Ward Cutis Worthington, Jr., M.D. died at the Bishop Gadsden Episcopal Retirement Community, Charleston, S.C., March 27, 2021. He was 95. Dr. Worthington was born August 8, 1925 in Savannah, Georgia, the son of Ward Curtis Worthington, Sr. and Pearl Mabel Farris Worthington. He grew up on St. Helena Island, Beaufort County, graduated from Beaufort High School and attended The Citadel for a year before enlisting in the United States Navy, in which he served from 1944 to 1946. In 1947, he married Floride Calhoun McDermid. He returned to The Citadel as a veteran student and entered a B.S./M.D. program with the Medical College of South Carolina (later MUSC), receiving both those degrees in 1952. From 1949-52, he was also a research assistant in Anatomy at the Medical College. After completing a surgical internship at Boston City Hospital from 1952-53, Dr. Worthington taught at the Johns Hopkins Medical School, Baltimore, Md. (1953-56) and went on to become an assistant professor of Anatomy at the University of Illinois, Chicago, Ill. (1956-57). He returned to the Medical College of South Carolina as an assistant Professor of Anatomy in 1957 and was promoted to associate professor in 1959. In the years 1964-1965, Dr. Worthington was granted a Special Research Fellowship (United States Public Health Service) in Neuroendocrinology through the University of Oxford, living and working those years in Oxford, United Kingdom. When he returned to the U.S., he took up the position of Assistant Dean for Curriculum at MUSC (1966-69). Shortly afterwards, he was named professor and Chairman of Anatomy and chaired the department from 1969-1977. From 1970-1977, he also held the office of Associate Dean, College of Medicine. In 1975, Dr. Worthington was named Acting Vice President for Academic Affairs at MUSC. He took up the official position of Vice President for Academic Affairs in 1977 and continued to hold that office until 1982. From 1982-1991, he once again served as an Associate Dean, for Academic Affairs, and in 1991 was appointed Professor Emeritus in the Department of Anatomy. He served as secretary to the faculty from 1989-1996. Dr. Worthington’s scientific research focused on endocrinology, resulting in the publication of over fifty prestigious articles on the topic. He perfected the technique of micro-surgically canulating the portal vein of the rat. He made a landmark contribution to the neurosciences with publications, along with Robert S. Cathcart, M.D., on the role of human ependymal cilia in the circulation of cerebral spinal fluid. Later in his career, he focused on the medical humanities and research in the history of medicine. In 1982, this career long interest culminated in his appointment as the second director of the Waring Historical Library at MUSC. He continued in that position until 2012. Dr. Worthington was appointed Professor of the History of the Health Sciences in 1987. He published numerous articles and books on historical topics including various aspects of the history of MUSC, a history of the Medical Society of South Carolina (Roper Hospital with Louis P. Jervey, M.D), as well as articles on Sarah Campbell Allen, the first licensed female physician in South Carolina (and a forbear of Dr. Worthington’s wife), and a forensic study of the murder of Francis Warrington Dawson. Dr. Worthington received numerous honors. He was appointed to Alpha Omega Alpha (Honor Medical Society), Pi Kappa Phi (philanthropic fraternity), and the Society of Sigma Xi (scientific research honors). He received the Wyeth-Ayerst Community Service Award from the South Carolina Medical Association in 1995, and the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Medical Alumni Association of MUSC in the same year. He also received the Distinguished Faculty Service Award. In 2013, he was admitted to The Order of the Silver Crescent by then Governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley. He was a member of numerous professional organizations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Association of Anatomists, the American Physiological Society, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Association of Anatomy Chairmen (serving as Secretary-Treasurer, and President), the South Carolina Medical Association (editorial board), the Charleston County Medical Society (executive committee, President), the Medical Society of South Carolina (honorary member), National Microcirculatory Society (chairman), the South Carolina Academy of Science (President), the Endocrine Society, the American Association for the History of Medicine, The American Osler Society, MUSC Alumni Association (life member), The Robert Wilson Medical History Club, and the Waring Library Society (life member, executive committee, President). His interest in the local community was manifested in his participation in numerous civic organizations, including the Rotary Club of Charleston, which was of particular interest to him and in which he served on the board of directors and participated as a Paul Harris Fellow. He had a lifelong interest and appreciation for classical music and served on the board of directors and as a Vice-president for the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. He served as President of the Edisto Island Historic Preservation Society. Dr. Worthington was also a member of the Charleston Museum, the Charleston Library Society, the Edisto Island Open Land Trust, and the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League. He served on many committees of scientific, academic and civic organizations, too numerous to mention. He was a life member of the Sons of the American Revolution, a member of the Society of Civil War Surgeons, and a member of the Piping and Marching Society of Lower Chalmers Street. Devoted to the Episcopal church since his boyhood acolyte service at St. Helena church in Beaufort, Dr. Worthington remained the consummate churchman. He served as vestryman and lay reader at Holy Trinity church, Charleston, and then later on vestryman, Senior Warden and chalice bearer at Trinity Church, Edisto Island. In his later years, he attended the Church of the Holy Communion regularly with his son and grandson. One of his proudest accomplishments was the restoration of St. Luke’s chapel at the medical university after its destruction by Hurricane Hugo. He served as chairman of the chapel restoration committee and received a certificate of appreciation when the repairs were completed. Dr. Worthington loved the South Carolina lowcountry. The smell of the salt marsh was in his blood. He was an avid outdoorsman who preferred to be on a boat, fishing and shrimping in the creek whenever his busy schedule would allow. His fond memories of childhood on St. Helena led to the acquisition in 1969 of a beautiful property on Store Creek, Edisto Island. He spent most weekends (and in retirement, most of the time) there. It was a much-loved place by he and Floride, and subsequently by multiple generations of his progeny. “Pappa” was famous for his Edisto Island breakfasts, which most often consisted of his shrimp and grits, the definitive version against which all others strive and fail. He was an epicure, to be sure. His last stop before leaving Charleston for Edisto was the gourmet shop to pick up a couple of excellent bottles of wine and specialty cheese and other charcuterie for the weekend. In spite of his lowcountry geocentricity, he loved to travel throughout his life. In retirement he was able to take many wonderful trips to Europe, South America, the Pacific and Australasia with Floride. He was an avid photographer and won several competitions for many of his artistic renderings. His intellectual life, beyond the academic and professional, was constant and active. He was a voracious reader (including crime novels), and composer of limericks. The many projects that he took on over the course of a lifetime are legion. Dr. Worthington was predeceased by his wife, Floride McDermid Worthington. He is survived by a son, Ward Curtis Worthington III, MD of Charleston, S.C., a daughter Amy Lynne Boucher of Independence, Va., a son-in-law, Rick Boucher of Abingdon, Va., a daughter-in-law, Jane L. Tyler MD of Charleston, S.C.; six grandchildren, Sarah Calhoun Osborne, Austin David Hauslohner, Suzanne Jane Worthington, Cecelia Calhoun Worthington, Ian Chalmers Worthington, and Aidan Curtis Fraser Worthington; and four great-grandchildren. Burial will be in a private ceremony and plans for a Requiem Mass will be announced at a post-pandemic date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Edisto Island Open Land Trust, the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League, the Waring Historical Library at MUSC, or a charity of choice. Arrangements by J. Henry Stuhr, Inc. Downtown Chapel.
Posted in: Post and Courier
Posted on: 2021-03-28
Link to original obituary: https://obits.postandcourier.com/us/obituaries/charleston/name/ward-worthington-obituary?pid=198185127