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Jefferson McDowell ‘Jeff’ Flowers Jr., 90, trauma doctor who implemented an EMS system in South Korea

Jefferson McDowell 'Jeff' Flowers
Jefferson McDowell ‘Jeff’ Flowers

SOUTHPORT — Dr. Jefferson McDowell “Jeff” Flowers Jr., 90, died peacefully at his home Tuesday morning, Sept. 3, 2019. He was born Jan. 30, 1929, in Dallas County, Texas.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Jefferson McDowell “Mac” Flowers Sr. and Mary Lois York Flowers; and brother, Herschel H. Flowers. He also joined five of his children who went to be with our heavenly Father.

He is survived by his sister, Betty Linton of Black Mountain; and his wife of 21 years, Pat Flowers of Southport. He was a devoted father to 14 children, grandfather to 24 and great-grandfather to nine children.

Jeff grew up in Texas and was a cowboy through and through. He often lived on a ranch and rode longhorn cattle. He was a graduate of Erskine College in Due West, South Carolina, where he played football. He graduated and became a chemical engineer for Dupont. He enlisted in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and served two years as a tank captain that led the surge into North Korea. Upon return from the war, Jeff enrolled at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina, to get his medical degree and doctorate. In 1957, at 28 years old, he graduated and began a 57-year career of practicing medicine.

He was a general practitioner for 20 years and worked hard to further education for others practicing medicine. He then moved on to emergency medical services (EMS) and established and opened the first Trauma Center at Citizens Medical Center in Victoria, Texas. He also worked as the EMS Director for all of Victoria County and surrounding area. He was everyone’s friend, doctor, hero, and fondly earned the name, “Papa Doc,” to all who knew him.

When not working at saving lives and improving the health of others, he worked to change the community as a whole. Papa Doc supported local football teams by being the team doctor and performing physicals for all the players. He also was very fond of flying; he was a pilot and owned his own small aircraft company helping others realize their dreams of flight and aircraft ownership. Papa Doc was committed to saving lives and couldn’t quite stick with retirement. His first of six retirements was in 1996 from Citizens Medical Center. He refused to sit still, so he proceeded to travel to South Korea and started the first ever EMS system there. He implemented and taught the South Koreans on how to operate an effective system, and, to this day, Papa Doc’s photo hangs in most firehouses and hospitals throughout South Korea.

Throughout his attempts at retiring, Papa Doc worked for years at Refugio County Memorial Hospital in Refugio, Texas; Dosher Memorial Hospital in Southport; Jackson County Hospital in Edna, Texas, and traveled as a locum tenens physician throughout Wadesboro, Williamston, Duplin and surrounding counties in North Carolina. Eventually, his body kept him from continuing his practice, but his mind was sharp until the very end, and he continued to educate and teach doctors and nurses, even through his own failing health while being in and out of the hospital in recent years.

Despite his work ethic and non-stop desire to help others, Papa Doc found time to enjoy many hobbies. He loved to travel with his wife to Texas and Alaska (his two favorite places on this earth). He was an avid hunter, fisherman and woodworker. He loved to play golf and was quite accomplished throughout his lifetime on courses across the country. However, he saw his family was his greatest accomplishment in his life, and his greatest blessing. His humor, oft-told stories, and larger-than-life persona will live on for generations to come through his family and friends who knew and loved him. He left this world much better than he found it, and he inspired others to do the same! He will be greatly missed!

A celebration of life service will be held at 3 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 21, at Peacock-Newnam & White Funeral Home, Southport. The family will be at the funeral home until 5 p.m. following the service. There will also be a celebration of life service in Victoria, Texas, on Veterans Day weekend. Details for this will be shared at a later date.

Share online condolences with the family at Peacock-Newnam & White Funeral and Cremation Service.

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