Brawley Arikawa, 97 of London, passed away peacefully at home on Friday, January 21, 2022. Dr. Arikawa was born January 6, 1925, the son of Moriji and Noki (Kuwahara) Arikawa. He was a doctor with Madison County Hospital (now Madison Health) from its inception. He delivered his first baby there on September 23, 1962, and his last delivery was on December 8, 1989. He served as hospital Chief of Staff in 1978-79. He was medical advisor to the Central Ohio Japanese Association of Commerce. He enjoyed playing tennis and later in life was an avid golfer and member at the London Country Club. He also enjoyed traveling, spending time with his grandchildren and playing card games with family and friends.
Brawley is survived by his wife, Chieko; children: Eileen Arikawa (London), Ken Brawley Arikawa (Orange County, CA), and Juliann (Phil) Ferguson (Columbus); grandchildren: Philip (Amber) Ferguson (Columbus) and Lia Ferguson (Columbus); nieces and nephews (Southern California) and many friends.
The family would like to thank the physicians, nurses and staff at Madison Health and Loving Care Hospice for their kindness and care.
The family invites friends to visit at the First Presbyterian Church, 211 Garfield Ave, London, OH, on Friday, January 28, 2022, from 4pm-6pm.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in Brawley’s memory to the Madison Health Breast Cancer Endowment Fund, London, or to the Alzheimer’s Association Central Ohio Chapter, 1379 Dublin Road, Columbus OH 43215.
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the Lynch Family Funeral Home. Online condolences may be sent to www.lynchfamilyfuneralhome.com.
Those attending the visitation at the church are respectfully asked to wear a mask while in attendance and practice social distance standards as much as possible.
I was born in a small town in Imperial Valley, CA on January 6, 1925. My father apparently could not think of any names and gave me my first name Brawley which is the name of the town where I was born. It is one of the hottest places in California. My father’s name is Moriji and my mother’s is Noki Arikawa. Her maiden name is Kuwahara. He first immigrated to Mexico to work in the mines, but the conditions were so bad that he and a few others “escaped” Mexico and migrated to California around 1910.
My parents got married in 1920 and had 3 children. I had 2 older sisters, Kumi and Emiko but both of them are deceased now. My father farmed and my mother worked as a hired hand at the surrounding farm fields. Only a few vague memories I have in my early childhood are living in a yellow house and tagging along with my mother to the field to harvest carrots in the early morning and eating carrots baked in an open fire for breakfast.
We moved to Guadalupe when I was 5. I vaguely remember going to kindergarten a half year before my parents took all of us back to Japan. I spent my youth in Japan while my parents continued to farm. In Japan, that was tradition. If you go to the local grade school and high school, you stayed to be a farmer or fisherman. In hopes of a better life, I went to the high school in Kagoshima City, 100 miles away from home. After 4 years in high school, I tried to take a college entrance exam, but the school refused to let me because I had only American citizenship. After a time, I was able to enter and finish college. I took the entrance examination for medical school and passed but stayed home for 3 years helping dad since there was not much food around in the big city at that time. I finally attended and graduated from the medical school at Kyushu University in Fukuoka Prefecture.
I finished one year of internship at the Red Cross Hospital in Osaka while I was in my last year of medical school. After graduation, I returned to the States. I took a one-year internship in California and one year of general residency in Richmond, Va. Then I started Obstetrics-Gynecology training at White Memorial Hospital in Detroit and continued at Mt. Carmel Hospital in Columbus from 1956 to 1959. While I was preparing for the state board examination, I worked at Orient State Institution for about 2 years.
London had no hospital at that time. All the Doctors from West Jefferson and London used Mt. Carmel Hospital and I was quite acquainted with them. We were informed that they were building a 65-bed hospital in London including an OB department. I joined Dr. Crouch in general practice in 1961. Incidentally, Dr. Starr became Dr. Bacon’s partner and Dr. Hay opened his own office the same year. In 1964, I opened my own office at N. Madison Rd. and began practicing strictly in the OB-GYN field. In 1974, five physicians, Drs. Grant, Hay, Locke, Jan and I formed a partnership and built Madison Medical Center at 214 Elm St. Some memorable things that happened during my practice. I delivered 4,871 babies at Madison County Hospital; including 50 sets of twins and one set of triplets, 2 girls and a boy.
Back to my private life. I got married to Chieko Uchida on April 21,1958. Before I came back to US, I knew her through her cousin who was the head nurse at the Red Cross Hospital in Osaka where I took my internship. She asked me to deliver a very delicate handmade Japanese doll to Chieko who lived in Fukuoka since Fukuoka was located between Osaka and Kagoshima where my parents lived. I was told Chieko’s father was a priest, but I was never told his temple was located on top of a high mountain with no roads and the only way up, to climb 300 plus stone steps to get there.
In the spring of 1958, I was to attend an OB-GYN conference in Los Angeles. I had a few extra days, so I decided to visit my parents before attending the conference. For some odd reason, I got off the train at Fukuoka to see if Chieko still worked there. Fukuoka is located in the northern part of Kyushu, and Kagoshima where my parents lived is at the south end. She was still there. We talked about many things and then it happened. The short stop became a visit for the next 12 days and I never arrived to the conference.
You know I retired when I reached 65. I used to enjoy delivering babies day and night, but it was time. I told Chieko, after my retirement, everybody was whispering behind me that I would be dead in 2 years. I really think golf prolonged my life. I have no regrets. I have three best children, Eileen, Ken, Juli and son-in-law Phil and 2 grandest grandchildren, Philip and Lia. I am blessed.
Brawley Arikawa, October 2019
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