Dr. Lewis Arnow of Middletown, R.I. died in good spirit and humor on Thursday, May 7, 2020 after a long battle with cancer. He was thankful to serve the public and for the opportunity, experiences and memories that came along with his life’s responsibilities.
Dr. Arnow grew up in New Rochelle, New York and had an extremely happy childhood. He chose early on to be a pediatrician. As a youngster, he enjoyed many satisfactions, such as his outstanding friends of like interests in sports, math and science. They were earnest Boy Scouts for years. For a short while, Lewis believed he was the youngest Eagle Scout in his area. He was a national Westinghouse Science Contest mention.
A great satisfaction was his memory as a high school star baseball player, and by far the leading hitter. At 17, Lewis was hired as an assistant sports editor, for the New Rochelle Standard Star with his own by-line. He delivered copy on all local high school sports activities – – before arriving for his own morning classes. Still only 17, following graduation he played semi-professional baseball with seasoned older players on one of the strongest teams in the city,
Dr. Arnow won a scholarship to Harvard College (math and science). He was the top physics student with the highest grades in his class of over 100. His professor, (who won the Nobel Prize that year) recommended Dr. Arnow to Harvard Medical School, and several other New York City medical schools, where he was accepted at each with scholarship.
During college summers, Lew was athletic director at a boys summer camp on Lake Champlain, where he managed baseball activities. At the camps’ annual inter-camp father-son baseball game, Lew coached a young 6 year-old Durocher child, as well as his father, New York Giants legend, Leo Durocher, who joined the summer contest. Lew, as Camp manager- coach humbly assigned Leo to play second base in the contest.
From a family of modest income, mother, Sara and father, Henry Arnow worked in Manhattan. Lewis commuted with them daily to Columbia Physicians and Surgeons (P and S) Medical School to save on school expenses. As a freshman, his physiology professor told his class he was stymied by a research problem. After class, Lew suggested a physics solution that should work and did. To develop that idea, Lewis was awarded a research fellowship from the American Cyanamid Drug Company and the National Polio Foundation that year, and all the following years of his training. Lewis was given his own lab bench in the physiology department working alongside his mentor. During senior year medical studies, he worked an hour-a-day for a month at Columbia’s P and S with the creator of cardiac catherization, who won the Nobel in Physiology for his development.
Dr. Arnow accepted a pediatric internship at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, where he fell in love with a surgical nurse from Clontarf-Dublin, Ireland. She was “the most marvelous human being he had ever met.” Following his residency, Dr. Arnow proudly served in the U.S. Navy as a Lieutenant at the U.S. Naval Hospital, Newport Rhode Island. The couple were married at the Naval Base Chapel and celebrated their union at the Officers Club.
For forty years, Dr. Arnow served the Newport and Aquidneck Island Community in all aspects of pediatric community medicine. He was privileged to serve as a Newport Hospital Staff member: as Chief of the Pediatric Department, President of the Newport Hospital Medical Staff, and Ex-Officio Board Trustee Member. He served for many years as Chairman of the Newport Hospital Continuing Medical Education (CME) Committee, and also as Chairman of the Rhode Island State Medical Society, CME and Science Committee (- – comprised of all of Rhode Island’s hospital CME Directors). As Chair of this Committee, he participated with the State Health Department, lawyers and legislators working to relieve the serious malpractice insurance rates that had generated a trend of forced early physician retirements. With these changes, rates became appropriate in exchange for increased state licensure requirements. Dr. Arnow arranged monthly state medical lectures with visiting experts, and also created a monthly calendar of opportunities available at all Rhode Island hospitals to doctors from around the state. He assisted each hospital yearly to gain their American Medical Association (AMA) quality certification. Dr. Arnow served terms as a School Physician, Head Start Physician and President of the Newport County Mental Health Center; and President of the Newport County Medical Society. He also served as President of the Harvard Radcliffe Club of Rhode Island. He was most proud that his sons both followed in his foot-steps and also attended his college alma mater.
An innovator by nature, in 1969 Dr. Arnow created and patented a multi-element electric toy and track. For several years in the 1970s and 80s, Dr. and Mrs. Arnow also ran a popular English riding instruction school, The Valley View Stables at his Howland Farm.
A personal interest of Dr. Arnow’s was cricket – – a sport from which baseball developed two centuries ago. Every weekend, April- September at his Farm, he hosts Middletown’s St. Columba’s Cricket Club. Before each match, he mowed (on his 1931 John Deere tractor) the 4 acre pitch for the home team- – a member of the strong All Massachusetts Cricket League. The motto of the club is “good friendship and sportsmanship.” After each match, the home team, (composed of members from around the world, and now American citizens) hosts a barbeque for the visitors and their families.
Dr. Arnow was predeceased by his beloved wife Rita Christine O’Shea Arnow in 2002. He is survived by his devoted fiancé Brenda Leah Connors of Middletown R.I., and Truro, MA; two sons Cornelius Arnow of Dusseldorf, Germany; Joseph Arnow of Croton-on-the-Hudson, New York; and three very precious grandchildren Liam, Enya and Lochlan.
Services will be private.
Arrangements are by the O’Neill-Hayes Funeral Home, to share memories and messages of support with Dr. Arnow’s family please visit www.oneillhayes.com.