Charles Edward White, M.D.
1935 - 2013
Charles Edward White, MD died suddenly on October 22, 2013 after a short illness.
A native of Memphis, TN he received his undergraduate degree from University of Memphis where he was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha and he graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, Memphis, TN in 1961 where he was a member of Phi Chi Medical fraternity. He completed general surgery training at Methodist Hospital, Memphis, TN and his plastic surgery training at the University of Mississippi, Jackson, MS under Dr. James Hendrix. He was board certified by the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Dr White was an Associate Professor of Plastic Surgery and Chief of the Section of Plastic Surgery at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine until 1996. His professional memberships included the American Association of Plastic Surgeons, American Society of Plastic Surgery, American Medical Association, Plastic Surgery Educational Foundation, Tennessee Medical Association, and the Southeastern Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon. He was also a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and was a founding physician of The Clinic of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in Memphis.
Charlie served as a Sargent in the U.S. Marine Corps before college where he played in the Marine Corps Band. He retired as a Captain, Medical Corps, U.S. Naval Reserve and was called to active duty during Desert Storm. It was during this time that I first got to know Charlie when he was activated to serve at Naval Medical Center San Diego, CA. This is when I first learned some of his principles of plastic surgery that I have passed on to residents training in Memphis after Charlie stepped down as chief. My favorite Charlie White rule of plastic surgery is “don’t do a smart operation on a dumb patient.” Those that trained under Dr White’s leadership heard this and many other pearls that I’m sure have helped them in their careers as plastic surgeons. He was a true academic plastic surgeon with a keen knowledge of anatomy and how it relates to surgery. He often told his residents: “I will teach you how to think and operate as a plastic surgeon, but I expect you to also learn to live like one.”
Dr. White had a strong love of music and learned to play piano at an early age. He started playing saxophone in jazz bands at 15 and was playing in clubs with Charley Jones and his Skyliners. He continued a long history of playing piano and saxophone, enjoying jazz for decades. He was a founding member of the Memphis Doctors Dance Band and active member for well over 40 years. He was a patron of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Orpheum Memphis and past president of the Memphis Wine and Food Society.
His beloved wife, Marge Thrasher White and his parents, Cleo and Marvin White of Memphis, preceded Charlie in death. He leaves a large family, including three children, four stepchildren and thirteen grandchildren.
The one statement he always told residents on the first day of their training was to be sure to leave the residency program better than it was when they started. Indeed, Dr. Charles E. White, with all of his talents, left this world in a better condition than when he arrived.
Robert D. Wallace, M.D.
William L. Hickerson, M.D.