Frank Harrigan, Jr., MD
1917 - 2013 MANCHESTER Frank E. Harrigan Jr., MD, 96, aviator, outdoorsman and physician to the Manchester and surrounding communities for over 40 years, passed away in his sleep on May 8, 2013.
He was born in Lewiston, Maine, on April 13, 1917, and grew up in West Hartford, Conn. He was a graduate of the University of Vermont, achieving both a BS and MD degrees; the latter in 1942. He was a member of UVM's first ski team, training to race on Mt. Mansfield long before there were lifts. While at UVM, he obtained his private pilot's license, beginning an avocation that lasted the rest of his life.
He was an intern at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C., from 1942-1943, prior to overseas combat duty as a medical officer in the 5th AAF in the SW Pacific through the end of World War II, and was briefly stationed in Japan following the end of conflict. He resigned his commission in 1947 with the rank of Major, to pursue a career as a civilian physician.
He moved to Manchester in 1948, establishing a private medical practice, which he continued for the next 40 years. He enthusiastically embraced the challenges of rural medicine, attending to home births by kerosene lantern, and performing an emergency tracheotomy on a kitchen table, to name just two. He quietly gained the reputation from his peers as one of the best diagnosticians in Northern New England.
During the 1950's and into the 1970's, he was the principal provider of care for ski injuries from, Bromley and Snow Valley. He was also a FAA certified Aviation Medical Examiner, and helped found the Regional Medical Examiner system for the State of Vermont, in which he served throughout most of his career. He was an active staff member of the Putnam Memorial Hospital in Bennington from 1948 to 1982, and an honorary member after that. At the time of his passing, he was the oldest licensed physician in the State of Vermont.
His interest in aviation continued to grow as he earned his glider pilot's rating in the 1970's, and he served as medical officer for the Vermont Wing of the Civil Air Patrol for over 20 years, at the rank of Lt. Colonel. He also was a longtime member of the Equinox Flying Club and often idled an afternoon cruising up the Manchester, Dorset and Pawlet Valleys in the Club's 1940's vintage J-3 Piper Cub.
He was an avid outdoorsman, and has hiked extensively, afoot and on snowshoes throughout the East Mountain, Equinox, the Manchester and Dorset Valleys; fished the Battenkill, the many small streams in the Valley, and the beaver ponds on East Mountain. He snowshoed for rabbits in French Hollow when French Hollow was thought to be the end of the world. October was his fondest time to be outdoors, nominally hunting for deer with a bow and arrow, or for the fall game birds, but really to be a part of the forest, and to taste an apple from each tree that he came across.
A tireless advocate that the historic character of Manchester Village should be cherished and preserved, he was an active participant in local government, serving on the Village Planning Commission and the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
His wife, Maybelle Major, predeceased him by 12 years; they met as classmates in the sixth grade.
He is survived by his four sons, Roy M. Harrigan of the Southern Vermont area, Robert G. "Bud" Harrigan of Coral Gables, Fla., F. Edward Harrigan, III, of Lake Arrowhead, Calif., and Douglas, G. Harrigan of Salem, N.H.; by one grandson, Augie Harrigan, and by two great-grandsons, Ethan and Oliver Harrigan, of Milford, Conn.
FUNERAL NOTICE: Graveside funeral services will be held Friday, May 24, 2013, at 2 p.m. at Dellwood Cemetery in Manchester. There are no visiting hours.
For those who wish, gifts in his memory may be made to either the Manchester Rescue Squad or the Equinox Flying Club, c/o BREWSTER & SHEA FUNERAL SERVICE, P.O. Box 885, Manchester Center, VT 05255.
To send the family personal email condolences, please visit www.sheafuneralhomes.com.
The family has entrusted arrangements to the care of Brewster & Shea Funeral Service 34 Park Place Manchester Center, Vermont.
Brewster Funeral and Cremation Services
34 Park Place Manchester, VT 05255
Published in The Manchester Journal from May 17 to June 7, 2013