Dr. Joseph S. Stygar

Dr. Joseph Stygar


Dr. Joseph Stanislaus Stygar was a beloved doctor in Derby from the moment he arrived in 1934 until his untimely death in 1962. The people of the city thought so much of him that they named the senior housing project on Hawthorne Avenue Stygar Terrace in his memory.

He conducted his practice on Main Street. Dr. Stygar was born January 1, 1903 in Willimantic, the son of Stanley and Catherine Stygar. He attended St. Joseph's parochial school in Willimantic from which he was graduated in 1922; Willimantic high school, from which he was graduated in 1926 ; and Fordham University, New York, in 1929 with a degree of bachelor of science in medicine. He received his degree of doctor of medicine from St. Louis University School of Medicine in 1933.

Dr. Stygar served an internship from 1933 to 1934 at St. Francis Hospital, Hartford. He opened an office for the practice of his profession in the Howard & Barber building in Derby, August 1, 1934, and in a little more than a year built a thriving practice. He lived on Atwater Avenue. Dr. Stygar was active in civic groups such as the Falcon Club, the Polish National Alliance and the St. Aloysius T. A. & B. Society. He was also a member of the Derby Lodge of Elks, the Knights of Columbus and St. Michael's Catholic War Veterans.

He served as the city's health officer from 1939 until his death with the exception of his service in the U.S. Navy during World War II as a lieutenant commander. He was an active member of the medical staff at Griffin Hospital.

He was a humble and dedicated man. At the time of his death, the Evening Sentinel noted that, "Dr. Stygar was so dedicated to his profession and his patients that he often treated people in his office into the early morning hours, then made house calls or went to the hospital to check on patients. On many occasions he slept in a chair at the hospital to be near his patients at critical times."

He never hesitated to respond to emergencies, and on one snowy night an emergency vehicle had to rescue him as he tried to walk from the center of hUntington to downtown Shelton to reach a patient who needed help.

In 1952, he received special recognition for an incident near the Commodore Hull Bridge when he crawled into a sand loading machine in sub-freezing weather to amputate a man's leg to free him from being trapped and dying in the machine.

He died on July 4, 1962 and many people thought that he had literally worked himself to death in serving others.


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