department, and as a member of the Executive Committee. He also served in leadership positions on countless hospital and medical staff committees.

In 2001, in recognition of his numerous accomplishments and achievements and decades of service, Dr. Arrigg was awarded the St. Luke's Award for Outstanding Achievement in Medicine “and to recognize those physicians who, during their lifetime, have shown special commitment to the highest clinical, educational, and ethical ideals of the healing profession.” At the time of the Award, HFH President William Lane described him as "the heart and soul of our medical community.” He also stated:

His medical brilliance, his compassionate caring for patients over many decades, his unshakable integrity, and his unselfish commitment to serving others inspire us all. Dr. Arrigg is universally revered and respected. He has been held in the highest regard by all for his competence, honesty, modesty, and compassion.

Dr. Arrigg often said that what makes a good doctor is “not only knowledge of your subject but more importantly, an ability to listen to the patient and to have compassion for the patient.”

Dr. Arrigg was also a tireless volunteer and generous benefactor supporting numerous educational, religious, and civic organizations. At the international level, he served as Trustee of Lebanese American University in Beirut, Lebanon. Nationally, he served on the Board of Trustees of Tufts University for 10 years as well as the Board of Trustees of HFH, Memorial Hall Library, and the Boards of Directors of the Greater Lawrence Y.M.C.A. and Northern Essex Community College. He was President of the Tufts University Medical Alumni Association and Chairman of The Tufts Millennium Club. He was also a member of the American Medical Association, American Academy of Otolaryngology, Massachusetts Medical Society, and New England Otolaryngological Society.

Dr. Arrigg was also known as a "philanthropist extraordinaire for charities in this community and academic institutions." Dr. and Mrs. Arrigg launched numerous scholarships for needy students attending high school, college, and medical school. Such scholarships were dedicated to students at Tufts Medical School, Lebanese American University, Presentation of Mary High School, Central Catholic High School, Northern Essex Community College, Essex Agricultural School, Notre Dame High School, St. Joseph’s Church, St. Ann’s Home and School, as well as to many churches and civic groups.

In recognition of his service to society, Dr. Arrigg received an honorary doctorate degree from Merrimack College (1968), the Distinguished Service Award of the Tufts University Alumni Association (1978), and the "Lebanese Citizen of the Year" from the United Lebanese Charitable Society (1988).

Importantly, Dr. Arrigg was universally respected for his inquisitive mind and constant search for knowledge and progress. Many lovingly referred to him as an Encyclopædia Britannica. He loved reading classic literature, spoke several languages including Arabic and French, and was fascinated by world affairs. He enjoyed coming into the office early each day, often before the staff arrived, to read and learn from journals, books, and newspapers. He had a passion for living and learning that complemented his signature modesty, warm smile, and dignified demeanor. Patients and peers always commented on his unparalleled intellect. He was a shining example of dedication to science, service, and family.

He and his devoted wife, Emily strongly believed that their most important achievement was raising a loving family with steadfast guidance and unconditional love. Dr. Arrigg married his beloved and beautiful wife Emily in 1948, and they shared a lifetime of total dedication and love for one another. Emily has been his lifelong inspiration and the rock of the family. Emily has given her husband complete support and love every day of their marriage. Together, they shared in creating the most loving and caring home setting for their three children, who all became physicians.

Dr. Arrigg was particularly proud to be a caring and adoring grandfather. Around the dinner table and at family gatherings, he treasured discussing with his grandchildren current events, history books, and nature documentaries. He brought his family on many trips to Europe, Asia, and Africa, always reading voraciously about the countries he was visiting. He enjoyed golf, tennis, racquetball, photography, walks at Hampton Beach, classical and contemporary music, and playing the organ.

Rarely has one individual captured such brilliance, service, warmth, humility, generosity, and compassion in a lifetime. His legacy will live on in his family and the community in which he made such a profound difference. His family will be forever grateful for the love they shared with him and the kindness he gave to others. His loving marriage to his caring wife was an extraordinary example for all. He will always be remembered as a true gentleman with a dignified presence that touched everyone he met. He has not left us, as he taught us how to live inspirational lives.

He will always be cherished and greatly missed by his family and friends. Besides his beloved wife, Emily, Dr. Arrigg is also survived by his daughter, Dr. Claudia A. Arrigg and her husband, Dr. Howard K. Koh, and two sons, Dr. Fred G. Arrigg, Jr. and his late wife, Laura, and Dr. Paul G. Arrigg, all of Andover. He had nine loving grandchildren, Steven, Daniel, and Katherine Koh; Allison, Thomas, and David Arrigg; and Christopher, Paula, and Michael Arrigg. Dr. Arrigg is the brother of the late Lillian Carlson and her late husband, Clair; Yvonne Mallen and her late husband, Dr. John K. Mallen; George Arrigg; and Ronald Arrigg and his wife, Ann Arrigg. He is also survived by his loving sisters-in-law, Eleanor George and Arlene Cox, as well as many wonderful nieces and nephews.

Relatives and friends were invited to his Funeral Mass offered on Saturday, March 19, 2016 at 1 p.m. at St. Augustine’s Church, 43 Essex Street, Andover. Private burial. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to either St. Augustine’s Church or School, 43 Essex Street, Andover, MA 01810; or St. Joseph’s Church or Scholarship Fund, 241 Hampshire Street, Lawrence, MA 01841. For directions or online condolences, please visit www.cataudellafh.com.
Published on  March 17, 2016
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