“The eye is like a camera,” was the ophthalmologist’s favorite expression.
Aaron Wigdor, an eye doctor with a practice in Stony Brook who lived in Port Jefferson since the 1960s, died in April at 82. He was among those who led the charge for Port Jefferson Village to purchase Harbor Hills Country Club from the late 1960s through the ’70s, an asset the municipality still owns today, and was the first men’s tennis singles champion at the club. He is survived by his son Douglas; daughter Caren Skutch; daughter-in-law Catherine; son-in-law, William; and four grandchildren, Jacob, Simon, Julia and Carly.
Wigdor was born and raised in Bayonne, New Jersey. He attended Princeton University as an undergraduate and went on to medical school at New York University. He served in the United States Army Medical Corps in Texas at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. He was also President Lyndon Johnson’s on-call ophthalmologist for a time.
“The eye is like a camera.”
— Aaron Wigdor
In 1968, he and his late wife Ellen moved from Texas to Port Jefferson, where the couple remained until relocating to Florida in 2016, reluctantly, according to his son.
“He really did love Port Jefferson,” his son said.
Both of his parents played a part in organizing the senior prom at Earl L. Vandermeulen High School, which was a long-standing tradition in Port Jeff, for parents of the senior class to help pick a secret theme unveiled only on prom night and organize the over-the-top event.
Wigdor had many close friends in Port Jefferson, and as a young man enjoyed spending time out from of Darling’s Stationery, where many from the community would gather in what probably would resemble a social media chat group today.
“You would never know he was a gossip,” his daughter said. “After my mother passed away, he got very sad. As a couple, they had a lot of friends in Port Jefferson. They were always going out. They were really pillars in the community.”
Skutch described her father’s sense of humor and intellect as “acerbic,” a trait she said she loved. She said he enjoyed reading the dictionary as a hobby, and it was a favorite response of his to instruct his kids to “go read the dictionary” when they complained of being bored.
“They were always going out. They were really pillars in the community.”
— Caren Skutch
“He was just an all-around good dad,” she said, adding that as a grandfather Wigdor taught her kids how to swim and play ball.
Wigdor’s son said he hoped people who knew him would remember how caring and dedicated he was as a doctor at his practice on Nesconset Highway, which he established in 1969.
“In this day and age when people go to see their doctor and are rushed in and out, I know that my father and his practice spent time with patients in caring for them and I believe his patients really respected that,” he said.
Longtime Port Jeff residents Anita and Arthur Spencer, who knew the Wigdors, traveled to Puerto Rico and Atlantic City among other destinations regularly together.
Anita Spencer called Wigdor a very sociable guy who had many friends and talked to many people during his days in Port Jeff.
“He was very friendly,” she said. Anita Spencer said the two couples avidly followed the Kentucky Derby and the other triple-crown horse races, though Wigdor was also a huge fan of the New York Knicks. “He had loads of friends. He was very concerned about what was going on in the village, being part of the village.”