Donald Warren Tharp, M.D., 87, of Indianapolis, passed away Monday, October 28, 2013 at Community Hospital North, Indianapolis.
He was born September 13, 1926, a 3.7 pound twin to the late Frederick Estle and Lelia Mae (Jett) Tharp in Johnson County, Indiana near the Brown County line -- or "on the Brown edge of Johnson County," as he loved to say. His paternal ancestor Morgan Pitcher built a log cabin there in 1839 and was one of the area's first settlers.
Dr. Tharp graduated from Ninevah High School where the majority of the classroom scenes were filmed for the movie "Hoosiers." He earned his B.A. from Franklin College in 1946, aided by an Ella Pitcher Berry Scholarship and graduated from Indiana University School of Medicine in 1950. There he met nursing student Joanne Carolyn Hunt, the love of his life to whom he was married for nearly 64 years. They married November 25, 1949. Serving with his beloved older brother Harold, a surgery resident, he completed his internship at Methodist Hospital in 1951. He enlisted in the United States Public Health Service from 1951-1961 caring for Coast Guardsmen and Merchant Marines in Chicago, Detroit, Cape Hatteras, North Carolina and New Orleans. While in North Carolina, he was the only physician for 3 1/2 years on the isolated Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands. In New Orleans, he completed his residency training in ophthalmology (eye surgery) and otorhinolaryngology (ear, nose and throat surgery) and was amongst the last physicians trained in both disciplines in the United States. He received his board certification in Ophthalmology November 1, 1962.
Dr. Tharp practiced in Muncie from 1961-1977 before moving his practice to Winchester where he oversaw operations of his Randolph County farms. He retired from medicine in 1993. He enjoyed wilderness backpacking and hiked extensively throughout his life with family and friends, traveling to Yosemite and the Sierras, the Grand Canyon, the Rocky Mountains and points along the Appalachian Trail. Most of all, he loved spending time with his family.
He was a member of First United Methodist Church, Winchester and attended St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Indianapolis. He was a member of the Muncie and Winchester Rotary Clubs for 47 years and a board member of Earlham College's Yokefellow Institute. He was instrumental in the capital campaign to fund the present Randolph County YMCA facility. Additional memberships included the Delaware and Randolph County Medical Societies, Indiana State Medical Association, American Medical Association, Indiana Academy of Ophthalmology and American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Survivors include his loving wife, Joanne; his daughter, Carol Tharp-Perrin (Larry Gindhart) of Indianapolis; a son-in-law, Wayne Bloomquist of Indianapolis; sons, David H. Tharp, M.D., (Beth) of Cicero and Andrew W. Tharp, M.D, (Patricia, M.D.) of Evansville; twin brother, David Wayne Tharp (Martha) of Southport; sister, Doris Tharp Hollis of Fremont, Ohio; sisters-in-law, Lois Tharp of Frankfort and Florine Tharp of Indianapolis; 17 grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and a wealth of cousins, nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; an infant sister, Virginia; his daughter, Katherine Jo Bloomquist; and brothers, Harold R. Tharp, M.D., Howard M. Tharp, and John D. Tharp, M.D.
Memorial services are 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9 at the Presbyterian Church in Winchester at 201 E. Franklin St. with visitation beginning at noon prior to the service. Pastor Heather Foley of Winchester First United Methodist Church will officiate. Burial is at Fountain Park Cemetery, Winchester.
Visitation is 4-8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8 at Randall and Roberts Mortuary, 12010 Allisonville Rd., Fishers. Online condolences may be expressed at www.randallroberts.com.
Memorial contributions may be made to Winchester First United Methodist Church, 313 S. Meridian Street, Winchester, IN 47394; Randolph County YMCA, 1521 E. Washington Street, Winchester, IN 47394; Westminster Village North Foundation, Inc., 11050 Presbyterian Drive, Indianapolis, IN 46236.
The family expresses thanks to Community Home Health Hospice and Dr. Tharp's caregivers. They extend special appreciation to Keith L. Hayes for his many, many months of extraordinary care and friendship.
Randall & Roberts Funeral Homes
12010 Allisonville Rd. Fishers, IN 46038
Published in the Winchester News-Gazette on Nov. 2, 2013