Deceased March 16, 2018
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Martin L. Feingold M.D. died peacefully in hospice two days after his 81st birthday. Although he had suffered from a relatively mild form of Alzheimer’s and had recently had a stroke, the night before he died he had good telephone conversations with four of his six grandchildren, according to Judith, his wife of 58 years.
Marty came to Amherst from Brooklyn, N.Y. A pre-med student, Marty majored in biology, pledged Chi Phi and sang in the glee club. His freshman roommate, Harvey Hecht ’58, another future M.D. who became his lifelong friend, shared Marty’s love of music. Throughout their years at Amherst, they bought season tickets and attended the concerts at Smith College together.
A talented singer who especially loved the opera, Marty at one time contemplated becoming a professional musician, but in the end, medicine won out. He got his M.D. at the University of Rochester Medical School in 1962 and interned (with Harvey) at Montefiori Hospital in the Bronx. After his residency, he served two years in the Uniformed Corps of the Public Health Service at Baltimore including two months of sea duty in the Atlantic.
Meanwhile, Marty had married Judith Rose, his high school sweetheart, the week after she graduated in 1959 from the University of Connecticut with a degree in English. While Marty was pursuing his M.D. degree, Judy obtained her M.S. from the University of Rochester with a minor in speech therapy. She taught high school English until their children were born and then resumed after they got older.
Marty began his 40 years of private practice in internal medicine and gastroenterology in White Plains, N.Y. He loved the practice of medicine and caring for his patients but over the years became increasingly annoyed “at the interference of the HMOs, the insurance companies and, last but not least, the government.” He wrote in our reunion classbooks that it is “a shame that the ideals Amherst taught us, to strive for excellence and to reason and think independently, are being subverted to mediocrity and the financial interest of insurance companies, their executives and their stockholders.” He growled that his daughter Ilysse, who had her doctoral degree in psychology and was married to a radiologist, and his son Steven, an EMR physician who was married to a psychology professor, might have difficulty making a living in this era of managed health care.
After Marty retired at age 75 in 2008, he and Judith enjoyed several wonderful years together traveling extensively and enjoying their shared activities and hobbies. Especially noteworthy were trips to Amsterdam along with a Rhine River cruise and to Southeast Asia, including Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam.
An expert and avid photographer, Marty took numerous photographs on their travels, as well as on their frequent visits to the botanical gardens in New York, focusing on Judith’s favorite orchids. Their home was decorated with Marty’s photographs which many visitors assumed were the work of a professional photographer. Marty and Judith also took advantage of their proximity to the city to indulge their love of the arts, frequently attending the opera, ballet and shows. In 2014 they moved from Scarsdale into a smaller, one-level home in White Plains.
Marty’s psychologist daughter Ilysse noticed some cognitive slippage in her Dad about three years ago, and Marty was diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer’s. As the disease progressed, Marty and Judith cut back on their travel but still engaged in their activities as much as possible. The last year was difficult, especially after the stroke, and eventually Marty had to be placed in an assisted care facility. However, he still enjoyed family visits and phone calls, listening to operas from his extensive music library and to Judy or the children reading the newspaper to him. “To the end, Martin, though impaired, was still Martin,” Judith said.
In addition to his wife, Judith, Marty was survived by his daughter Ilysse, his son Steven and their respective spouses, as well as six grandchildren, Ilysse's twins, who are in their first year of college, and Steven’s two sets of twins, one set in college and one in high school.
Ned Megargee ’58