Lugo-Santiago, MD, Irving A.
May 19, 1955 - June 12, 2021
Our beloved husband, father, and abuelo, Irving A Lugo-Santiago transitioned peacefully into the arms of his heavenly Father on Saturday, June 12th. Irving believed that God loved him radically and he loved Him back. As a devout of Our Lady of Perpetual Help since the age of six, he assisted to weekly novenas with his grandmother Sofia. Irving was born on May 19th, 1955 in the historic and picturesque city of San German, Puerto Rico. He was the son of the late Olga Esther Santiago Torres and Inocencio Lugo Cordero. Irving was a graduate of the Colegio San Jose in San German and went to receive his pre-med degree from the Recinto Universitario de Mayaguez, University of Puerto Rico, where he was in the TriBeta Honor Society, as well as the Dean's List. In 1980, he obtained his Doctor of Medicine degree from the School of Medicine at the University of Puerto Rico. He completed his residency in the VA Hospital in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1984, specializing in Psychiatry. Among his many accomplishments, he was a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Certified by the American Society of Addiction Medicine, Certified in Addiction Psychiatry, and Board Certified in Adolescent Psychiatry. He worked as a Staff Psychiatrist at the Mayaguez Community Mental Health Center and at the Veteran's Administration Outpatient Clinic in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.
Irving met Lizette at the VA Hospital in San Juan while he was on his third year of medical school and Lizette was doing a dietetic internship. They got married on May 23rd, 1981. They have two children, Rocío del Carmen and Evan Miguel. In 1987, the family moved from Puerto Rico, initially to High Point, and later to Greensboro, North Carolina.
Irving was a Staff Psychiatrist and the Chief of Physician Services at the High Point Mental Health Center. He was also a Staff Psychiatrist and the Medical Director at the Guilford County Mental Health Center, a Staff Psychiatrist at the Moses Cone Behavioral Health Center, the Medical Director of the Chemical Dependency Intensive Outpatient Program, the University Psychiatrist at North Carolina A&T State University and at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Following his desire for sharing his knowledge in the field of psychiatry, he accepted the position as a Clinical Professor at the Department of Psychology at The University of North Carolina at Greensboro where he advised and mentored many of the doctoral students. As part of his career as a psychiatrist he was the Medical Director of Greenpoint Chemical Dependency Center in High Point, the Medical Director of LINKS Substance Abuse Adolescent Services in Greensboro, and the Assistant Medical Director of the Drug Action Council in High Point, NC. For several years, he also held a private practice in Greensboro.
On September 15th, 2017, the staff at Moses Cone Behavioral Health dedicated their courtyard in his honor, naming it The Lugo's Landing.
Irving would not start the day without his coffee and morning prayers. They were his fuel for handling the daily challenges. He had a great passion for his career, earning the respect of colleagues and patients alike. For Irving, going to work every day as a psychiatrist was his calling. He referred to his patients as his people. There was a special place in his heart for all that saw him, but especially those who suffered from substance abuse and those who were homeless.
Irving was a great friend to many. He was one of a kind. He impacted the lives of many in such a positive way that he will always be remembered for his kindness and true compassion. Anyone who knew Irving was aware of his love for Latin music and dancing. He and his wife Lizette will be remembered for always dancing the night away at every party, fundraiser and gala. They would dance anything from shag, to salsa and merengue until the band played their last piece.
Irving fought his illness like a warrior with peace and pride. He persevered from his diagnosis in 2012 and saw his grandson William Logan grow and met his sweet granddaughter, Lucía Belén. William and Lucía will know about their Abu's legacy when they are old enough to understand. We have such tremendous admiration and respect for how he had battled the disease. Irving was loved dearly by family and friends and will be greatly missed.
In addition to his parents, Irving was preceded in death by his grandparents, Sofia Torres, Domingo Santiago, Ramon Lugo and Luisa Cordero. Irving is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 40 years, Dr. Lizette Sanchez-Lugo, by his son, Evan Miguel Lugo, his daughter Rocío del Carmen Lugo-Bonsall, his son in law Ben Bonsall, his grandchildren William Logan Bonsall and Lucía Belén Bonsall, his sister Dr. Ivelisse Lugo (Dr. Cesar Costa), his brother Edwin Lugo, his mother-in-law, Luz Rosario, sisters-in-law Marie Sanchez (Luis Gervitz), Lilliam Sanchez, Ricardo Martinez, brother-in-law Jose Sanchez, and by his beloved nieces and nephews, Mrs. Nadia Costa-Lugo, Dr. Karla Costa-Lugo, Dr. Sofia Costa-Lugo, Mr. Joel Lugo, Dr. Edrick Lugo, Mr. Anthony Lugo, Ms. Camila Martinez, Ms. Claudia Martinez, Mr. Ricardo Martinez and Ms. Mariette Gervitz.
To Ivelisse and Cesar, thank you for your frequent visits to Greensboro, and for spoiling Irving with his favorite Puerto Rican "antojitos."
To Eric and Karen Kaplan, thank you for your friendship and constant support. For wanting to share family adventures, like learning to dance to Latin music. To Eric, for his countless visits with Irving walking, reading to him and providing good conversation. You were a great companion and the truest of friends.
The family would like to express their gratitude to the community of St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church, and to the Knights of Columbus, of which Irving was an active member. Our appreciation to the medical community at the Cancer Center, especially, Dr. Mohamed, Dr.Vaslow, and Dr. Manning, nurse Dianne Bell and to all the staff at the Cancer Center at Cone Health for their care during his treatment.
The family wishes to acknowledge the team at Authora Care, especially Nurse Susan Collins, Chaplain Hillary Irusta, Social Worker Molly Lyle and CNAs Shenne and Pam, for their role and support during this difficult time.
To all our friends, family, coworkers, and colleagues that have been by our side throughout the years. Your support, cards, texts, phone calls, rosary groups, prayer groups and meals have been blessings. Thank you.
A Memorial service followed by visitation will be held on June 27, 2021 at 3:00 pm at Hanes-Lineberry North Elm Chapel, 515 North Elm Street, Greensboro, North Carolina. Funeral Mass will be held on June 28, 2021 at 11:00 am at St. Paul The Apostle Catholic Church, 2715 Horse Pen Creek, Greensboro, North Carolina. The burial of Irving's remains will occur in San German, Puerto Rico.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in the name of Irving Lugo to St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church's food pantry, to the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Greensboro, to The Barnabas Network in Greensboro, to The Mental Health Association of Greensboro, to the Sanctuary House, to Room at the Inn, or to the charity of your choice
Published by Greensboro News & Record on Jun. 20, 2021.