Dr. Joseph Thomas Painter M.D.
1927 - 2017
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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.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Houston Chronicle on Jan. 15, 2017.
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18 entries
January 29, 2021
I didn't know him that long but, he was a good great-grandfather to me and my brother. He served his country and loved his family.
Toby Laird
January 24, 2017
Enrique Paris
January 19, 2017
My deepest sympathy to Dr. Painter's family. Always kind and gentle and a pleasure to work with.

RIP Dr. Painter.
Lorena Collier
January 19, 2017
Mrs. Painter,
JoAnne Hale and I tried to make it to the funeral but due to the weather we were unable to do so. We loved Dr. Painter. We both worked for Dr. LeMaistre and Dr. Painter was across the hall. He was the kindest man and very much a gentleman. Love to you.
Micha Gregory
January 19, 2017
Dr. Painter had been on my mind and today (1/19/17) I went online and found this obituary.

My deepest condolences to his family.

I worked for Dr. Painter at UT M. D. Anderson Cancer Center for many years. He was a true visionary. He was the impetus for, and the brains behind many organizations, e.g., the Texas Cancer Council, funded by the Texas Legislature (just to get funding from that source is quite a feat). He had a tremendous understanding of how to lead organizations and how to lead and inspire individuals. I learned so much from him and I was lucky to have worked with him. I remember his smile and his laugh. Such a kind, gentle and generous man. I will miss him.
Thada Bornstein
January 19, 2017
General Medical Council of Spain
January 17, 2017
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Barbara Jones
January 17, 2017
I am saddened by Joe's passing. He was a guide and mentor to me both as a member of the Executives Association of Houston and as a member of the Board of the Texas Cowboy Alumni Association. We traded stories of great times as Texas Cowboys and discussed his ideas on making them great at UT.
Bill Cobb
January 17, 2017
Joe & the Painter Family, please accept my condolences and sympathy for your loss. What an interesting life story. May you find peace in his memories and knowing he is with almighty God. May his memory be eternal.
Dimitri Karageorge
January 17, 2017
I heard the death of Dr Joseph Painterwith sadness.

I knew this man very well in particular when he was president of the Council.

He did his job with efficiency and serenity but, with a great kindness.

Nobody will forget him.

I would like to express my condolences to his family but also to the Worl Medical Association for whom he will be a great loss.

Dr Roland LEMYE
Roland Lemye
January 17, 2017
My sincere condolences Dr. Painter was my excellent friend and supporter during the period of my presidency of the WMA (1999-2001). I shall never forget.
Prof. Jaroslav BLAHOS, MD, DSc.
January 16, 2017
I am so sorry for your loss. Remember the good times.
January 16, 2017
I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Dr. Painter as a Physician and Chair of our World Medical Association.

As a former Chair I am well aware that the legacy we enjoy today is built of the Legends of yesterday. For that guidance, wisdom, vision and forethought I am truly grateful.

I would like to express condolences from myself and my family to the family, friends and colleagues of Dr Painter and wish that they find comfort and he finds eternal peace.

Dr Mukesh Haikerwal
2005-2007 Australian Medical Association President
2011-2014 World Medical Association Chair of Council
Mukesh Haikerwal
January 16, 2017
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January 16, 2017
Dear Colleague, rest in peace.

Serbian Medical Chamber
January 16, 2017

The World Medical Association sends its condolence to the family and friends of Dr. Joseph Painter.

Dr. Painter has been one of the most prominent leaders in organized health. He served the World Medical Association as its Chair of Council form May 1993 to May 1995. Dr. Painter has been an integrative power in international medicine, bringing voices and opinions from all parts of the globe together. He chaired the organization in a time of change with many countries turning to democracy and allowing their professionals engaging in our organization. His work has helped to shape the organization in a globalizing world and preparing it sucessfully for outreach.

The WMA will keep Dr. Painter in good memory.

Dr. Otmar Kloiber
WMA Secretary General
Otmar Kloiber
January 14, 2017
Tina and I send our condolences and prayers to you and the entire Painter family...may God's grace be with you always.
David and Tina Lopez
January 14, 2017
I didn't know you but I know your beautiful daughters. I know you will be missed. God bless you and praying for your family.
Susan Turner
Susan Turner
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