ARRIGG FAMILY MATRIARCH
Emily George Arrigg of Hampton, New Hampshire, died at age 92 years old on May 18, 2021, surrounded by her loving family. The beloved daughter of the late From George and Haseeba (Kannan) George, she was born in Lawrence on May 30, 1928 and lived most of her life in the Merrimack Valley. Adored by all, she was the proud matriarch of the Arrigg family and an esteemed member of our community. After marrying the late Dr. Fred G. Arrigg, Sr. in 1948, the two enjoyed 67 years together in cherished matrimony. Always known as “Sitho”-- the Arabic word for grandmother-- or ‘Ma” as she was also lovingly called-- she now joins her loving husband “Gido” in heaven. All her family and friends above are welcoming her with open arms and big smiles.
Emily received her education at Johnson High School in North Andover and Garland/Simmons University in Boston. After marriage, she dedicated herself to raising a family committed to the values of love, education, generosity, and kindness to others. Always in motion and never still, she was famous for her incandescent warmth, generosity and an ability to see the best in everyone. She had a magical way about her with her joyous and vivacious spirit. People she met were always moved by her boundless energy, grace, radiance, love of people and her pride in her culture and family.
She and her husband shared a storybook marriage. Her proudest achievement was that they successfully raised three children to become caring and accomplished individuals. From the time they were young, she instilled in her children the priceless value of education. Her three children graduated from Tufts University School of Medicine and joined their father in practice as part of Arrigg Eye and Ear Associates. Together, the four physicians—Dr. Fred Arrigg, Sr., Dr. Claudia Arrigg, Dr. Fred Arrigg, Jr. and Dr. Paul Arrigg ---have cared for and served thousands of patients in the Merrimack Valley since 1950. Everyone knew Sitho was the reason why this happened. She was the rock and foundation of the family. She regularly joked that she too was an MD—“Mother of Doctors”.
Sitho was legendary for her special gift of being able to connect with any child. When her own children were growing up, she served as a den mother in Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. She joined other parents in helping to lead countless school trips. Her commitment to education also led her and her husband to be active philanthropists, hosting numerous scholarships for needy students attending high school, college and medical school. Their generosity enhanced the education of countless students at Tufts University School of Medicine, Simmons University, Lebanese American University, Northern Essex Community College, Presentation of Mary High School, Central Catholic High School, Essex Agricultural School, Notre Dame High School, St. Joseph’s Church, St. Augustine’s School, St. Ann’s Home as well as many other churches and civic groups.
When her children grew up and started families of their own, Sitho regularly provided joyous babysitting and wonderfully happy times to the grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. She showered them all with unconditional love, always putting their needs ahead of her own. She would cheer them on at countless school gatherings, concerts, sports game and graduations. Sitho adored time at the beach house where she would cook delicious meals and later sit and watch the grandchildren play in the pool. And when someone in the family was ill, she was always the first to bring food and help nurse them back to health. She adored her sisters, “the Aunts” and included them in everything she did. The grandchildren have a flood of memories about all the sleepovers and fun times sponsored by Sitho and the Aunts.
For Sitho, food was love. Fascinated by the worlds of nutrition and health, she regularly savored her favorite cooking shows, created new recipes and proudly unveiled her tasty meals and delicious desserts upgraded with the healthiest of ingredients. Everyone departing her house always left with ample food to take home with them. For all these reasons, the scholarships she and her husband funded for students at Tufts University School of Nutrition ranked as the most special to her.
Sitho’s specialty was making holiday gatherings unforgettable. Always the star, but never the center of attention, she relished the holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter ---it was her time to cook for everyone, make a wide variety of foods and make everyone feel loved. Her home was always decorated to holiday perfection, exuding the warmth that enveloped anyone stepping into the house. She delighted in hosting festivities, sharing food and being together. After the holiday feasts, Sitho would joyously host her original and creative children’s games and always made sure that each child felt like a winner.
Sitho often so movingly said, “when I go up there, I will be knocking on the door to come back down because I love everyone so much.” She will be so very missed by her entire family and friends. She will forever be cherished as the foundation of our lives and an endless ray of sunshine, joy, and love.
She is survived by her children, Dr. Claudia Arrigg and husband Dr. Howard Koh, Dr. Fred Arrigg, Jr. and wife Laura, and Dr. Paul Arrigg; her sister, Arlene Cox; sister-in-law, Yvonne Mallen; and brothers-in-law, George and Ronald Arrigg. She had nine loving grandchildren: Steven Koh, Daniel Koh and wife Amy Sennett, Katherine Koh and husband Zirui Song, Allison Arrigg and husband Robert Sawtelle, Thomas Arrigg and wife Kathryn, David Arrigg and wife Courtney, Christopher Arrigg, Paula Arrigg and Michael Arrigg. She also leaves her five great-grandchildren: Caroline, Olivia, Theodora, Melanie, and Eleanor; as well as several nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by her brother, Theodore and sisters, Theodora, Rita, and Eleanor.
Contributions may be made to St. Augustine’s School in Andover or St. Ann’s Home in Methuen.
At the request of the family, all services will be private.