Dr. Arthur Howard Ackerman, MD, 82, of Princeton, passed away on June 20, 2020 at his home. He was born in New York City on November 4, 1937, to Boris and Laura Ackerman. Arthur moved to Brooklyn as a young boy, where he developed his unapologetic character and love of family.
In Brooklyn, Arthur attended P.S. 225 and Lincoln High School, where he was an active contributor to the school newspaper, the Lincoln Log. He frequently recounted stories from his singularly American childhood – following the campaigns of World War II; sometimes engaging in truancy to watch Jackie Robinson play for the Brooklyn Dodgers or to attend a concert at Carnegie Hall, indulging his life-long love of classical music; spending summers at Ten Mile River Scout Camps, where he developed an abiding passion for outdoor pursuits and sharing them with others; and fishing with his father. Arthur was proud to be the son of a hardworking immigrant who, along with Arthur’s uncles, built a thriving restaurant business and achieved the American Dream through constant labor, education, and a bit of good luck.
For Arthur, the most fortunate moment of his life also occurred in Brooklyn, where during his adolescence, he met his beloved wife of 60 years, Carol, who survives him. Together, they built a life emblematic of the Jet Age in which they reached adulthood. Carol and Arthur shared a passion for travel, other cultures, and adventure, reaching six continents as a couple, plus a visit to Antarctica for Arthur. They loved the sea, maintaining homes and developing close friendships in Truro, Massachusetts and Antigua, West Indies.
In Princeton, where they have lived since 1968, Carol and Arthur are known for their lively sense of fun – perhaps best captured through their Halloween costume parties, where they and their friends came dressed as famous historical figures. Friends and family will remember Arthur’s delight in telling a long-form joke and the twinkle in his eye on the frequent occasions when he engaged in mischief.
Arthur attended college at New York University and, not surprisingly given his varied intellectual interests, majored in history. He went on to Yale Medical School, where he graduated in 1963. Arthur completed a residency in anesthesiology at Yale under his mentor and friend, Dr. Nicholas M. Greene, MD – who has been described as a founding father of modern anesthesiology.
When the Navy called Arthur to serve, he did so honorably with the First Marine Division in Da Nang, Vietnam, providing anesthesia to Marines injured in battle during 1967 and 1968. While in Vietnam, Arthur was exposed to Agent Orange, which ultimately precipitated his final battle with prostate cancer – a fight through which Carol constantly was at his side.
Arthur used his medical training for good throughout his life, beginning with his service to our country. He returned from Vietnam to practice anesthesia for nearly 40 years at Princeton Hospital, where he made lasting friendships that enriched his life. After his retirement, he remained curious and energetic. Arthur taught anesthesia in Tanzania and Rwanda. He provided anesthesia for operations to correct pediatric heart defects in Ukraine, Belarus, Libya, and Kyrgyzstan.
Arthur loved his family deeply, and his passing leaves for them both a void and many warm memories. In addition to Carol, he is survived by his daughter, Nancy (Rick), his son, Peter (Elizabeth), and his grandchildren, Alexander, Oliver, Henry, William, and Lucy. He is also survived by his two sisters, Ellen and Joan, brother- and sister-in-law, Ron and Roberta, and numerous nieces and nephews. Arthur will be buried at sea by the U.S. Navy.