Dr. Luther Hall Clontz, Sr., 77, of Riverside Drive, Morganton, died Monday, April 20, 2009, at his home. Born in Burke County on March 19, 1932, he was the son of the late Vester Herman Clontz, Sr. and Annie Ophelia Butler Clontz. He was of Protestant belief and faith. He was a graduate of Morganton High School where he was a member of the National Honor Society. Dr. Clontz received his Bachelor of Science and M.D degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and was a general practitioner for 50 years. While at the University, he was a member of Alpha Epsilon Delta National Premedical Honorary Society and was initiated into Phi Beta Kappa.After receiving his M.D. degree in 1957, he joined the U. S. Navy and served his internship at the Charleston Naval Hospital where he served aboard the U.S.S. Rushmore and U.S.S. Freemont achieving the rank of Lieutenant. Following his three years in the Navy, Dr. Clontz returned to Morganton and became a partner in the Kibler-Hogshead-Clontz Clinic. During his medical career he served as Director of Medical Services for the NC Department of Health and Human Services at Western Carolina Center, served with the NC Division of MHDD and Substance Abuse at Broughton Hospital by helping launch the Alcoholic Rehabilitation Center in the early 1960s. Through his work at local state institutions, Dr. Clontz was an advocate and supporter of the well-being of developmentally disabled citizens, children, senior adults, and various volunteer service organizations on the local, state, and national levels.He also served as Medical Director for the NC State Government of Corrections at both Foothills Correctional Institution and Western Youth Institute. As owner and president of Burke Medical Consultants, Dr. Clontz served as director of medical services for nursing and rehabilitation centers throughout western North Carolina and for the Burke/Catawba District Confinement Facility. He also practiced at Drexel Medical Associates with Dr. Clyde Dellinger.Dr. Clontz retired from active practice in 2007. His love for family and practicing medicine were his lifelong passions. He was a voracious reader of science, literary classics, poetry, and history, and he enjoyed classical music. A faithful Tarheel fan and Rams Club member, he attended UNC-Chapel Hill football and basketball games. Dr. Clontz was a member of the Medical Alumni Association and was a lifetime supporter of the UNC-CH Medical Alumni Loyalty Fund and the Educational Foundation.Family survivors include his wife, Laura Clawson Clontz, of the home; children, Geoffrey A. Clontz, Sr. and his wife, Pamela, of Hickory, Deborah L. Clontz Barham and her husband, William Titus, of Hickory, Dana L. Clontz of Claremont, and Luther "Luke" H. Clontz, Jr. of the home; grandchildren, Geoffrey A. Clontz, Jr., R. Brandon Watts, Aubrey B. Draughn, and her husband, Justin, Anna L. Barham, and Thomas S. Clontz; and great-grandchildren, Emilie Clontz and Jackson B. Watts. He is also survived by his siblings, Nadine Clontz Browning of Morganton, Vester H. Clontz, Jr. and his wife, Elma, of Great Mills, MD, Vance S. Clontz, Sr. and his wife, Kathie, of High Point, Mary Catherine Clontz Browning of Connelly Springs, and Dr. Franklin D. Clontz and his wife, Jean, of Longwood, FL; and numerous cousins and a host of special nieces and nephews and their families. He is also survived by Ruth Cagle Clontz, the mother of their children.In addition to his parents, Dr. Clontz was preceded in death by sisters, Lucy Clontz Johnson, Louise Clontz Baker, and Ruby Clontz Allman; brother, Leroy H. Clontz, and brother-in-law, Steve R. Clawson.Those special people in his life include his parents-in-law, Robert and Betty Clawson, of Morganton; brother-in-law, Scott Clawson, and his wife, Heather, of Pinehurst, NC; loyal co-workers and friends, Margaret Browning, Robi Baker, Dr. James Collett, Dr. Jim Madison, Drs. Azmi and Maha Jarrah, Tom Walton, Debbie Morgan, Richard Gardin, Judy Thomas, Belinda Helms, and Juanita Fickling..Dr. Clontz was thankful for special friendships with Renee Martin Smith, Peggy Crotts, Frances Breeden, Mike Ayotte, Rita Russ, Chasity Poteat-Lehn, Sara Lou Byrd Succop, Janet Littlejohn, OCNUB Ladies, and the Smith, Martin, Rudicill, Reep, Black, Noyes, Lyday, Bennett, Simpson, Leonard, Eubanks, Mould, Biggerstaff, Meise, Baker, Shuffler, Revis, Riddle, Gooch, Rountree, Stephens, and Sharp families.A memorial service of Thanksgiving for the life of Dr. Clontz will be held at 5:00 p.m. Wednesday, April 22, 2009 in the Colonial Chapel of Sossoman Funeral Home with Rev. Katherine Clontz, Sherrill Rev. Dr. Thomas A. Bland, and Mr. Vester H. Clontz, Jr. officiating. An informal gathering of family and friends will be held immediately following the service. A private memorial ceremony for the scattering of ashes will be held at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Memorial Grove Garden this summer.The children of Dr. Clontz, Geoffrey, Deborah, Dana, and Luke, and his wife, Laura, respectively, have designated the following memorials in lieu of flowers, Greater Hickory Cooperative Christian Ministries, 31 1st Ave SE, Hickory, NC 28602, Creative Concepts-Integrative Medicine, LLC, C/O Deborah C. Barham, PO Box 11012, Hickory, NC 28603 (Dr. Clontz encouraged the completion of his daughter’s research/publication, A Century of Alzheimer’s Disease (1907-2007) Changing Focus-From Memory Loss to the Stress of Life.) This composition will be dedicated to the memory of Deborah’s father; Cornerstone Counseling Center and Christian Academy, 263 3rd Ave. NW, Hickory, NC 28601; the Library Foundation of Burke County, 204 S. King St., Morganton, NC 28655; or the Preschool Program of First Baptist Church, PO Drawer 459, Morganton, NC 28680.The family extends their heartfelt thanks to special care-givers, Reba Miller and Julia Cook of Handi-Care, Morganton Internal Medicine, Valdese Cancer Care Center, Blue Ridge Nephrology, Grace Heights Rehabilitation Center, Fresenius Burke County Dialysis, Carolinas Medical Transplant Center, Burke Pharmacy, Medical Transportation, Inc., Blue Ridge Home Health, Burke Hospice and Palliative Care, Morganton Service League, and the Serendipity Sunday School Class and office staff at First Baptist Church of Morganton.
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