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Dr. Mathis Blackstock

1925 - 2012
Dr. Mathis Blackstock Obituary
A much-loved Austin doctor for whom a longtime family clinic is named died Tuesday of melanoma that had spread. Dr. Mathis Blackstock was 87.

Until about two weeks ago, he remained involved with former patients, doctors and residents (physicians-in-training) at the Blackstock Family Health Center and was planning to lecture residents on facing a terminal illness. He died before he could.

"He was the type of doctor that patients would gravitate to. He knew medicine very, very well, but at the same time, he was interested in what you were going through and what you needed. And it wasn't just you as an individual; he took care of your whole family," said Dr. David Wright, who knew Blackstock for nearly 40 years and practiced with him for about 30.

"He, more than anybody else that has been associated with the training programs, taught all of us ... how to be doctors."

Residents this year who completed a family practice training program that Blackstock developed at University Medical Center Brackenridge, where his namesake clinic is located, gave him a plaque expressing their gratitude, said Blackstock's widow, Mary.

The plaque lauds "his many years as our dedicated teacher, mentor and role model who has shown us all what it means to share wisdom, kindness and compassion."

Patients over the years would call Blackstock at home asking for help, Mary Blackstock said.

Many of them were poor and minority - the kind of patients Blackstock set out to serve back in the 1970s, when he helped found a clinic at the San Jose Catholic Church in South Austin, Wright said.

Blackstock also was intensely interested in geriatric health care and played a key role in creating the Austin Groups for Elderly programs.

"We had a hell of a lot of fun, too," his wife added.

Dr. Dana Sprute, director of the UT Southwestern Austin Family Medicine Residency Program, said Blackstock's long devotion to physician education is a "tremendous legacy."

"The faculty, residents and graduates of our program hope to continue to honor his memory through our practice of medicine and in our reflection of the values Dr. Blackstock practiced every day: those of compassion, empathy and advocacy, particularly for the most vulnerable members of our community," Sprute said in a statement.

A graduate of the University of Texas and the UT Medical Branch at Galveston, Blackstock was honored by the Texas Academy of Family Physicians in 2007 and was named Physician of the Year at what is now UMC Brackenridge in 1981, according to the Seton Healthcare Family, the hospital's operator.

He was among the physician educators who helped pave the way for others to "dream about having a free-standing medical school at the University of Texas," Wright said.

Such a proposal is being championed today by state Sen. Kirk Watson, D-Austin.

"Every day I've been to work for 30 years or so, he's been around," Wright said. "And now I'm dealing with the fact he's not going to be here anymore."

The funeral for Blackstock, who had three children with his wife of 63 years, will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin, 4700 Grover Ave.

Contact Mary Ann Roser? at 445-3619
Published in Austin American-Statesman on July 5, 2012
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