Dr. Pappas was the old type “Family Doctor” who delivered babies, took out tonsils and made house calls during his thirty-eight years as an Osteopathic General Practitioner in North Miami Beach, Florida. His background in sports and physical therapy allowed him to practice what is now known as “Sports Medicine”. Dr. Pappas was the team doctor for the Miami Floridians, the State’s first professional ABA basketball team, in 1968. He served as the doctor for the City of North Miami Beach for twenty years. He also became the team doctor for Archbishop Curley High School in Miami for eight years while his children attended. His patients loved him and were loyal fans of his caring personality and sound medical skills.
Arthur Pappas was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York by Greek immigrant parents, George Pappas and Marguerite Dascalopulos. They spent summers in Cornwall, New York on the banks of the Hudson River playing with their cousins, fishing, and hunting. Art played many sports, including baseball and stickball, but his favorite was soccer. His high school soccer team won the New York City Championship. After high school in 1945, Art was drafted into the United States Navy and served in Guam. He then spent four years at Springfield College in western Massachusetts. He was an All-American soccer player after his Springfield team won the National Intercollegiate Soccer Championship in 1950. He studied physical education at first but then switched to physical therapy. Eventually, he decided to become a physician. From his education journey Art adopted his lifelong motto: “Keep going, Never Give Up!”
Art married the “love of his life” Joan and moved down to Florida in 1957 after finishing medical school in Philadelphia. He opened his practice, Park Medical Center, in North Miami Beach. Art and Joan shared sixty-seven years in a loving relationship that produced three children -- Cliff, Gary, and Stephanie -- and seven grandchildren, all of whom call him “Papou”. The family was active in many sports such as tennis, swimming, soccer and gymnastics. Art became a youth soccer coach in Miami Shores for six years inspiring many to play at the collegiate level. Art and Joan played tennis together for years until his ankles gave out. They raised a large orchid collection in their back yard. Fishing was always Art’s passion and a big part of his family life with Joan and the children. Boating, fishing and diving in Miami, the Keys, the Everglades, and the Bahamas were part of their regular family outings. Family vacations included RV trips to camp in National Parks across the United States. Art was a long-time member of the Miami Beach Rod and Reel Club, where he earned some of the highest levels of achievement in fishing. Art and Joan fished in tournaments around the world as part of their travels.
Dr. Pappas retired from his medical practice in 1995, and he and Joan moved to Melbourne, Florida. They continued fishing together on the Space Coast and joined the local orchid club to share their collection and experience from Miami. They also added their love of bridge to their many shared interests and became dedicated players and teachers of the game. For eighteen years, Art volunteered at Sabal Elementary School in Melbourne where he taught math and reading. He participated as both a teacher and student in SAIL (Senior Adventures In Learning). Art also mentored underprivileged kids about fishing and conservation. For his many contributions to the community, he was honored with the Jefferson Award for Public Service. Art and Joan continued to travel around the world with friends and visiting their children and grandchildren. They were very involved in all of their lives.
Dr. Pappas passed away peacefully at age ninety-five with his family at his side on July 21, 2023 at 8:30 p.m. He is survived by his wife Joan; son Cliff and his spouse Nancy Pappas; son Gary and his spouse Nancy Stevens; daughter Stephanie Gavin and her spouse Darryl Gavin; and grandchildren: Kai and Joshua Pappas; Chloe and Dylan Pappas; and Jennifer Gavin, Joanie Kendall, PA, and Dr. Nicholas Gavin.
Arthur Pappas will be remembered by all the lives he touched -- family, friends, patients, athletes, students, and fishermen. He lived a long, amazing life filled with adventure, happiness and love. He left a legacy that will continue with all those who knew and respected him.
His was a great life…
The Family would appreciate that you share condolences, stories and photos on this site. In lieu of flowers, please donate to The Nature Conservancy in the name of Arthur Pappas with notification to Joan Pappas, 3196 Fairview Drive, Melbourne, FL 32934 by using this link: