Fitzhugh Nicholson Hamrick

Fitzhugh Nicholson Hamrick CHARLESTON - Dr. Fitzhugh Nicholson Hamrick, Charleston dentist, MUSC College of Dental Medicine faculty member, and Charleston fine arts supporter, died on May 23, 2014 at his Charleston home. Dr. Hamrick was born on April 13, 1926 in Fountain Inn, S.C. but moved to Charleston at six weeks old, and lived in Charleston the rest of his life. He was preceded in death by his parents, Clarence Thomas Hamrick, and Myrtle Hamrick Hamrick, his two brothers, John Asa Hamrick and Clarence Thomas "Buddy" Hamrick, Jr., and his sister, Marjorie Hamrick Borom. Dr. Hamrick attended the Charleston Schools, the College of Charleston, and graduated from the University of Louisville, School of Dentistry in 1947 at the age of 21. After a year's residency, he served his country as a Navy dentist from 1948 until 1952. He joined his father and his brother Buddy in their practice on Wentworth Street in downtown Charleston. He practiced dentistry there until 1985, when he joined the MUSC College of Dental Medicine faculty until 1997. Dr. Hamrick enjoyed his calling as a dentist, and the families he came to know through his practice. He was involved in the Charleston and South Carolina Dental Associations, and was a delegate to the American Dental Association for over 13 years. Dr. Hamrick early realized the need for medical and dental education in the lower part of the state. He appeared before the legislature to speak of that need, and to champion the MUSC College of Dental Medicine in Charleston. After the founding of the dental school, he began teaching part-time as a clinical faculty member in 1970, and joined the school as a full-time teacher and administrator in 1985. He served as a lecturer and associate professor, but also was the Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs, and the Director of Admissions. He enjoyed his role as an encourager and mentor to young dentists and claimed that South Carolina dentists surpass the rest of the country. Dr. Hamrick was also an enthusiastic member of the Charleston fine arts community. He was the President of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra Association and of the Charleston Concert Association. South Carolina was planning a yearlong Tricentennial Celebration and in the two years before this, special events were being planned for the whole state. In 1968, Dr. Hamrick, Mayor Palmer Gaillard, and the Charleston Symphony Association had a desire for Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess" to be performed in Charleston for the first time during the Tricentennial Celebration. One of the stipulations of the performance was that the audiences be fully integrated, and in Charleston, at that time, they still were not. Dr. Hamrick met with the descendants of George Gershwin and requested that "Porgy and Bess" be allowed to be performed in Charleston, and gave them his word that the audience would be fully integrated. The family consented, and "Porgy and Bess" was performed in 1970 in Charleston, the place where the story actually takes place. The cast was completely made up of local amateur Charlestonians, from young to old, and directed by Ella Gerber from New York. Dr. Hamrick went to the auditions, and attended every rehearsal, usually accompanied by his wife or one of his four children. "Porgy and Bess" was the first event in the Gaillard Memorial Auditorium, and also the first integrated event of its kind in Charleston. It was sold out every night for two weeks and those who were there overwhelmingly enjoyed the experience and the celebration. Dr. Hamrick looked back at this with joy his entire life. Dr. Hamrick was committed to Christ and an enthusiastic supporter of the church and the ministries there. He was a member of Grace Church, where he had served as a member of the vestry. He will be remembered for his strong faith, his love of family, his generosity, and his enthusiastic love of people. He truly never met a stranger. Most of them he and Nancy invited to dinner in their home. Dr. Hamrick is survived by his wife of 62 years, Nancy Hart Miller Hamrick and their four children, Hart Deal (Jeff), Margery Walters (Peter), Druid Joyner (Sam) and Fitz Hamrick (Monica). They have thirteen grandchildren, Russell Deal (Katherine), Nancy Hart Deal Wicker (Josh), Grace Deal Greene (Chris), Andrew Deal, Corrie Walters Voss (Matt), Sydney Walters, Samuel Joyner (Ruthie), Thomas Fitzhugh Joyner (Rebecca), Meriwether Joyner, Mia Joyner, Jackson Hamrick, Julia Hamrick, and Mary Hamrick. They also have five great grandchildren, Willow Wicker, Joseph, P.K. and Eliza Deal, and Fitzhugh Joyner. A memorial service will be held Wednesday, May 28th at 3PM at Grace Episcopal Church, 98 Wentworth St. The family will greet friends in the sanctuary immediately following the service. Any memorial gifts may be made to the Music Fund at Grace Church, First Baptist Church School of Charleston, or the Star Gospel Mission. Visit our guestbook at www.legacy.com/obituaries/ charleston

Published in Charleston Post & Courier on May 25, 2014