Charles Ray Bigelow, M.D., 82, drew his final breath on August 4th, 2019, at his home in Cornville, AZ.
Born on February 16, 1937, in Oak Grove, Louisiana, Charles was a 1954 graduate of Forest High School and a 1958 graduate of Northeast Louisiana University, earning his B.S. in pre-med. In 1964, he received his M.D. from Tulane University in New Orleans. In 1958, he married Sharron Haynes, and they had three children: Cynthia, Paige, and Jason.
After serving eight years in the U.S. Army as a medical officer, he completed his residency at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas, and moved his family to Flagstaff in 1972 where—despite record snowfall of 200” that year—he trudged through, embraced the adventure, and began his private practice which eventually expanded to include a second office in Sedona.
As a child, he traded his bike for a one-eyed horse and enjoyed spending time with his cousins or exploring by himself. That joy of solitude continued into his adult life, where he spent his final years along the banks of Oak Creek in the house he loved to call home that he shared with his wife of 19 years, Janet Miller, and their beloved dog, Gracie.
He treasured friendships old and new, and found great joy in discovering his ancestral roots and connecting with long-lost and newly-found relatives. He was a master at researching any new item he wished to purchase, rivaling Consumer Reports in his thoroughness and creating a masterful filing system only he could understand.
His wicked sense of humor lives on in his password binder, a true testimony to his online experiences with various companies, which undoubtedly provoked resignation notices from tortured customer service representatives: “LostCause,” “Idiots,” “NeverAgain,” “RoyalPain,” “BigTurds,” and “MegaJerks.” Those who knew Charles best will say that his laugh-cackle will go down as one of the highlights of knowing him. That laughter will be deeply missed.
Charles was proudest of his children and of his career as an obstetrician and gynecologist, a profession he chose because he cared deeply about protecting women’s health and helping them expand their own families, should they choose. He was humbled when he would run into someone who had a story about how he had either helped them, a family member, or a friend. Those stories continued to find their way to him even in his retirement.
In his final advice to his children, he told them, “When challenging situations arise in life, learn from it and move on. Don’t get stuck there. Keep moving forward and don’t let challenges hold you back.”
Husband of Janet, father of Cynthia Haynes, Paige Campbell, and Jason Bigelow, father-in-law of David duChemin, Ian Campbell, and Kristin Bigelow, grandfather of Derek and Nicholas Campbell and Nathan and Dane Bigelow, brother of Emily (Bob) Pritchard, and cousin of Earlene Vining, Charles is remembered as the man who loved science, genealogy, helping people, his cars, good wine, cargo shorts, living among the Cottonwoods, and, most of all, his family.
A memorial celebrating his life will be held at 2:00 p.m. on the 17th of August, 2019, at Norvel Owens Mortuary at 914 E. Route 66 in Flagstaff, Ariz. Private burial will follow at a later date at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas. In lieu of flowers, Charles wishes are that memorial donations go to Tulane University School of Medicine. (medicine.tulane.edu)