Hattiesburg Clinic Mourns the Loss of a Founding Physician
Hattiesburg Clinic Mourns the Loss of and Remembers Dr. Richard Clark, a Founding Physician
It is with heavy hearts Hattiesburg Clinic mourns the loss of Dr. Richard Clark, one of the true pioneers of health care in South Mississippi.
In 1963, Hattiesburg Clinic opened its doors for the first time with 10 physicians and 14 employees. Dr. Richard Clark, a general surgeon, one of those original founders, passed away Sunday, Sept. 5. He was the last surviving member of that group of innovators that built what has since become the largest physician-owned multi-specialty clinic in the state. In the 58 years since it was started, Hattiesburg Clinic has grown to over 450 physicians and advanced practice providers spanning 52 locations in South Mississippi, and has a base of over 2500 employees. Most importantly, millions of patients have received world class health care in their local communities because of the vision of these founding members.
Dr. Clark’s medical career was highlighted by his special interest in vascular and thoracic surgery. He was described by many as having a professional confidence that provided assurance you were in the best care. This excellence in care was a reflection of how he served others. In an interview in 2013, Dr. Clark stated, “The idea behind starting the clinic was that we wanted to be able to serve our patients…We believed that a good doctor was a servant, and that’s what all of us were.”
In addition to his primary duties as a physician, Dr. Clark served in many leadership roles inside and outside of the clinic. He participated on and ultimately guided the physician body as president of the clinic’s board of directors. Moreover, in the 1970s, he was instrumental in helping establish the Southeast Mississippi Air Ambulance District which created a system of organized helicopter services that served rural areas of our state. He worked in various other leadership positions before retiring in 1997. In 2009, he was in the first group of physicians to be inducted into the Forrest General Healthcare Foundation’s Doctors Hall of Fame, which was one of many awards and accolades he received for his service to our community.
In one of his final communications prior to his retirement in 1997, Clark said, reflecting on his time, “I look back on all of this with great pride; but let me tell you that the vision is for the great future.” Clark continued, “The secret is cohesiveness, intelligence, cooperation, integrity, and forthrightness.”
Facing some of the most challenging times in our history over the last 18 months fighting a global pandemic, we should look no further for guidance than the foundation that was set by Dr. Clark and his peers: K. Ramsay O’Neal, MD; Glen T. Pearson, MD; Gerald P. Gable, MD; William R. Raulston, MD; H. Lamar Gillespie, MD; Charles E. Guice, MD; Frederick E. Tatum, MD; Dawson B. Conerly, Jr., MD; and William J. Huddleston, MD.
Hulett-Winstead Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements for Dr. Clark. Visitation will be Friday, Sept. 10, from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. at Main Street United Methodist Church, 712 Main Street in Hattiesburg. The funeral service will immediately follow at 11:00 a.m.
Memorials may be sent to Pine Burr Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America or the Aldersgate Mission of Main Street United Methodist Church.