Dr. Martin Harthcock, Jr.
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Dr. Martin Bates Harthcock, Jr., 94, died Monday, November 26, 2012 at his residence in Raymond, MS. Visitation will be held on Thursday, November 29 from 7:00PM until 8:30PM at Lakewood Funeral Home in Jackson, MS. Funeral services will be held 3:00PM Friday, November 30 at First United Methodist Church of Clinton, MS.
Dr. Harthcock was born in Clarksdale, MS in 1918 to Martin Bates Harthcock Sr. and Thelma Bobo Barmer. He attended Clarksdale's Eliza Clark Elementary and Bobo High School where he played first clarinet in band from the 4th grade, and tennis where he went on to compete in the MS State Doubles championship with his brother Gary. As early as the 10th grade he dreamed of becoming a doctor. After graduating high school in 1936, Dr. Harthcock attended MS State University where he continued his band and tennis activities and joined the AED Pre-Med and Blue-Key Honor fraternities. While a freshman and still dreaming of medical school, young Martin got a job at a local pharmacy where he learned to dispense medicines.
Then in 1940, Martin learned that he was one of four students in Mississippi selected to receive the prestigious Rockefeller Commonwealth Scholarship. This was a grant to develop medical practitioners who would agree to serve small communities after graduation. With this, he was able to attend Tulane University where he joined the NEN Medical Fraternity. He graduated in 1944 with a doctorate in medicine and entered the Navy as a Lieutenant during WW II. During the war he served as a doctor on the Destroyer USS Leary, and later in Hawaii, and San Francisco.
After he left the Navy in 1949, the Commonwealth fund declared that, due to his military service, his grant obligations were fulfilled. Despite this release however, Dr. Harthcock was driven by the need he saw for better medical services in the delta. He returned to Clarksdale where he purchased a school building from the Catholic Church to convert into a small hospital. Coahoma Clinics was the first hospital to serve the Negro community in the Mississippi delta. For this, Dr. Harthcock hired an R.N. and trained a staff of 6 "practical" nurses. After 10 years, he moved his family to St. Louis, MO for an internship in Plastic Surgery, returning to MS to continue his practice.
Dr. Harthcock lived with his family in the Jackson area for the past 47 years where he practiced Plastic Surgery. During this time he was active in the Capitol City Kiwanis club for over 50 years. He was also a member of the First United Methodist Church of Clinton choir for 45 years. He had long-term interests in gardening and tennis, along with wine-making, cattle-ranching and beekeeping.
Dr. Harthcock was preceded in death by his first wife, Irene Harthcock. Survivors include his wife, Levonia Harthcock, his sister, Margaret Varnell, his brothers, Tommy Harthcock and Gary Harthcock, his daughters Melinda Harthcock and Precia Harthcock, his sons, Martin Harthcock III, Andrew Harthcock, and James Harthcock, ten grand-children, as well as many nieces, nephews and extended family.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to either of the First United Methodist Choir Fund or Belarusian Children's Fund.
Published in Clarion Ledger on Nov. 28, 2012