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Joseph Hongsuk Sirh Obituary

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Joseph Hongsuk Sirh

Fairfax, VA

November 26, 1930 - April 29, 2021

Joseph Hongsuk Sirh Obituary

Joseph Hongsuk Sirh, M.D. Of Clifton, Virginia passed away April 29, 2021 at INOVA Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church. He passed following recent hospitalizations and complications of a subdural hematoma. Dr. Sirh is preceded in death by his beloved wife of almost 50 years Anna Joyce Helbert Sirh; his parents Mr. Chun Sik Suh and Mrs. Chung Suh of Irie, South Korea; four brothers and two sisters. He is survived by his son, David Sirh and wife Fumy and grandson Alexander of Santa Monica, CA; son, Peter Sirh and grandchildren Michael and Emily of McLean, VA, and their mother Stephanie McMahon Sirh of Knoxville, TN and numerous nieces and nephews of whom he was so proud. Joseph was born in 1930 in present day South Korea. Since a childhood ailment that left Joseph bed bound for three months, he yearned to be able to help others and heal the sick. He grew up in the years of Imperial Japan’s occupation of the Korean peninsula and then the global tumult of World War II; the following division of Korea between the Allied powers and the conflict against the communist ideology; and invasion of South Korea by Red China and the daring leadership of Gen. Douglas MacArthur and the American and Republic of Korea (ROK) army to liberate the South. Joseph attended the ROK Army Medical Corp School and was Commissioned Rank of 1st Lieutenant. With the love and support of family, the generosity of U.S. Army GIs, and the mentorship of American medical doctors on Christian mission to South Korea, Joseph was able to pursue his dream of a medical career. He graduated from Chonnam National University Medical School in Kwangju in 1956 and was soon posted to the Capital ROK Army General Hospital. While on leave in Seoul, he was able to see his first Hollywood motion picture, Love Me Tender, starring a young singer Elvis Presley. He was so impressed and moved by the American film that reinforced his dream to travel to and study in the United States. Again, with his mentor’s assistance, in 1958 Joseph was able to earn a position and scholarship for his Medical Internship education at Lynn Hospital in Lynn, MA. His family sacrificed and bought him his airfare from Seoul to Honolulu, Hawaii. From Honolulu he landed at Los Angeles International Airport with $20 US dollars in his pocket. His first steps in the United States. He performed his Medical Internship at Lynn Hospital and completed his medical education in 1962 as the Senior Resident at the world-renowned Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore, MD. Dr. Sirh then joined as Fellow Staff, Department of Anesthesiology at the New England Medical Center Hospital, Tufts Medical School Hospital in Boston, MA. In a classic pairing of a doctor and nurse, Joseph’s charm and gregariousness swept his future wife Anna, a Registered Nurse from Virginia, off her feet, meeting while they both worked at Johns Hopkins. After a courtship they were married in Baltimore, MD at the Baltimore Roman Catholic Cathedral on June 23, 1962. Joseph and Anna fondly remembered their early days together in New England and loved to travel together, with the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, and Austria among their favorite destinations. Dr. Sirh practiced as an Anesthesiologist for almost 50 years starting at St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford, MA and Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, RI. He joined Fairfax Anesthesiology Associates at Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, VA in 1971 and served as Acting Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Department of Anesthesiology during his tenure of 25 years. Dr. Sirh was a Fellow, American College of Anesthesiologists; Diplomate, American Board of Anesthesiologists; and a Fellow, American Academy of Family Medicine. Dr. Sirh was a Member of the Executive Committee of Fairfax Hospital in 1972; a Member of the Transfusion Committee Fairfax Hospital from 1973 to 1987; a Member of the Credentials Committee Fairfax County Medical Society; a member of the Mediation Committee Fairfax County Medical Society in 1991; a Member of the Medical – Legal Committee Fairfax County Medical Society from 1987 to 1990; Chairman of the Preceptor Teaching Program in Anesthesiology for Medical Students in conjunction with the American Society of Anesthesiology from 1973 to 1983; Program Director for In-Service Scientific Teaching Department of Anesthesiology from 1972 to 1981; and a Delegate and Alternate Delegate 10th District of the Virginia State Medical Society. He continued to work at Sentara Potomac Hospital in Woodbridge, VA until 2010 and was an Active Retired Physician at INOVA Fairfax Hospital until his death. Dr. Sirh was dedicated to his community and wanted to give back to others to repay the sacrifices made on his behalf and the opportunity that the United States and its citizens afforded him. Dr. Sirh served as the President, Medical School Alumni of the USA, Chonnam University in 1982; President of the Korean-American Medical Association of DC, MD, & VA from 1983 to 1984; Board of Director of the Korean-American Scholarship Foundation in 1984; President of the Korean-American Medical Association of America in 1993; Executive Vice President of the Korean-American Medical Association of America in 1995; and Volunteer Physician for the Free Clinic in Woodbridge, VA. He was a Member and Chairman of the United States Census Advisory Board for Asian & Pacific Islanders from 1985 to 1990 under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. He was particularly proud to serve as a Board of Trustee for the Fairfax County Library Foundation from 1992 – 2016 having been appointed by Springfield District Supervisors Elaine McConnell and Pat Herrity. His love of reading and lifelong learning stayed with him to the end. He was a member of the Clifton Lion’s Club from 1975 to 1992; the Fairfax Rotary Club; the Knights of Columbus; and a parishioner at St. Clare of Assisi Catholic Church in Clifton, VA. Joseph was an early adopter of jogging as exercise and healthy eating. He would often be seen by family and neighbors jogging the country road or swimming laps in the backyard pool. He never missed the opportunity to participate in an organized running event, he ran a 5K on his 85th birthday to celebrate. Joseph shared his love of skiing and tennis with his sons. He retained his love of the movies with the Sound of Music, Doctor Zhivago, James Bond, the Descendants, and Ironman amongst his favorites. He so appreciated his Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) classes at George Mason University and his regular trips to the gym. He always joked that he was the oldest in age but the youngest at heart. Family and friends are welcome to join in the Christian service and burial of Joseph on Saturday, May 22, 2021 at Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home, 9902 Braddock Road, Fairfax, VA 22032. A visitation will take place at Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home from 9:00am-10:00am, followed by a service at 10:00am in the Fairfax Memorial Funeral Home chapel. A burial will commence at 11:00am at Fairfax Memorial Park Cemetery. The family invites family and friends to join them at a reception following the internment. Details for the reception will be provided at the funeral.

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Event information can be found on the Official Obituary of Joseph Hongsuk Sirh.