Arthur did not want to be know as Dr. Bleeden, so he changed the pronunciation of his last name.
Arthur Irving Blieden
Arthur was born on July 3, 1911 in Brooklyn, NY, and was the oldest child of Gussie Abramowitz and Harvey Blieden. As a young child, they moved around every few years.
In 1915, they live at 201 Stockton Street. In 1920, they had moved to 150 Thompkins Avenue. In 1930, they lived at 230 St. John’s Place. They only spoke Yiddish at home and Arthur learned English once started attending school.
Arthur – about 8 years old, circa 1919
In 1924, on a visit to the country, Arthur was climbing an apple tree when he fell out and broke his elbow. The first doctor did not set it properly so he spent much of the next year in and out of the hospital. He became so interested in medicine that he later chose it as his career.
Arthur attended Columbia University in NYC even though it was difficult for his family to afford it. After college he was accepted into medical school at the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio. To help pay tuition, he sang on the local radio station. For a while he debated between a career in music or one in medicine. Orthopedic surgery won out! His father’s cousin, Meyer Blumberg, also loaned him money for tuition.
Arthur Blieden in the 1935 U. of Cincinnati Yearbook
A story always told to me was that our last name was originally pronounced as “Bleeden”. However, Arthur did not want to be known as Dr. “Bleeden” so he changed the pronunciation to Bli(Long I)den. Hence we have been known as BlIeden ever since.
During the war years, Arthur finished his medical training and then became an orthopedic examiner for the draft. He was unable to enlist because of his deformed elbow.
Arthur married Lois Drosin and had 3 children. He met Lois in 1948 through a friend’s mother who told him to call Lois. Their first date was a dinner date and a ride on the Staten Island ferry. On another date, he had Lois meet him at his office. He called her into the examining room to show her what he had just done. He was proud of it. What he had done was amputated someone’s arm. When Lois saw that, she passed out. However, he made up for it when they became engaged. He brought her several diamonds and told her to pick out the one she liked best!
Gussie, Bernie, May, Lois, Arthur, and Mildred
Arthur as a young doctor
At first they lived in Gramercy Park, in NYC.
Later, they moved to Teaneck, NJ. The Teaneck house was across the street from the Teaneck Jewish Community Center so all the cousins would gather at their home during the Jewish Holidays.
The Arthur Blieden Family 1958
Once they lived in Teaneck, Arthur and Lois always hosted the Passover Seder. They would move all the furniture out of their living room and move the dining room table into it to accommodate the large crowd. The Seder would not start until Arthur returned from Temple at about 8:00 PM. By then, the children were restless and barely made it to the end of the Seder. However, we all remember the “grown-ups” singing away into the late evening hours. They would often invite guests, one of them being Lillian Ianora, who became a regular, and another was Bea Ames. Lillian, of the RI Bliedens, was a patient of Arthur’s and they struck up a friendship since she was a Blieden, too. They never could figure out the family connection, but now in 2018, I have. Bea Ames, was an Abramowitz relative.
Arthur leading the annual Passover Seder Arthur – July 1961 – Cape Cod vacation
Among his many honors and accomplishments, he was the doctor for the NYC Ballet and for UPS. He would often take his children, and his brother’s children, on his weekend hospital rounds with him. One benefit of being a doctor back then, was the MD license plate for the car. That meant he could park in front of a store, and run in for a second to buy a newspaper or some fresh bread from the bakery. It was convenient especially in NYC, where it was hard to find a parking space.
Arthur and Lois always opened their home and many people made use of their third floor bedroom as a temporary residence. His brother’s 2 younger daughters also lived there after their father passed away in 1973. He was very proud of his great-nephew, his brother’s first grandson born in 1974, and marched him all around the neighborhood to introduce Bernie’s grandson to his neighbors.
Arthur had a great sense of humor and often laughed at his own jokes. Always hard-working, loving and compassionate, Arthur died in November, 1983, from colon cancer.
He is buried Mt. Lebanon Cemetery in the Drosin Family Plot next to wife, Lois, and his brother-in-law, Morty.