Earl Fleegler, a retired hand surgeon and resident of Plymouth, Mass., died on Aug. 3, 2019 at age 79 while surrounded by his family.

Earl is survived by his son, Eric; daughter-in-law, Marisa; brother, Harvey; grandchildren, Joshua, Naomi and Sonia; and wife, Nancy Cetlin. He was predeceased by his first wife, Kathy, and his son, Michael.

Earl was born in Philadelphia on Oct. 29, 1939, to Harry and Florence Fleegler. He graduated from Franklin and Marshall College in 1961 with a degree in biology and then attended medical school at Jefferson Medical College, graduating in 1965. He trained in general surgery at Temple University and then pursued a fellowship in plastic surgery at Allegheny General Hospital and further training in hand surgery in Arizona. He practiced his profession in Cleveland from 1973 to 1995 initially in private practice and then at Cleveland Clinic, where he was the division chief of hand surgery.

In 1995, he and Kathy moved to Ambler, Pa., where he continued to practice hand surgery in private practice and as a professor and faculty member of the department of surgery at Rutgers University and the Newark VA. He was a world-renowned surgeon with an unparalleled experience in the treatment of hand tumors and complex hand surgery. During his career, he edited the definitive book, “Tumors of the Hand and Upper Limb,” and wrote several journal articles and book chapters on a variety of topics in hand surgery. He was also recognized as a patient teacher of several generations of plastic surgery residents. He retired in 2014.

Early was a devoted father, husband and grandfather who enjoyed his life-long passion of fly fishing – one sparked by a course given to him by Kathy. He spent a lifetime designing and tying his own flies, building bamboo fly rods, traveling around the country and the world on fishing expeditions, painting his catches in vibrant watercolors, and writing articles about the subject for fishing magazines. He was a naturalist who loved spending time outdoors. He was an observant Jew who delighted in learning about Jewish history and the Kabbalah.

In his retirement, Earl greatly enjoyed spending time with his three beloved grandchildren. He will be deeply missed by his friends, family, and all who knew him.

Services were held Aug. 6 at Temple Beth Shalom in Needham, Mass. Burial followed at Shara Tfilo Cemetery in West Roxbury, Mass.

Donations and condolences may be made in Earl’s memory to either the Catskill Flyfishing Center & Museum at cffcm.com or Project Healing Waters FlyFishing at projecthealingwaters.org.

Arrangements by Brezniak Funeral Directors – Brezniakfuneraldirectors.com.