William Melton Bristow passed away Friday, March 10, 2017, in San Diego, CA. He was 85 years old. Dr. Bristow was born Feb. 10, 1932, in Columbia, SC, a son of Walter James and Caroline Melton Bristow. He attended The Citadel, the University of South Carolina (B.S., 1952), the Medical University of South Carolina (M.D., 1956), the University of Texas Medical College Hospital (his first assignment after receiving his commission in the U.S. Navy), the University of Edinburgh (Scotland), U.S. Naval Submarine School (1960), U.S. Navy Diving School (1960) and the University of California, Los Angeles (MPH, 1963). Because of his expertise in epidemiology, in 1964 he was assigned to work on top secret U.S. naval projects involving atomic, biological and chemical warfare defense. He received several commendations for his work in the field. He also volunteered for service in two of the most elite branches of the military – the Navy SEALs and as an officer of a nuclear submarine. Dr. Bristow was involved in the establishment of the U.S. Navy SEAL teams and was appointed to be their first medical officer in 1962. He received the Combat Action Medal while serving with the SEALs in Vietnam, one of the first medical officers to receive this decoration. In 1965, while on assignment with NATO forces in Europe, he was assigned to the Mohammad V Hospital in Meknes, Morocco, during a meningitis outbreak. He received a letter of commendation from H.M. the King of Morocco, the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Navy for his accomplishments in fighting infectious diseases. On that same deployment, he discovered an ancient Phoenician shipwreck while searching for downed aircraft off the coast of Malta. He was assigned to work on nuclear submarines and supervised the first chamber lockouts from a nuclear submarine aboard the USS Whale in 1969 in his capacity as the diving and nuclear submarine medical officer. He rose to become squadron medical officer and flotilla medical officer. At the time of his promotion to captain in 1970, he was the youngest active-service officer in the Navy to hold that rank. He visited more than 100 countries before retiring from 30 years of service in 1979. Thereafter, Dr. Bristow was in private practice in the San Diego area, working in general, occupational and internal medicine. In his spare time, he managed a network of real estate holdings. Dr. Bristow was published in numerous medical journals and classified Department of Defense publications. He was a member of the American Medical Association, the Pan-American Medical Association, the American Board of General Preventive Medicine, and the Association of Military Surgeons. He was an avid tennis player and enjoyed skiing and playing bridge. He was a champion wrestler at The Citadel and was part of the 1960 11th Naval District championship team. Dr. Bristow is survived by his cherished companion Anne Hoiberg; sister Caroline Bristow Marchant; sister-in-law Stewart Mullins Bristow; nephews Dr. Walter James Bristow III (Anne), Dr. T. Eston Marchant III, and Judge Bristow Marchant (Elizabeth); nieces Caroline Marchant Borucki (Robert) and Nancy Marchant Harris (Gregory); and great nieces and nephews Abbot Land Bristow Brummett (Jordan), Walter James Bristow IV, Dr. Katherine Stewart Bristow Patrick (Richard), William Melton Bristow II, Walter Bristow Marchant Jr., Madison Eston Marchant, Dr. Sallie Gilmore Marchant, Robert Bruce Borucki Jr., Davis Marchant Borucki, Evelyn Ann Borucki, Caroline Lila Harris, Brittain Anne Harris, and Marchant Elizabeth Harris. He was predeceased by his parents, and his brother Judge Walter James Bristow Jr. Dr. Bristow requested that no funeral be held, only a toast in his memory at your next gathering. He will be buried privately in a military cemetery in California. Memorials may be sent to Medical University of South Carolina Foundation designated for The William Melton Bristow, M.D. Scholarship, 18 Bee Street, Charleston, SC 29425.

Posted in: The State

Posted on: 2017-03-20

Link to original obituary: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/thestate/obituary.aspx?n=william-melton-bristow&pid=184578181#sthash.Dkf4lyfK.dpuf