Dr. Amir Rafii

March 1, 1929May 12, 2013

Perhaps they are not stars in the sky, but rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy. - By Anonymous

Amir Rafii died peacefully at home with his family on Sunday, May 12, 2013. He was born on March 1, 1929 in Hamedan, Iran, the 1st of five children. He lived in Hamedan until the age of 18, when he moved to Tehran to attend university. He graduated with a degree in Medicine from the University of Tehran in 1954. Dr. Rafii emigrated to the United States in 1956 to complete his medical residency at DC General Hospital (affiliated with George Washington University Hospital) in Washington, DC. By the end of his three-year residency, he had been appointed chief resident. Dr. Rafii then joined the staff of Sibley Memorial Hospital, serving as an anesthesiologist. It was here that he met his wife, Polly Young, a registered dietician, whom he married June 28, 1960.

Dr. Rafii became a U.S. citizen in 1964 then moved to Richmond, Virginia, where he became a tenured professor at the Medical College of Virginia (MCV). He became a member of the Richmond Academy of Medicine (1964), was a founding member of the International Association for the Study of Pain (1975), and founded the Pain Management Center at MCV (1980). He served on the VA Board of Accupuncture for several years until retirement. During his career, he was also a visiting professor in China and Brazil. He retired as an emeritus professor from MCV in 1997, then spent two years directing the pain fellowship program at the University of Arizona in Phoenix. Following this, he and his wife spent six years in both San Diego and Los Angeles before settling in the Heritage Hunt community in Gainesville, VA in 2005. He enjoyed golf and skiing with his children, reading and studying including quantum physics, and was a member of Congregation Beth Emeth in Herndon, VA.

Dr. Rafii is survived by his wife, three sons, Cyrus (Susan) of Boulder, CO, Alexander (Shaheen) of Springfield, VA, and Darius (Heather), also of Springfield, and six grandchildren (Azalee, Spencer, Noah, Tarik, Leah & Jake). Dr. Rafii's friends and family will gather Tuesday, May 14, from 10:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at National Funeral Home, 7482 Lee Highway, Falls Church, Virginia. We will then proceed together to King David Memorial Gardens for a funeral service at 10;30 a.m. to be held at the graveside. Reception will follow at Polly Rafii's home: 6630 Everbreeze Lane, Gainesville, VA at 1 pm.


  • Gathering at Funeral Home Tuesday, May 14, 2013
  • Graveside Service Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Dr. Amir Rafii

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Carolyn Hair Handel

April 11, 2014

April 10,2014, I just learned of Amir's passing in recent UNCG publication and express my condolences. I remember you both fondly from our WC+ DC years. Carolyn Hair (Handel)

Haleh Beroukhim

June 18, 2013

Dear Polly, Cyrus, Alex, and Dar, my condolences to you all. He will be missed. I just wanted to let you know the memorial service in Los Angeles was so nice to see all the people that were there and the memories that they had with Amir joon. He truly was an extraordinary human being. My love to you all.

Farshad Rakhsha and family

May 27, 2013

Dear Polly, Cyrus, Alex, Dar, and family
I do have wonderful memories of Uncle Amir when I made a surprise visit to you in February '79, shortly after I had left Iran. I still cherish the Webster Dictionary which I received from you and Uncle Amir as a present. It is still being used by my kids.
I have heard great stories about Uncle Amir from my mother and hold them dear.
May his memory be a blessing for all his loved ones.

Mahin Rafii Rakhsha

May 24, 2013

Dear Polly, Cyrus, Alex, Dar and family,

I am quite saddened to hear my brothers' passing. I still have great memories of him, from the time when he was too young and yet he always knew he wanted to be a Physician.

We were and still are very proud of him and happy that he managed to fulfill his dream.

I very much enjoyed spending time with you and Amir, celebrating your 50th wedding anniversary almost three years ago. Looking at the posted photos, they took me back to those days and walks by the water. The memories off that full month will always stay with me. Amir and I enjoyed talking about days gone by, our lives in Hamadan and how we all eventually ended up in the new world.

I am very proud of him and thankful for having such a responsible brother.

May he rest in peace.

Mahin Rafii Rakhsha

Farhad Rakhsha

May 23, 2013

Dear Aunt Polly, Cyrus, Alex, Dar, and family.

I am sorry for your loss and my deepest sympathies during this difficult time.

I very much remember my trip to visit uncle Amir, for the first time, in 1975 in Richmond and subsequent holidays in Winter Green. I knew he had left Iran just around my birth and it was exiting to see the uncle I had heard so much from. Although Cyrus, Alex and Dar were perhaps too small to remember, I still have a vivid memory of the green hills of Winter Green and skateboarding with Alex.

May he rest in Peace.


Farhad Rakhsha

Mahnaz Rakhsha Wilcox

May 23, 2013

Dear Aunt Polly, Cousin Cyrus, Alex and Dar, Uncle Amir, was a wonderful human being, son, husband father and uncle. He will always be alive and cherished in our collective memory. Love you all

Deborah Essner

May 22, 2013

Dear Aunt Polly, Cyrus, Alex, Dar, and family:

My deepest sympathies during this difficult time of loss and mourning.

I remember my trip to visit you all in Richmond before I started college. It was a special time for Mike and me both. Uncle Amir was always kind and generous to us.

Please know that I think of you all often.

Warmly, Deb Rafii Essner and family

May 15, 2013

Dear Polly, Cyrus, Darius and Alexander,
Please accept our deepest condolences for the passing of our dear cousin Amir. He was the first amongst our family to emigrate to the US in pursuit of his dreams. He was an inspiration to us all, and his legacy lives on through his family.
Sincerely, Fereidoon, Sima, David, Andrew and Daniel Rafii.

Katty & David Soomekh

May 14, 2013

Paulie, Cyrus, Alex & Dar

Please accept our most heartfelt condolences. Your father was a good man with a kind soul. We are sorry for your loss and I know that his soul lives in all of you. Baruch Dayan Emet.

Katty & David Soomekh