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Thomas Finley Newcomb M.D.


1927 - 2019
Thomas Finley Newcomb M.D. Obituary
NEWCOMB,
THOMAS FINLEY
Thomas Finley Newcomb, M.D. died in hospice on 23 Sep 2019 at the Duke Hock Family Pavilion in Durham, NC. He was 92. Dr. Newcomb moved to Florida in 1959 to become a Professor of Medicine and Head of Hematology and later Biochemistry for the University of Florida. He moved across the street from Shands in 1968 and began his Federal Service as the Associate Chief of Staff for Research and Education at the nascent Gainesville Veterans Administration Hospital. In 1972 he accepted a position at the V.A. Central Office in Washington, D.C. as Director Medical Research Service. He served both V.A. headquarters and the Gators until moving to Texas in 1978.
Born in Buffalo, June 1927, to the Rev. Dr. Thomas and Naomi Newcomb, Tom grew-up in Pittsburgh. He put off college to join the Navy during World War II serving as a Pharmacist's Mate 3rd Class from 1945-1947. Despite being a physician and serving twice as a V.A. hospital Chief of Staff he often bragged about being a Navy Corpsman to garner better credibility with his Veteran patients.
Following school at the University of Pittsburgh in 1951, he was a Research Fellow in Hematology in Seattle and a Fulbright Scholar in Medicine researching in Norway. He taught at Harvard Medical School and served as the Associate Director of Hematology at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston.
Dr. Newcomb moved to Chapel Hill in 1985 after serving as Chief of Staff at the Audie L. Murphy Memorial V.A. Hospital in San Antonio. He was also a Professor of Medicine and Associate Dean for Veterans Affairs for the University of Texas.
He served as the Chief of Staff at the V.A. Medical Center Durham and as Associate Professor of Medicine and Associate Vice Chancellor Health Affairs for Duke University. For two years he was the Acting Director V.A. Medical Center Durham and from 1988-1995 served as the Director, Regional Medical Education Center Durham.
Dr. Newcomb became Associate Professor Emeritus of Medicine at Duke in June 1998 and retired as Veterans Affairs Medical Center Durham CoS in 1999, but continued to serve Veterans as 'just a Doc' performing exams at a V.A. Clinic until the age of 81 retiring from government service in 2008
While in Washington and for years afterwards Dr. Newcomb testified numerous times before Congress advocating for hospital and research budgets targeted for Veteran's health care regardless of service connection. Board Certified in four states in Internal Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology, Dr. Newcomb practiced medicine for over 63 years. Following patients for decades he published over 25 medical research articles. His research and practice is now complete, but thanks to the Duke University Anatomical Gifts Program he will receive his final wish, self-prescribed in 2007, posthumously continuing to teach by donating his body for training the next generation of medical professionals.
Ultimately he will rest when interned at Arlington National Cemetery.
Published in Gainesville Sun from Sept. 29 to Sept. 30, 2019
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