'Papa Doc' touched thousands of lives

The CSRA recently lost one of its most recognized and respected citizens in Dr. Walter Gamewell “Curly” Watson.” It is not the fact that he lived 102 years but how he lived those 102 years.

His professional achievement (including an unprecedented 15,000 deliveries) was, in his own words, a privilege. He appreciated the opportunity to care for his patients. But it was not just his service to patients; he voluntarily taught obstetrics and gynecology to Medical College of Georgia students, residents, nurses and hospital personnel for more than 60 years, and he never missed a “teachable moment.”

He always was an ideal role model, a doctor’s doctor, and he became an icon. Yet he remained modest and humble. And he never stopped learning – you could find him reviewing medical journals while on-call in the hospital when he was in his 80s.

But it was not just medicine that he taught.

People in the medical community all knew about “Papa Doc’s Creed”: Always do your best. Never give up. Room is at the top. Be a lady or a gentleman.” He always treated everyone with dignity and respect, from the housekeeping service to the operating room technicians. He gladly covered for other physicians (not just his partners), and he always was available to help in emergencies.

He was the volunteer physician at ball games in North Augusta for 65 years (Friday nights and Saturdays); he attended the 8 a.m. OB/GYN Saturday Conference at University Hospital for more than 40 years; and he was an usher and member of Grace United Methodist Church. He rarely missed “life events” for friends and family alike. And all the while, he was a proud, devoted husband, father, grandfather and admired family man of unquestioned integrity and honor.

Perhaps it was because of all of these good deeds and accolades that Dr. Watson was granted such unusual longevity on Earth. He continued to give generously throughout his entire life, and may he now be granted the just rewards he deserves in heaven. We will miss him and his many contributions to the CSRA – but he will not be forgotten.

 

(The writer is an Augusta obstetrician and gynecologist.)

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