Dr. Joseph Thomas Painter, M.D.
passed away peacefully with his family by his side on Wednesday, the 4th of January, 2017. He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather and dedicated his life to serving his family and others. Dr. Painter was born in Austin, Texas on the 2nd of October, 1927 to Anna Thomas Painter and Theophilus Schickel Painter. In 1948, Dr. Painter met his wife of almost 66 years, Ann Hill Painter of Austin, Texas. They married on the 20th of January, 1951. Together they raised four children – Joseph T. Painter, Jr. and his wife, Melody, Sally Bock and her husband, Darrell, Martha Sheeder, and Elizabeth Volmert and her husband, Jim. Dr. Painter was pre-deceased by his parents, his sister, Elizabeth Hutchins, and his daughter, Martha Sheeder. He is also survived by his brother, Dr. Theophilus S. Painter, Jr. and his wife, Dee, his sister, Ann Greer, and his eleven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, who knew him as "Papa." After graduating from Austin High School in 1944, Dr. Painter completed his pre-medical studies at the University of Texas at Austin in 1945. In 1949, at the age of 21, he graduated valedictorian of his medical class at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. Thereafter, Dr. Painter started his internship and residency in internal medicine and cardiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in 1949. His training was interrupted by the Korean War in 1951. At that time, Dr. Painter joined the United States Air Force and was given the rank of captain, serving as a medical doctor in San Antonio. After completing his service in the military, Dr. Painter returned to Philadelphia and finished his medical training in 1954. He then came back to Texas to enter private practice as an internist and cardiologist in Houston. He continued his private practice until 1975, at which time he decided a different career path in cancer prevention was his calling, and he became a Professor of Clinical Medicine and Vice President of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Painter served in various administrative roles at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center until his retirement in 1994. Dr. Painter served as President of the American Society of Internal Medicine from 1970 to 1971, Chairman of the American Medical Association from 1990 to 1992, President of the American Medical Association from 1993 to 1994, and Chairman of the World Medical Association Council from 1993 to 1995. Dr. Painter received the Ashbel Smith Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1985 from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, the Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1994 from the University of Texas at Austin, and the Distinguished Service Award in 1994 from M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Growing up just blocks away, the University of Texas at Austin always held a special place in Dr. Painter's life. While attending college there, he was a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity and the Texas Cowboys. Dr. Painter was also a long time member of First Presbyterian Church of Houston, the Executives Association of Houston and the Houston Country Club. Away from the medical profession, Dr. Painter was a man of many interests, but the apex of his life was his family. From traveling with friends and family, to joyful times spent at the "Bay House" on Trinity Bay, to hunting at the deer lease near Marble Falls, to fishing in Port Aransas, to growing irises in his gardens, to watercolor painting, Dr. Painter always exhibited a zest for life and a kindhearted spirit which touched his family and everyone he met. Many of the family's fondest memories of "Papa" were the times spent at the Painter Farm in Centerville, Texas. After his retirement, Dr. Painter spent most weekends there with his family. During the days there, you would always find him outdoors -- mending fences, building barns, repairing equipment, raising Longhorn cattle and horses, riding his red tractor, or gardening. But, during the evenings, Dr. Painter could be found relaxing in his favorite chair or sitting on the back porch, sharing stories and making memories with those who mattered the most to him. A soft-spoken man who lived his life to its fullest, Dr. Painter was an exceptional example to his children and grandchildren of the value of honesty, perseverance, generosity, loyalty and devotion. He was a consummate gentleman who never forgot the importance of treating others with the utmost dignity and respect. This sense of decency was apparent in every aspect of his life; to his wife and family, friends, and professional colleagues. A memorial celebration of his life will be held on Wednesday, January 18, 2017, at 11:00 a.m., at First Presbyterian Church, 5300 Main Street, Houston, Texas, with a reception following. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Martha Painter Sheeder Endowed Scholarship in Nursing (www.baylor.edu/giving/sheeder
- please click "give" within Martha's scholarship and, on the next page write "Martha Sheeder" under "in memory of") or the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, P. O. Box 4464, Houston, TX 77210-9554.