Elizabeth Gregory, M.D., a beloved pediatrician and longtime resident of Arlington passed away on Oct. 30 in Kennett Square, Penn. She was 95.
Dr. Gregory was born on April 7, 1917, in Bridgewater, the eldest child and only daughter of Gregory and May Kadjperooni, Armenian immigrants who fled the Turkish massacres in Van, Armenia.
She grew up in Bridgewater and Chelsea and graduated from Bates College in 1938 as the only female in her class to complete the pre-medical course of study. She received her medical degree from Boston University in 1942 and then became a pediatrician establishing an office in Arlington in 1945.
Dr. Gregory was a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatrics. She treated over 10,000 children in her 43 years of practice, and she played an influential role for some of her patients to pursue careers in medicine.
She was a member of the Harvard Medical School faculty and was a co-founder of the Armenian American Medical Association. She also served as advisor to the Armenian Health Alliance and as Coordinator for Medical Outreach after the 1988 Earthquake in Armenia.
Dr. Gregory supported many Armenian cultural and philanthropic causes. She was a founding member of the National Association of Armenian Studies and Research (NAASR), a member of the Boards of Directors of the Cambridge-Yerevan Sister City Association and the National Center for Genocide Studies. A passionate lover of music, she was a member of the Board of Directors of the Longy School of Music and the Friends of Armenian Culture Society, for which she co-produced a weekly radio show dedicated to Armenian music and culture on Boston’s WCRB-FM classical station from 1977-1992.
As a key member of the Armenian Music Committee in the 1940s, she helped raise the profile of Armenian-American composer Alan Hovhaness, one of the most prolific composers of the 20th Century, who remained a lifelong friend.
She also befriended many artists, including Boston expressionist Hyman Bloom and Greek mystic painter Hermon DiGiovanno, and collected their work. Much of her art collection was donated to Bates College, where she also served on the Board of Trustees.
The Arlington Board of Selectman and the Governor of Massachusetts proclaimed April 9, 1989, as Elizabeth A. Gregory Day in recognition of her 43 years of pediatric practice in the Greater Boston area.
She received the Arlington Chamber of Commerce Award in 1990 for service to the town and the Humanitarian Award from the Boston University School of Medicine in May 1992.
Dr. Gregory frequently stated, "My father was way ahead of his time. He felt that a girl should have the same education as a boy, and that all of us should go into service professions of some kind. As an immigrant, he had the idea that education was the most important thing you could have because no one could take it away from you."
She is survived by her brother, Robert Sissag Gregory and her nephew Robert Gregory, both of Montclair, N.J.; her two nieces, Betsy Gregory of London, England and Gail Brekelmans of Changchun, China; a grandniece, Nina Brekelmens, and two grandnephews, Thaddeus Gregory and Robert Brekelmans.
A memorial service will be held in the near future in remembrance of Dr. Gregory.