SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

December 13, 2012

Arthur J. Kavanagh Jr., MD


Salem — Arthur J. Kavanagh, Jr., MD, age 84, loving husband for 62 years of Theresa (Murphy) Kavanagh, a longtime resident of Salem, died at home on Saturday, December 8, 2012, surrounded by his family. He was an Obstetrician and Gynecologic Surgeon, born in Peabody, MA, on October 19, 1928, the son of the late Arthur and Margaret (Gallagher) Kavanagh Sr. He grew up in Salem and following his graduation from St. John’s Prep, Class of 1945, he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Boston College in 1949. Dr. Kavanagh received his Masters in Science in Bacteriology at the University of Massachusetts followed by a Masters of Public Health in Health Education from the Harvard School of Public Health. He then went to the Boston University Medical School, graduating in 1957.

He joined the United States Navy, interned at Chelsea Naval Hospital and served two years at the Public Health Service in Norfolk, VA. He completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Kavanagh had practiced as an OB/GYN physician at Salem Hospital, J.B Thomas Hospital (Peabody), Lynn Hospital and the Mary A. Alley Hospital in Marblehead. Dr. Kavanagh was a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and was a clinical instructor at Tufts University School of Medicine.

Dr. Kavanagh had a lifelong curiosity about general health, constantly researching cause and effect. His publications included, “A Scuba Syndrome,” in 1963 which examined respiratory illness among members of the United States Navy swimming and dive team. It was determined the illness was caused by inhalation of the pseudomonas species of bacteria from contaminated air hoses. The study led to the prevention of the illness and changes in USN regulations on the care of scuba gear. Another article addressed the presence of talc in operating room gloves, co-authored with Keith Griffin, head of the Tenovus Cancer Institute, Cardiff, Wales and William J. Henderson, Senior Electron Microscopist at the same institute. A detailed report was made to the FDA which ultimately led to the prevention of the use of talc, a contaminant, in surgical gloves in 1972.

Along with his career, he was equally devoted to his wife and their family and encouraging their best. He took great pride in their accomplishments. An avid golfer and member of Salem Country Club for many years, he had enjoyed extensive travel to pursue golf. He was also a member of the Pelican Sound Golf and River Club in Estero, FL.

In addition to his wife, Dr. Kavanagh is survived by five children, Ellen and her husband Douglas Mitten of Norwalk, CT, Timothy Kavanagh, Esq. of Salem, Anne Kavanagh and her partner Yvette Milavec of New York City, NY, Matthew Kavanagh, Esq. and his wife Kari of Beverly and Daniel Kavanagh of Salem; nine grandchildren, Emilie Mitten of Boston, Andrew Mitten, of Boston, Tadhg Kavanagh, Brigit Kavanagh, Rory Kavanagh and Nora Kavanagh, of Georgetown, Kristen Kavanagh, Alison Kavanagh and Chloe Kavanagh of Beverly. He was predeceased by a brother Edmund Kavanagh and a sister Dorothy Kavanagh.

ARRANGEMENTS: His funeral will be held on Saturday, December 15, 2012, at 9:15 AM, from the Murphy Funeral Home, 85 Federal St. (corner of North Street), Salem, to be followed by a funeral Mass at 10 AM in St. James Church, 156 Federal St., Salem. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend. Visiting hours will be on Friday from 4 to 8 PM in the Murphy Funeral Home. Interment will be in St. Mary’s Cemetery, Salem. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Hospice of the North Shore and Greater Boston, 75 Sylvan St., Suite B-102 Danvers, MA 01923 or to the North Shore Medical Center Development Office, 81 Highland Ave, Salem, MA 01970. For online guest book or additional information please call the Murphy Funeral Home, 978-744-0497or visit www.MurphyFuneralHome.com.