Family Login:

Ward Curtis Worthington, Jr, M.D.

Ward Curtis Worthington, Jr, M.D.
  • August 8, 1925 - March 27, 2021
  • Charleston, South Carolina

Share This Obituary
Resources

Send Flowers
 Local Florists


Memories & Candles

“Dear Dr. Worthington, Please accept my condolences on the passing of your beloved father.Though I had no opportunity to meet or know him, I do know...Read More »
1 of 14 | Posted by: Ritchie Hugh Belser, III - SC

“Curtis Worthington was the epitome of a scholar and a gentleman. He had an incisive and inquiring mind, but even more impressive was the modest and ...Read More »
2 of 14 | Posted by: Ray Greenberg

“Curtis, Condolences to you on the loss of your father. ”
3 of 14 | Posted by: William and Mary Dougherty

“Dr. Worthington was respected as Vice-President of Academics Affairs at MUSC and as a renaissance man interested in History. His legacy will ...Read More »
4 of 14 | Posted by: Maria A. Cordova-Salinas

“We will all miss Curtis terribly. Every time I catch a crab in Manse creek or look out from the porch I think of him. A long and wonderful life. ”
5 of 14 | Posted by: Steve Schabel

“Curtis, sincere condolences to you and your family on the loss of your father. ”
6 of 14 | Posted by: Jim Gooden

“Curtis...condolences to you and your family for the loss of your Father. Hoping remembrance of good times brings comfort and peace during this sad...Read More »
7 of 14 | Posted by: Kenneth Graham - Charleston, SC

“I shall always remember Dr. Worthington as a gentlemen, scholar, teacher, mentor, and friend. So many interactions and conversation over many years...Read More »
8 of 14 | Posted by: Robert Ogilvie Ogilvie - SC

“Dear Dr Worthington, I was so sorry to read of the passing of your wonderful Father. He was certainly a learned and caring Doctor and gentleman. May...Read More »
9 of 14 | Posted by: Shelley Solomon

“What a wonderful life he led! I had the privilege of working with Dr. Worthington when he was Director of the Waring Library at MUSC - one of the...Read More »
10 of 14 | Posted by: Anne Robichaux - Mt. Pleasant, SC

“Such a gift, this kind and learned gentleman. You are in my heart and prayers at this time of loss and remembrance. ”
11 of 14 | Posted by: Deborah "Gaya" Milling, M.D.

“He was a fantastic man. We are all better for knowing him ”
12 of 14 | Posted by: Marion whaley jr

“What a special, sweet intelligent loving doctor, father, grandfather and friend! Such a gentleman he was! He will always be in my heart ”
13 of 14 | Posted by: Ann Ailstock

“What a wonderful, wonderful man. We're lucky to have known him. ”
14 of 14 | Posted by: Craig M. Bennett, Jr.


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 manifest 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

continued...