Dr. Hugh Peter Rafferty, age 90, of Milwaukee, formerly of Kenosha and Hartford, died October 27, 2019 following a brief illness. He was closely preceded in death by his wife of nearly 64 years, Mary Doyle Rafferty, who passed away October 12. While losing Hugh and Mary barely two weeks apart has been difficult, family members are comforted by the thought of them reunited, playing Scrabble while watching British dramas, Andy Griffith reruns and, of course, sports.
A Kenosha native, Hugh was born February 4, 1929 to Frank and Helen (O'Hare) Rafferty. He was a graduate of St. James Catholic School, Kenosha, and St. Catherine's High School, Racine. He attended St. Norbert College and received his medical degree from Marquette University. He was united in marriage to Mary Doyle on December 10, 1955 in La Crosse.
Following military service as a U.S. Navy physician in Japan and Okinawa, Hugh completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Providence Hospital, Detroit, and began a practice in Kenosha in 1961. After practicing alone for 12 years, he was joined by Dr. Ray Witt and then Dr. Steve Azuma.
Hugh delivered well over 5,000 babies during his career. Asked often about the experience of birthing so many babies, he would say that the last delivery was just as thrilling to him as the first.
Hugh was a past member of the county and state medical societies and the Milwaukee Gynecological Society and a fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. In Kenosha, he was a past president of the county medical society, past president of the medical staff at St. Catherine's Hospital, and past president of the Kenosha Marquette Club. He was a member of St. Mark Catholic Church for more than 30 years.
In what he termed his mini-retirement, Hugh moved to Washington County and assisted for a time in the obstetrics and gynecology department of Hartford-Parkview Clinic, now Aurora. He and Mary relished the pace of small-town life and the regular sightings of deer and other wildlife at close range near their home in Hartford. The couple moved to a retirement community in Milwaukee in 2015.
In retirement Hugh indulged his enthusiasm for golf and pursued a lifelong interest in history. Trips to Ireland heightened his appreciation of his Irish Catholic heritage, and he amassed an extensive library of Irish music, literature and film. He took special satisfaction in a volunteer role as a reading tutor for young students.
Hugh’s kindness, gentle spirit and dry wit were appreciated by his family, friends, patients, colleagues and all who met him. Whether you were a restaurant server, store clerk, dental hygienist or car technician, Hugh was likely to ask where you went to high school and how your team was doing. He genuinely hoped your team was doing well.
Along with his wife, Mary, Hugh was preceded in death by his parents; sisters Helen (Emil) Olson, Ruth (Buzzy) Snyder, Amy Chiappetta and Rosemary Rafferty; and brothers William (Audrey), J. Patrick, Owen and Thomas Rafferty. Hugh is survived by a son, Hugh Patrick (Tina) Rafferty, Kenosha; and daughters Brigid Rafferty, Chicago; Ellen (Bob) Renick, Franklin; Elizabeth Rafferty, Milwaukee; and Sheila (Paul) Beck, Wauwatosa. Hugh is also survived by his grandchildren Joe (Yvonne), Andy (Danielle) and John Renick; Christopher and Erin Mary Hughes; Madeline and Owen Rafferty; Ian and Lauren Beck; and great-grandchildren Penelope, Ainsley and Cole Renick. Hugh is further survived by his little sister, Rita (the late Fred) Bistrick and sister-in-law Audrey Rafferty, both of Kenosha, and many nieces and nephews.
Hugh’s family is grateful for the kindness and care of Dr. Abiy Gesese, Dr. Soryal Soryal, and RNs Jen and Heather of Aurora West Allis Memorial Hospital ICU.
Visitation will be held from 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. on Friday, November 1, 2019, at Proko Funeral Home. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 2, 2019, at St. Mark Catholic Church, Kenosha. Please meet directly at church. Interment will be held privately in St. James Cemetery, Kenosha.
Memorial donations, if desired, could go to the Jesuit Partnership (jesuitpartners.org) or the St. Ben’s Community Meal Program, a Capuchin ministry (capuchincommunityservices.org).
Proko Funeral Home & Crematory
5111-60th Street (262) 654-3533
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