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William P. McElwain MD, MPH


1933 - 2018
William P. McElwain MD, MPH Obituary
MCELWAIN William P. "Buddy", MD, MPH, 84, passed away on March 13, 2018. Born to the late Paul and Ina McElwain, he graduated from Daviess County High School, Murray State University, University of Louisville School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins University. He joined the United States Public Health Service following an internship and two-year residency that included surgery, pediatrics, internal medicine and obstetrics, and after serving at reservation hospitals in Gallup NM and Ft Defiance AZ completed a residency in Public Health at the Oklahoma Health Department. He served in the Public Health Service in Silver Spring, MD for eight years. Returning to Kentucky in 1968, he was the Associate Director of the Fayette Co. Health Department and in 1970 was appointed Commissioner of Health by Governor Louie B. Nunn. He also served Governors Wendell Ford and Julian Carroll before beginning private practice. Dr. McElwain made house calls, delivered babies and never turned away patients who could not pay. In 1994, he began practicing at Rockcastle Regional Hospital and Respiratory Care Center. During more than 40 years of public health service, he was Secretary of the State Board of Health, President of the Board of Medical Licensure and President of the Kentucky Association of Public Health Physicians. Buddy was especially dedicated to his role as Executive Vice-President for Medical Affairs for the Kentucky Health Care Access Foundation, now Health Kentucky, founded by Governor Brereton C. Jones to provide health care for people who fell below the poverty line but did not qualify for Medicaid. Dr. McElwain preached and taught the gospel for more than 60 years. His teaching included his children, who all taught Sunday school classes. He also passed along to them his work ethic, and the importance of education and gratitude. He was preceded in death by his sister, Ina Ruth, and a son, Harold Timothy McElwain. He is survived by his brother: Bob McElwain (Marge), children Paul McElwain, David McElwain, Nancy Curtis (Mark), Ruth Childers and Brandon McElwain (Janette); grandchildren Atherton McElwain, Rachel McElwain, Caitlin McElwain, Emily Curtis Petty (Jackson), Abigail Curtis, Megan Curtis King (Daryl), Havana Childers, Ashley McElwain Hutcheson (Michael), and Austin McElwain, and three great grandchildren. The family appreciates the compassionate care provided by the staff of Baptist Health Lexington, the hospice team at Bluegrass Care Navigators and The Breckinridge, and the continued love of the staff of Rockcastle Regional Hospital. A private service will be observed. Donations in his memory may be made to The Miracle Fund, Rockcastle Regional Hospital, 145 Newcomb Avenue, Mt. Vernon KY 40456.
Published in Lexington Herald-Leader on Mar. 18, 2018
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