Vol. 33, No. 2     Fall 2010
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Melvin Morgan Figley, M.D.

Melvin Morgan Figley, M.D.
Photo courtesy of the UW
Department of Radiology

Melvin Morgan Figley, M.D., 89, of Grantham, N.H., died peacefully at home on June 7, 2010. Melvin was born in 1920 in Toledo, Ohio, to Karl Dean Figley, M.D., and Margaret Patterson Morgan Figley. He attended DeVilbiss High School in Toledo and Dartmouth College in 1938. Three years later, he was admitted to Harvard Medical School, where he graduated magna cum laude. 

Melvin joined the U.S. Army and was in the Specialized Training Corps, the Medical Corps and the Army School of Roentgenology from 1943 to 1948, achieving the rank of captain. He did a medical internship and an assistant residency at University Hospitals of Cleveland, Ohio, 1944–1946, and a residency in radiology at University Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1948–1951. He married his wife of 61 years, Margaret Jane (Peggy) Harris, in 1946.  

Leaving his appointment as an associate professor of radiology at the University of Michigan in 1958, Mel was appointed professor and chair of UW Medicine’s Department of Radiology, where he served until 1985. He retired as an emeritus professor of radiology and medicine 1986. His hospital appointments and academic honors are manifold and include membership in Phi Beta Kappa, the receipt of the John Harvard Fellowship, a Markle Scholarship, a gold medal from the Association of University Radiologists, membership as an honorary fellow in the Royal College of Radiologists, and membership in the Royal Australasian College of Radiologists and the Royal Society of Medicine. Other recognition includes the Distinguished Service Award, given by the American Roentgen Ray Society and a gold medal from the American College of Radiology. Melvin served on numerous editorial boards, including Investigative Radiology and the Western Journal of Medicine, and he was editor emeritus of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

Melvin’s distinguished career is best highlighted by his work in developing cardiac catheterization, and he is known as one of the fathers of modern angiography. He was also a particularly expert pulmonary radiologist and a gifted teacher. Melvin’s published manuscripts and medical lectures related to diagnostic radiology number in the hundreds.

Mel was one of nature’s gentlemen. A quiet man, he was courteous, kind, gentle and considerate of others. He gave great attention and thoroughness to any task. He was devoted to his family and loved by his friends. An artistic man, Melvin was an expert photographer and landscape gardener as well as a keen fisherman and traveler.

His wife, Peggy, died in 2007, and he is survived by his sister, Harriet, of Florida, his three children: Karl, of Hillsborough, N.H., Joseph “Jeff” and his wife, Susan, of Grantham, N.H., and Mark and his wife, Barbara, of Littleton, Colo. He is also survived by four granddaughters: Jessica of Charlotte, N.C., Morgan of Santa Barbara, Calif., Alexandra of Boulder, Colo., and Tessa of Charlotte, N.C.

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