Dr. R.J. Field, Jr.
FMCH Surgeon Dr. Richard Jennings Field, Jr., "Dr. Dick," was born in Centreville on September 6, 1926, and died peacefully at his home in Centreville on Tuesday morning, July 22, 2014, from complications of Parkinson's disease. Dr. Dick shared his surgical knowledge and his faith around the world, but always with an unwavering love and devotion to his hometown "folks," his church, his school, his family and tirelessly, his patients.
The son of Dr. and Mrs. Jennings Field, Dr. Dick was a 1943 graduate of Centreville High School, where he played football for his beloved Tigers. He received his undergraduate degree in two years and completed his medical degree in 1949 from Tulane University. He received the Outstanding Senior Award from Nu Sigma Nu Medical fraternity, and served as its president. After completing a residency in General Surgery at Tulane/Charity Hospital under Dr. Alton Ochsner, he received advanced surgical training at the Lahey Clinic in Boston, MA. He served as an officer in the United States Navy, before returning to Centreville in 1956 to continue in the footsteps of his father, Dr. Jennings Field and his uncle, Dr. Sam Field. Always excited to share his knowledge and love of surgery, Dr. Dick maintained clinical teaching appointments at Tulane University, The University of Mississippi and Louisiana State University. By establishing clinical teaching rotations, he introduced hundreds of medical students to rural medicine.
A passionate advocate for bringing leading-edge surgery to save more lives in rural communities, Dr. Dick became a prominent and influential voice in American surgery. From his early days of driving injured patients to the emergency room in the family station wagon to serving in the highest ranks of the American College of Surgeons, he was always intensely focused on making life safer and better for his friends and neighbors in South Mississippi. Naturally merging his faith with his work, Dr. Dick led multiple medical mission trips to Honduras, prayed regularly with his patients and colleagues and served as an Elder at the Thompson Memorial Presbyterian Church for more than 45 years.
Among many honors and distinctions that he received during his long career, the one that Dr. Dick cherished most was being team doctor for the Centreville Tigers for more than 50 years. Others included The Richard Field, Jr. Lectureship in Surgery, established in his honor at the University of Mississippi Medical School. A dedicated leader for the American College of Surgeons, he served as Governor of Mississippi and Chairman of the National Trauma Committee, where he received its Meritorious Award. He became the only Mississippi surgeon elected to its Board of Regents and was later selected second vice president. He was a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons and a member of the Southern Surgical Society, The Southeastern Surgical Congress, and The American Association for the Surgery of Trauma. He was chairman of the Mississippi Emergency Medical Services Council and a founding member of the Alton Ochsner Surgical Society. Dr. Dick received the Teacher of the Year award multiple times from Tulane Medical School, was president of the Tulane Medical Alumni Society and was honored for his contributions in medicine and rural surgery by the State of Mississippi and Governor Kirk Fordyce with "Dick Field Day."
Always an advocate for his community, Dr. Dick was an active member of the Centreville Public School and Centreville Academy boards of directors, President of the Centreville Chamber of Commerce, Founder of the Centreville Carousel of Arts Day, Founder of the Field Memorial Distinguished Lectureship and charter member of the World War II Museum. An avid nature lover, Dr. Dick was a member of the North American Bluebird Society. He established a blue bird trail at Pine Hills Country Club and always enjoyed sitting on his front porch watching bluebirds.
Dr. Dick is survived by his soul mate of 64 years, "Miss Betty," and his three children Dr. Richard J. Field, III and his wife, Melissa of Centreville, Mrs. Betsy Field MacKay and her husband, Angus, of Dallas, TX and Dr. Edward D. Field and his wife, Julie of Oxford. He cherished his role as a father and grandfather, especially when each was old enough "to play sports." His grandchildren are Richard Jennings Field, IV, Burton Foret Field, William Dunbar Stewart MacKay, Elizabeth Anne Field and Catherine Newell Field. He is also survived by his sister Babe Field Carr of Oxford, his brother, Dr. Davis Field of Tupelo and many beloved nieces, nephews and cousins.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Field Memorial Community Hospital, Centreville Academy, Thompson Memorial Presbyterian Church or the World War II Museum.
Visitation will be held at Thomson Memorial Presbyterian Church in Centreville from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 23, 2014.
Graveside services will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday, July 24, 2014, attended by family members and close friends.
A celebration of Dr. Dick's life will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, July 24, 2014, at Thompson Memorial Presbyterian Church in Centreville, conducted by the Reverend Eric Greene.
Newman Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Newman Funeral Home
155 S Cosby St
Centreville, MS 39631
Published in Clarion Ledger on July 23, 2014