Arthur Rettig

May 3, 1942August 2, 2022
Obituary of Arthur Rettig
Arthur RETTIG, age 80, of Rockford, Illinois passed away on Tuesday, August 2, 2022. Arthur was born May 3, 1942. We mourn the loss of Arthur Rettig, husband to Kathryn; father to Rebecca and Max; grandfather to Ari, Emmy, Meyer, and Toby; son, brother, brother-in-law, cousin, and uncle; friend, surgeon, teacher, and community leader. In his 80-plus years, from Brooklyn to Korea to Chicago to Rockford, Arthur left an indelible mark on the world, providing care, hope, and life itself to countless children in need of medical and surgical care, and devoting himself to his family, his friends, and his Jewish community. Arthur was born and raised at 1640 Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn, NY, by his parents, Elsie and Sidney, and alongside his little sister, Roberta. He revered his parents and the upbringing they provided him in their small apartment, with plenty of neighborhood friends to join in a stickball game and get into mischief. He loved his sister dearly even though as a boy he once forgot to pick her up from the dentist. He attended Columbia College and then Columbia Medical School, only a borough away from home. After completing medical school and serving as a medical officer in Korea during the Vietnam War, he went on a blind date with Kathryn and they fell in love. Their wedding was fifty years ago, in July 1972. Together, they built a home, a life, and a family, first in Chicago (where cows fly) and then in Rockford (which they adopted as their home, a long way from the big cities they were used to). As a father, he was caring and devoted (dance classes, track meets, morning swim practice, late nights at the theater, tennis tournaments, and more), with a dad joke always at the ready. As a husband, no one could have asked for a better partner in life. He and Kathy shared not only a deep love and respect for one another, but a passion for their respective careers. Going out to dinner with Arthur was like dining with a celebrity. The parents of children on whom he had operated would come up to him with stories of how he had given their children life. Being a doctor and serving his community was truly his calling, one that he answered at all times of day and night. He devoted himself to serving Temple Beth-El, helping create a vibrant and sustainable Jewish community. In his retirement, he loved keeping busy, teaching and mentoring the next generation of physicians at the University of Illinois College of Medicine Rockford. In lieu of flowers or food, contributions in Arthur’s memory may be made to two institutions that were important to him: The University of Illinois College of Medicine, where we are establishing a scholarship fund to support medical students in Rockford. Donations can be made online here or mailed to The University of Illinois College of Medicine Rockford, c/o Miranda Swanson, 1601 Parkview Ave, Rockford, IL 61107. Please note the Dr. Arthur Rettig Memorial Scholarship in the memo line of a check or in the penultimate line in the online form. Temple Beth-El, which has been such an important part of the Rettig Family’s life. Checks can be made out and sent to Temple Beth-El, 1203 Comanche Dr. Rockford, Illinois 61107. Please note the Benjamin Schaider Building Fund in the memo line. Arthur leaves behind a community that loved him. We wish everyone who loved Arthur comfort. May his memory be a blessing.

Show your support


  • Max Rettig
  • Adam Waldman
  • Alan Zenoff
  • Murry Engel
  • Michael Dieterle
  • Alexandre Ngamije

Past Services

Thursday, August 04, 2022

Graveside Service