Carl Marvin Voyles Jr.
November 3, 1922 - December 31, 2020
Anna Maria, Florida - Carl M. Voyles, M.D., died at 98 years of age on December 31, 2020. He did not make it to his goal of being 100, but we think God has given him extra credit for the amazing life he has lived. The family celebrates his life with memories of his service to others, to his country, his accomplishments, his adventures, his continual desire to learn, practice new skills and his joy for life.
Carl had been a resident of Anna Maria for over thirty years. He was a familiar participant in recent local veterans' events as he proudly wore his navy captain's uniform - he could still fit into it! He was a founding member of the Artists' Guild of Anna Maria. His focus then was writing. Through that organization, in 1989, he met his future wife, Joan Abrahamson Voyles.
Together they enjoyed a life highlighted by a shared and growing interest in the visual arts. Their home is filled with drawings and paintings, some documenting his travels including focuses on France, Iceland, Venice, Vietnam, Colorado and Maine. He also enjoyed working in the backyard of his Anna Maria home with his various types of bamboo - "I always wanted to live in a bamboo forest." Just a few blocks away, the CMV (his initials) on the Anna Maria City Pier sign indicates his poetic contribution to the island he loved. For years, the couple did long swims in the Gulf or Bay with snorkels and fins. Then golfing at nearby the Key Royale Club became a focus for him. One year he won the club "Over 75 Men's Golf Championship."
On November 3, 1922, Carl M Voyles, Jr., was born in Duncan, Oklahoma, to Gertrude Hall Voyles and Carl Marvin Voyles, Sr. Because his father was a college football coach, the family moved to various college communities. Carl, Sr., was an assistant coach at the University of Illinois in the days of Red Grange and Bob Zuppke and young Carl knew these men. Then when his father was recruited to be part of the Duke University coaching staff, the family moved to Durham, North Carolina, where he completed his high school education. He became an avid, lifelong basketball "Dukie."
When Carl, Sr., became head football coach at William and Mary College in Williamsburg, VA., Carl, Jr., enrolled in William and Mary as a premed student. It was during this time, on a Sunday morning, that Carl Jr., recalled hearing car horns honking and people shouting that Pearl Harbor had been bombed. Just a few days after the dramatic start of the United States involvement in World War II, Carl Jr., enlisted.
With the vision that medical people were needed in the pipeline, Carl was part of an accelerated medical program at Duke University Medical School during the war. He interned at Johns Hopkins and then was drafted. As part of his military training, he became a flight surgeon, a doctor who cared for the pilots. Flight surgeons learned to fly so they could be more understanding of the pilots they treated. Because of his early flight training, he became an avid X-Plane pilot on his desktop computer and would spend hours "flying."
After his military service, Carl returned to Duke and completed advanced medical training in Cardiology/Internal Medicine under the infamous Dr. Stead. When his specialized medical training was complete, he moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, and opened a cardiology practice with fellow Duke graduate, Dr. Charlie Rast. Their office was across the street from what is now Bayfront Medical Center, then Mound Park Hospital. Those were busy days of house calls in the middle of the night and visiting patients in three hospitals before office time.
In 1966, Carl volunteered for a three month American Medical Society program to help the Vietnamese people during the war. He served in the civilian hospital in DaNang, South Vietnam. His work with this hospital and the Vietnamese changed him and the direction of his career. The notes of his experiences were dictated and mailed home where his daughter, Kitty, typed them. These experiences were shared periodically in the St. Petersburg Times. They were later formalized in his book, "Vignettes of Vietnam."
After his three month stint in Vietnam, Carl returned to the states, but not to private practice. He had been invited to help doctors at the Hue Medical Hospital and School but needed additional training stateside. The "training pause" saved his life as the Hue Hospital was overrun by North Vietnamese soldiers. The entire medical staff was slaughtered. He enlisted in the Navy and was loaned by the United States government to the South Vietnamese government to return to Da Nang and formally help with training of South Vietnamese medical students. These experiences were creatively woven into the plot of another of his books, "Voyage in a Red Canoe."
Carl was awarded the Legion of Merit for his dedication and service in Vietnam. He came home from Vietnam to a Navy career stateside. He was Chief of Outpatient Services at Bethesda Medical Center which served many political leaders including presidents. He worked in Navy Hospitals in Newport, Rhode Island, the submarine community at Kittery, Maine, and was in charge of the U.S. Navy Hospital in Iceland for two years before retiring in 1984 with thirty years military credit. Another of Carl's books, "Angles and Dangles and other Sea Stories" reflects some of these experiences.
Carl chose to spend his retirement life in Anna Maria, Florida. He enjoyed visiting his daughter's family in Windermere, Florida, and sailing in his sailboat "Eight Bells." He was a true Renaissance man. He did writing as a food critic. He learned new things like playing the bagpipe and making stained glass windows, painting and more. Carl continued as a doctor serving islanders and tourists in a walk-in clinic in Holmes Beach, FL. For twenty-five years he worked for Manatee County Health Department. He was always a bit embarrassed, but pleased, when the Manatee County Commission designated February 15, 2015 as "Dr. Carl M. Voyles Day" for his service to the county. He said he learned much from the youth in the Juvenile Detention Center and enjoyed using his basic French and Spanish language skills with Immigration & Naturalization Services, County Jail and Public Health clinics. He enjoyed working with all the interesting populations served by this important community agency. He loved the staff and people with whom he worked.
Carl is survived by his wife, Joan, daughter, Kitty and her husband, Richard Gonzalez, two grandsons; Ryan and Drew Gonzalez of Windermere, Florida, step-son, Erik Abrahamson of Sarasota, FL and nieces and nephews in Florida. He was predeceased by son, Carl Michael Voyles, and brother, Robert Voyles. Duke and Carolina are his beloved dogs. Special appreciation goes to Tidewell Hospice and the staff at the Health Center in Westminster Point Pleasant in Bradenton, Florida. With the COVID-19 pandemic, plans are private within the immediate family, at this time. Cremation is being handled by Brown and Sons Funeral home.
Published by Bradenton Herald on Jan. 10, 2021.