Thomasville Times Enterprise

November 19, 2013

Richard Wingfield Garnett, Jr.


THOMASVILLE — Richard Wingfield Garnett, Jr. departed this life in the early hours of November 12, 2013, following a severe stroke. He died peacefully, knowing the love and concern of many friends, the staff of the Colonnades, and family members who shared his last days and hours.  Dr. Garnett was born on March 27, 1915, near Charlottesville, Virginia to Richard Wingfield Garnett and Edwina Leavell Garnett. When he was five, the family moved to Danville where he, his brother Hugh, and his sisters Margaret and Cornelia, grew up and attended school. His father was a public health doctor, serving as Health Officer for the city of Danville. Following his father's footsteps, Dr. Garnett attended college and medical school at the University of Virginia. During World War II, and after his marriage to Margaret Titus of Thomasville, Georgia, in 1941, he served as ship's doctor on an oil tanker supplying Allied forces in the Pacific. After the war, accompanied by Margaret and sons Rick and Nelson, he was the commanding officer of the base hospital on the island of Majuro in the Marshall Islands, a time he described as a "high point".  Following his Navy service, he returned to Charlottesville for a residency in psychiatry at the University of Virginia. He remained at the medical school as a professor and clinician throughout a long and productive career, and was a pioneer in the area of community mental health. Several years after the death of Margaret in 1992, Dr. Garnett married her cousin, Hettie Love Wine, remarking playfully that among the advantages of this alliance was "no new relatives".  During his 20 year marriage to Hettie Love, Dr. Garnett resided in Thomasville, Georgia, where he earned wide respect and affection as a docent at Pebble Hill Plantation and the Museum of History, and as a volunteer doctor helping indigent patients with applications for medical assistance. He was active in the Thomasville Rotary Club and in a writers group, as well a serving on the board of the Cultural Center. In recent years, as his health declined, Dr. Garnett returned to Charlottesville, residing at the Colonnades where he received excellent geriatric care.  He enjoyed many happy hours visiting with his family and others at his daughter’s home in Sugar Hollow.  Dr. Garnett is remembered by his children as a kind and loving father, who made time from his busy professional life for camping, fishing, sailing, horseback riding and generally partaking with them of the beautiful ambience of Albemarle County, which he loved and where he always felt at home.  A long-time member of Thomas Jefferson Memorial Unitarian Church, Dr. Garnett had an enduring love for things of the mind, literature, science, history, philosophy, and stewardship of nature, which he imparted to his children. He was generous almost to a fault, and virtually every member of his large extended family can attest to his timely assistance in times of special need.  Dr. Garnett was predeceased by his beloved wives, Margaret Titus Garnett and Hettie Love Garnett, and his son Theodore Garnett.  He is survived by four children, Richard Garnett III, Nelson Garnett, Margaret Sewell, and Joseph Garnett, by his step-daughters Margaret Chesnut, Libby Menger and Susan Kuhlman, by his eleven grandchildren and thirteen great-grandchildren, and by a large number of friends, relatives and caregivers who will miss his gentle spirit, inquiring mind, subtle humor and unfailing support. — Hill & Wood, Charlottesville, VA