Obituary for Irving Lugo-Santiago (1955-2021) – Greensboro, NC

Lugo-Santiago, MD, Irving A.

May 19, 1955 – June 12, 2021

Our beloved husband, Father and Abuelo, Irving A Lugo-Santiago, passed peacefully into the arms of his Heavenly Father on Saturday June 12th. Irving believed that God loved him radically, and that he loved him too. As a believing Mother of God of Perpetual Help since he was six years old, he and his grandmother Sofia assisted in weekly novenas. Irving was born on May 19, 1955 in the historic and picturesque town of San German, Puerto Rico. He was the son of the late Olga Esther Santiago Torres and Inocencio Lugo Cordero. Irving graduated from the Colegio San Jose in San German and received his pre-medical degree from the Recinto Universitario de Mayaguez, University of Puerto Rico, where he was on the TriBeta Honor Society and Dean’s List. In 1980 he received his doctorate in medicine from the School of Medicine at the University of Puerto Rico. In 1984 he completed his specialist training at VA Hospital in San Juan, Puerto Rico, as a specialist in psychiatry. Among his many accomplishments, he was a Diplomat on the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, Certified by the American Society of Addiction Medicine, Certified in Addiction Psychiatry, and Board Certified in Adolescent Psychiatry. He worked as a staff psychiatrist at the Mayaguez Community Mental Health Center and the Veteran’s Administration Ambulance in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.

Irving met Lizette at VA Hospital in San Juan when he was finishing his third year of medical school and Lizette was doing a diet internship. They got married on May 23, 1981. They have two children, Rocío del Carmen and Evan Miguel. In 1987 the family moved from Puerto Rico to High Point and later to Greensboro, North Carolina.

Irving was a psychiatrist and chief medical officer of the High Point Mental Health Center. He was also an Associate Psychiatrist and Medical Director at Guilford County Mental Health Center, Associate Psychiatrist at Moses Cone Behavioral Health Center, Medical Director of the Intensive Care Program for Chemical Addiction Intensive Care, University Psychiatrist at North Carolina A&T State University and the University of North Carolina in Greensboro. In response to a desire to share his knowledge in the field of psychiatry, he accepted the position as clinical professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he advised and supervised many of the PhD students. During his career as a psychiatrist, he was Medical Director of the Greenpoint Chemical Dependency Center in High Point, Medical Director of LINKS Substance Abuse Adolescent Services in Greensboro, and Associate Medical Director of the Drug Action Council in High Point, NC. He also ran a private practice in Greensboro for several years.

On September 15, 2017, the employees of Moses Cone Behavioral Health inaugurated their farm in his honor and named it The Lugo’s Landing.

Irving wouldn’t start the day without his coffee and morning prayers. They were his fuel for overcoming the daily challenges. He had a great passion for his career and earned the respect of colleagues and patients alike. Irving’s calling was to go to work every day as a psychiatrist. He referred to his patients as his people. Everyone who saw him had a special place in his heart, especially those who were drug abused and homeless.

Irving was a good friend to many. He was unique. He has made such a positive impact on the lives of many people that he will always be remembered for his kindness and true compassion. Everyone who knew Irving was aware of his love for Latin American music and dance. He and his wife Lizette will be remembered for dancing the night away at every party, fundraiser, and gala. They danced everything from shag to salsa and merengue until the band played their last piece.

Irving fought his illness like a warrior with peace and pride. Sticking to his diagnosis in 2012, he saw his grandson William Logan grow up and met his cute granddaughter Lucía Belén. William and Lucía will know about their Abu’s legacy when they are old enough to understand. We have such great admiration and respect for how he fought the disease. Irving was loved and missed greatly by family and friends.

In addition to his parents, Irving was preceded in his death by his grandparents Sofia Torres, Domingo Santiago, Ramon Lugo and Luisa Cordero. Irving leaves behind his 40-year-old loving and devoted wife, Dr. Lizette Sanchez-Lugo, his son Evan Miguel Lugo, his daughter Rocío del Carmen Lugo-Bonsall, his son-in-law Ben Bonsall, his grandsons William Logan Bonsall and Lucía Belén Bonsall, his sister Dr. Ivelisse Lugo (Dr. Cesar Costa), his brother Edwin Lugo, his mother-in-law Luz Rosario, sister-in-law Marie Sanchez (Luis Gervitz), Lilliam Sanchez, Ricardo Martinez, brother-in-law Jose Sanchez, and his beloved nieces and nephews, Mrs. Nadia Costa-Lugo , Dr. Karla Costa-Lugo, Dr. Sofia Costa-Lugo, Mr. Joel Lugo, Dr. Edrick Lugo, Mr. Anthony Lugo, Ms. Camila Martinez, Ms. Claudia Martinez, Mr. Ricardo Martinez and Ms. Mariette Gervitz.

To Ivelisse and Cesar, thank you very much for your frequent visits to Greensboro and for indulging Irving with his favorite Puerto Rican antojitos.

Thank you to Eric and Karen Kaplan for your friendship and continued support. For family adventures such as dancing to Latin American music. To Eric for his countless visits with Irving, walking him, reading to him and having good conversations. You were a great companion and the most loyal friends.

The family thanks the St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus, of which Irving was an active member. Our thanks go to the medical community of the cancer center, especially Dr. Mohamed, Dr. Vaslow and Dr. Manning, Nurse Dianne Bell, and everyone at the Cone Health Cancer Center for their care during his treatment.

The family would like to thank the Authora Care team, particularly nurse Susan Collins, chaplain Hillary Irusta, social worker Molly Lyle, and CNAs Shenne and Pam, for their role and support during this difficult time.

To all of our friends, family, colleagues and colleagues who have stood by our side over the years. Your support, cards, texts, phone calls, rosary groups, prayer groups, and meals were blessings. Many Thanks.

A memorial service followed by a tour will be held on June 27, 2021 at 3:00 p.m. at Hanes-Lineberry North Elm Chapel, 515 North Elm Street, Greensboro, North Carolina. Funeral Mass will be held on June 28, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Paul The Apostle Catholic Church, 2715 Horse Pen Creek, Greensboro, North Carolina. Irving’s remains are buried in San German, Puerto Rico.

Instead of flowers, commemorative donations on behalf of Irving Lugo can be made to the pantry of St. Paul’s Catholic Church, the St. Vincent de Paul Society of Greensboro, the Barnabas Network in Greensboro, the Mental Health Association Health of Greensboro, the Sanctuary House , Room at the Inn, or a charity of your choice.

Published by Greensboro News & Record on June 20, 2021.

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