Ray Gardner Witham


Ray Gardner Witham, died Jan. 13, 2004, in Grand Junction, Colo. He was 82.

Witham was born March 17, 1921, in Sydney, Neb.

Witham was one of two children. His father was a dentist, and his mother was a school teacher. He is a well-known member of the Colorado medical community on the Western Slope, having practiced as a surgeon and general practitioner for more than 30 years in Craig. Witham graduated from the University of Nebraska with a B.A. degree in 1942 and a M.D. degree in 1946. He served as a captain in the United States Army from 1946-1948. He completed a surgical preceptorship under Dr. Kenneth Sawyer from 1948-1950. Dr. Witham entered private practice in Craig, from 1950-1981, and he was an associate professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

He was a diplomat at the Academy of Family Practice from 1979-1985, a fellow with Southwestern Surgical, a member of the Colorado Medical Society, where he was president in 1979 and 1980, and a member of the American Medical Association. Dr. Witham was the author of numerous original papers, which were published widely. He was licensed to practice medicine in Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska and California.

Dr. Witham was married to Maxine Witham. They had six children. He viewed himself as a small town country doctor, but in truth he was much more than that. He was a skilled surgeon and was often involved with complicated cases throughout Colorado. He was community minded and brought about significant and positive changes to the rural health care community with his work in dialysis and coronary resuscitation. His involvement in public health brought about important changes to the overall community he served. He was politically active, trying to evoke legislative changes for issues such as the motorcycle helmet laws and teen-age pregnancy.

Dr. Witham is survived by his children Richard Witham, of Las Vegas, Nev., Judith Shipley, of Lake Havasu City, Ariz., Robert Witham, of Grand Junction, Thomas Witham, of Springfield, Ill., and Daniel Witham of Lake Havasu City; eight grandchildren; and five great grandchildren.

Dr. Witham was preceded in death by his wife, Dorothy Maxine, his son, Mark Witham, his sister, Beverly Edelblute, and his brother, Donald Thompson.

Dr. Witham waseulogized in services on Jan. 19, 2004, at the First Congregational Church of Craig, 630 Green St.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations should be made to the Moffat County Hospice, 745 Russell St., Craig, CO 81625.

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