Mary Joan Hagigh, social worker, dies

Mary Joan Hagigh, a retired social worker and registered nurse, died June 24 from complications of a fractured hip at Emeritus Towson Assisted Living.

The Ruxton resident was 78.


Mary Joan Wall, whose father was head of collections for the Internal Revenue Service for Connecticut and whose mother was a homemaker, was born in Mount Vernon, N.Y., and raised in Clinton, Conn.

After graduating from Morgan High School in Clinton in 1951, she earned her nursing degree in 1954 from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.


While working at Syracuse Hospital, she met her future husband, Dr. Reza Hagigh, an ophthalmologist.

The couple relocated to Baltimore in 1956, and Mrs. Hagigh earned a bachelor's degree in 1957 in nursing from the Johns Hopkins University. She and her husband were married in 1957.

During the 1950s, Mrs. Hagigh worked as a nurse at Union Memorial Hospital and later at the old Baltimore welfare department.

In 1981, she earned a master's degree in social work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

After raising her children, Mrs. Hagigh resumed her career in 1984 when she went to work for the Baltimore County Department of Social Services in its foster care division. She retired in 1997.

"She was passionate about current issues including child welfare," said a daughter, Sara Hagigh of Washington. "Selfless commitment to others will be her legacy."

The longtime Ruxton resident was an avid reader and particularly enjoyed reading newspapers.

A sharp-eyed grammarian, Mrs. Hagigh would write letters to newspapers "correcting occasional grammatical errors," said Ms. Hagigh.

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She also actively supported libraries, her daughter said.

Mrs. Hagigh, a lifelong Democrat, wrote letters to Maryland's elected officials on various topics to express her concern.

She and her husband were patrons of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Center Stage, Theater Hopkins and the Lyric.

A gathering celebrating Mrs. Hagigh's life was held June 30.

In addition to her husband of 54 years and her daughter, Mrs. Hagigh is survived by two sons, David Hagigh of Falls Church, Va., Tom Hagigh of Severna Park; two other daughters, Ellen Hagigh of Baltimore and Jaleh Hagigh of Chapel Hill, N.C.; two sisters, Catherine Wall and Harriet Juel, both of Clinton, Conn.; and six grandchildren.

An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the year the couple moved to Baltimore, where Mrs. Hagigh's master's degree in social work was earned, the number of years Mr. and Mrs. Hagigh were married and the gender of survivor Jaleh Hagigh. The Sun regrets the errors.