DENISON – Dr. Wilburn S. Fry Jr., beloved physician, father, grandfather and friend went home to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on Monday, December 2, 2013 after a lengthy illness.
Wilburn was born June 28, 1924 in Dallas, the only child of Wilburn S. Fry, Sr. and Era Jane (Cappleman) Fry. As a child raised during the Depression years, Wilburn moved with his parents numerous times to places where his father could find work. As a result of these moves, he attended 12 different schools from the ages of 5 to 16. He graduated from Commerce High School, Commerce, Texas in 1940 and from East Texas State Teachers College (now TAMU-Commerce) in 1943 with BS degrees in chemistry and math.
While in college, Wilburn met the love of his life, Opal Lee Manley, and married her on April 15, 1944. They enjoyed 69 years together as husband and wife until Opal's death on October 27, 2013. Soon after their marriage, he was drafted into military service and served as a Medical Corpsman in the U. S. Navy on Okinawa during the latter months of World War II
. After the end of the war, he returned home to attend medical school at UT Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, graduating in 1950. His residency requirements were completed at the VA Hospital in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 1952.
After setting up his first private medical practice in Donna, in the Rio Grande Valley, Wilburn was called back into military service during the Korean Conflict
and was trained as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force. He was stationed at the Air Force Base in Harlingen in 1954, then was transferred to Perrin Air Force Base in Sherman in 1956. After his discharge from active military service in 1957, he began his medical practice in Denison as a family physician and general surgeon and continued in that role until his retirement in July, 1992.
Wilburn was a Charter Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians and received numerous awards from the Texas Academy of Family Physicians over the years of his medical practice. He served as Chief of Staff at Madonna Hospital and the MKT Railroad Employees Hospital in Denison and was on the steering committee for the establishment of Memorial Hospital in Denison, now known as Texoma Medical Center. He served as Chairman of the Grayson County Board of Health from the early 1970's until 1992 and was instrumental in helping provide maternity services to many underprivileged women in Grayson County.
Wilburn served God faithfully at Parkside Baptist Church, Denison for many years as a deacon and trustee until his failing health prevented him from serving in those capacities. He also served with his wife Opal as Mission Service Corps volunteers at Parkside, participating in medical mission trips to the Rio Grande Valley and many mission construction trips , culminating in two mission trips to Russia in 1997 and 1998 where he had the joy of supplying some much needed medications to doctors there. He also was a member of Gideons International and took every opportunity given him to distribute the word of God.
Wilburn is survived by his two daughters and their husbands; Elise and John Ruddell and Esther and Richard Taylor, all of Denison; beloved grandchildren, Melody Ruddell, Houston, Dr. Timothy Ruddell and wife Amy of Sherman, and Hollie Taylor of Denison; beloved great-grandchild Olivia Kate Ruddell of Sherman. Also surviving him are beloved nieces and nephew and many dear friends and fellow servants of God.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Opal Fry; parents, W. S. Fry Sr. and Era Jane Fry; parents-in-law Amos and Ocie Manley; brothers-in-law Oris Manley, Ivan Manley and A. E. Sanders; sisters-in-law Audrey Manley, Rachel Manley and Mabel Ann Sanders.
The family will be at Bratcher Funeral Home for visitation from 5 -7 p.m. Wednesday, December 4, 2013.
A celebration of Wilburn's life will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, December 5, 2013 at Parkside Baptist Church, Denison, with interment to follow at Cedarlawn Memorial Park in Sherman.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Parkside Baptist Church Missions Ministries.
Personal condolences may be made at www.bratcherfuneralhome.com.