Katherine Deaton, MD

Obituary of Katherine Deaton, MD

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Katherine Hunter Deaton, MD, 68, died in Sumter, SC on March 25, 2023, after a courageous 31-year battle with Parkinson’s Disease. Katherine was born in Columbia, SC on May 6, 1954. She spent most of her childhood in Sumter, but lived in England, Spain, France, and West Germany while her father, a USAF pilot, was stationed overseas. She finished high school in 1972 at Wilson Hall in Sumter, where she excelled as a student athlete and was the MVP of both the varsity basketball and varsity softball teams. Katherine was a 1976 graduate of Converse College, where she double majored in biology and chemistry and was a member Gamma Sigma, Converse’s highest academic honor, and Mortar Board, a national honor society for college senior women. She earned a master’s degree in Anesthesiology and Life Support Systems from Emory University in 1978 and qualified as a master’s level physician’s assistant in anesthesia but decided to pursue her lifelong dream to become a doctor instead. Just a few weeks after completing Emory’s MPA program, she enrolled at the Medical University of South Carolina and received her MD in 1982. After completing her internship and residency in general pediatrics at Emory, Katherine served in the USAF for four years, where she was Chief of Pediatrics, first at Moody AFB in Valdosta, GA and then at Robins AFB in Warner Robins, GA. Katherine joined Pediatric Emergency Medicine Associates in Atlanta in 1989, working in the pediatric emergency rooms at Scottish Rite Children’s Medical Center and Gwinnett Medical Center. At the time, hospitals had just begun opening pediatric emergency rooms, so Katherine was an early practitioner in this new field, and she loved every minute of the demanding but rewarding job. Diagnosed only three years later with early onset Parkinson’s Disease, Katherine continued to work as a pediatric ER doctor until 2004. She moved to Sumter in 2005 to be closer to her parents and was able to live independently until 2017, when she moved to Covenant Place in Sumter. While she was able, she enjoyed spending summers at her parents’ home in Blowing Rock, NC. Despite the challenges of living with Parkinson’s Disease for over thirty years, Katherine’s deep Christian faith never wavered, and she bore witness to God’s abiding love with her positive attitude. She used to say, “When life give you lemons, make lemonade!” Her tenacity, strength, courage, hope, and faith were an inspiration to all who knew her. In 2003, friends and family members of Katherine and her dear friend Andy Salisbury, who also had early onset Parkinson’s Disease, created the Close to a Cure fund to raise money for Parkinson’s research initiatives at Duke, Emory, and other leading medical centers. The fund kicked off its campaign with appearances in Charlotte, NC by former US Attorney General Janet Reno and boxing champion Muhammed Ali, raising over a million dollars for Parkinson’s research before the fund closed in 2008. Katherine was predeceased by her mother, Louise Boyle Deaton; her father, John Monaghan Jumper; and her father, Rex Allen Deaton (who adopted Katherine when she was five). She is survived by her sister Mamie (“Mimi”) Deaton Arnold, Mimi’s husband Marks, Mimi’s children, Sophie Lucas, Hardin Lucas and his wife Charlotte, and Pearse Lucas, and Marks’ daughter, Texie Arnold, all of Charlotte, NC; and Marks’ daughter, Sara Camp Arnold Milam, her husband Kirk, and their children Sally and Kirk, of Oxford, MS. Katherine’s family is grateful to Leola Sessions and the staff at Covenant Place, who so capably and tenderly cared for her the last few years, and to Ron Flax for his steadfast friendship and support. A service celebrating Katherine’s life will be held at the Church of the Holy Comforter in Sumter, SC at 3 PM on Wednesday, March 29th. The family will receive friends immediately following the service in the church Parish Hall. A private burial will be held at Sumter Cemetery. Memorials may be sent to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, Grand Central Station PO Box 4777, New York, NY 10163; https://www.michaeljfox.org/ or the charity of your choice. May we love one another as Christ loved us. Elmore Hill McCreight Funeral Home and Crematory, 221 Broad St., is in charge of the arrangements. 803-775-9386. On-line condolences may be sent to www.sumterfunerals.com