BALD HEAD ISLAND — Dr. Thaddeus Bryan “Thad” Wester, 90, passed away Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017.
Dr. Wester was born Dec. 25, 1926, in Henderson, N.C., the son of the late Millard Winston Wester and Della Bryan Wester. A veteran of World War II, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy Air Corps, served 2 ½ years and was discharged as a lieutenant.
Dr. Wester graduated from Duke University in 1946 and Duke University Medical School in 1950. Dr. Wester was a practicing pediatrician for 30 years and was the co-founder of The Children’s Clinic in Lumberton, N.C. He was the first pediatrician in Robeson County.
Dr. Wester served as the health director of Robeson County for 3 ½ years, Deputy State Health Director for eight years, a trustee at Duke University for 12 years, a corporate member for Duke University at Research Triangle Institute, and president of the North Carolina Health Directors in 1987. Dr. Wester served as the chief of staff at Southeastern General Hospital, was president of the Robeson County Medical Society, president of the North Carolina Medical Society in 1995, and president of the Duke Medical Alumni Association 1981 to 82.
He was a senior warden, vestryman, superintendent of Sunday schools, and lay reader at Trinity Episcopal Church in Lumberton.
Dr. Wester was the first mayor of the Village of Bald Head Island. He was the founding president of the Bald Head Island Property Owners Association and the founding president of the Bald Head Island Conservancy. He was dean of the Thad Wester Fishing School, run by the conservancy. Dr. Wester was a master gardener, and it was a large and delightful part of his life.
Dr. Wester was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award, Duke University Medical Center, in 2001; Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, 1978; Outstanding North Carolina Health Director, 1986; Order of The Long Leaf Pine from Governor Hunt, 1994; U.S. Public Health Service Medal, 1993; Honorary Member NC Pediatric Society, 1993; honorary member and director emeritus Bald Head Island Conservancy, 2001; Who’s Who in South and Southeast, and is the name sake of the Thad B. Wester Community Award, presented annually to the outstanding community in health promotion and disease prevention.
Dr. Wester is survived by his wife, Lee Wester; son, Bryan Wester, and his wife, Janet, of Southport; three daughters, Ellen Wester of Southport, Ginny Reeves, and her husband, Tom, of Greenville, S.C., and Amanda Kidd, and her husband, Henry, of Raleigh; brother, Hut Wester of Henderson; eight grandchildren, Lee Pridgen, John Pridgen, Thad Wester, Katherine Wester, Marion Reeves, Wes Reeves, Matt Kidd and Will Kidd; and six great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by a brother, M.W. Wester.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17, at Trinity Episcopal Church in Lumberton with a reception following. Another memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, in the Bald Head Island Village Chapel, also with a reception to follow.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial gifts be made to The Bald Head Island Conservancy or the North Carolina Medical Society Foundation.
Online condolences may be made at www.peacocknewnamwhite.com.