Dr. westerFormer North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) President (1994-95) Thaddeus Bryan (“Thad”) Wester, 90, of Bald Head Island passed away on Feb. 12. Dr. Wester joined the NCMS in 1954 and was an active leader in the organization for many years, serving as President and on the NCMS Foundation’s Board of Trustees from 1993-2002.
Dr. Wester was born December 25, 1926, in Henderson. He was a veteran of World War II, where he enlisted in the Naval Air Corps and served two and a half years and was discharged as a lieutenant. Dr. Wester graduated from Duke University in 1946 and Duke University Medical School in 1950. He was a practicing pediatrician for 30 years and was the co-founder of The Children’s Clinic in Lumberton. He was the first pediatrician in Robeson County.
Throughout his life Dr. Wester held many leadership positions, both in health care and in his community. He served as the Health Director of Robeson County for three and a half years, Deputy State Health Director for eight years, and President of the North Carolina Health Directors in 1987. In addition to his service to the NCMS, he was the Chief of Staff at Southeastern General Hospital, President of the Robeson County Medical Society and President of the Duke Medical Alumni Association 1981-82.
He was a Senior Warden, Vestryman, Superintendent of Sunday Schools, and Lay Reader at Trinity Episcopal Church in Lumberton. a Trustee at Duke University for 12 years, a Corporate Member for Duke University at Research Triangle Institute, and 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, a large and delightful part of his life.
Among his many honors, Dr. Wester received 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; was listed in the Who’s Who in the South and Southeast, and is the namesake 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; a son, Bryan Wester and wife Janet of Southport; three daughters, Ellen Wester of Southport, Ginny Reeves and husband Tom of Greenville, South Carolina, and Amanda Kidd and husband Henry of Raleigh; a 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.
Our thoughts and sympathies are with Dr. Wester’s family.