Dr. Stephen Thomas Gupton, Jr. died Friday, November 9, 2012 after a lengthy illness. Born in Rocky Mount, NC on January 5, 1931, "Tommy" was the eldest son of Margaret Bradley Parrish Gupton and Stephen Thomas Gupton (also known as "Jane and Steve"). He went to Rocky Mount High School, where he played football. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1953 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, and then attended the UNC School of Medicine, graduating in 1957 as Vice President of his class, and recently serving as President. While in medical school, Dr. Gupton met the love of his life, Helen Coffer; she was working as a nurse at the NC Memorial Hospital. They married June 24, 1956 at Center Methodist Church in Sanford, NC.
Dr. Gupton did his medical internship at the University of Iowa from 1957 to 1958, and was a Lieutenant Commander for the US Public Health Service in Lexington, Kentucky from 1959 to 1961. He returned to Chapel Hill in 1961 to complete his medical residency at the NC Memorial Hospital. In 1963, Helen and Tommy moved to Morganton, NC where he established the neurology clinic at Broughton Hospital, the second oldest state psychiatric hospital in NC. In 1964, they made Raleigh their permanent home. For two years, Dr. Gupton was one of two neurologists, himself and Dr. George Paulson, at Dorothea Dix Hospital, the first state psychiatric hospital in NC. Dr. Gupton was the first neurologist caring for patients in Raleigh and all of Eastern NC; he was a pioneer in establishing scholarly neurology in this region. In 1966, his friend and mentor, Dr. LeRoy Allen, encouraged him to start the first private neurology practice in Raleigh, and Wake Neurology Associates was born. Dr. Gupton's practice cared for neurology patients from all over the state. He was also one of the first physicians to begin the neurology clinic at Wake Medical Center, continuing to see patients there from 1966 until his retirement in 2000. Asked once why he became a doctor, he responded, "I wanted to help people." And help people he did-Dr. Gupton cared for tens of thousands of patients during his nearly 40-year career. When he retired, Wake Medical Center honored Dr. Gupton for his many years of service. In 2005, he was nominated for the Raleigh Hall of Fame.
Throughout his life, "Tommy" cherished spending time with family and friends, and he was especially fond of extended family reunions with Brunswick Stew on the menu. He enjoyed being at the beach with his children and grandchildren, and going fishin' with his buddies, Dr. LeRoy Allen, Al Lathan and Bill Christian. Upon retirement, he and his wife traveled up and down the East Coast to visit their children and grandchildren. He loved to cook, especially during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays-Lemon Thyme Chicken was one of his specialties.
He was a member of many organizations and clubs, including: the NC Medical Society, Wake County Medical Society, The Royster Club Medical Society, Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society, American Academy of Neurology (50-year member), UNC General Alumni Association, US Public Health Service (Lt. Commander), Military Officers Association of America, as well as the Carolina Country Club, Coral Bay Club, and White Memorial Presbyterian Church.
Dr. Gupton was predeceased by his parents, Margaret Bradley Parrish Gupton and Stephen Thomas Gupton, and his brother William Richard Gupton.
He is survived by his wife of over 56 years, Helen Patricia Coffer Gupton; his six children: Deborah Jane Gupton Van Zijl and husband Frederick Glenn Van Zijl of New York, NY, Patricia Diane Gupton Becton and husband Paul Wesley Becton of Raleigh, NC, Stephen Thomas Gupton, III and wife Noelle Uhl Gupton of Berwyn, PA, Mary Catherine Gupton Jurgensen and husband James Scott Jurgensen of Raleigh, NC, John Bradley Gupton and wife Rebecca Lee Rowley Gupton of Wake Forest, NC, and Richard Dalton Gupton and wife Natasha Lea Lancaster Gupton of Ashburn, VA; as well as his 16 grandchildren: Marguerite Ruth Van Zijl, Alexander Glenn Van Zijl, Paul Wesley Becton Jr., John Thomas Becton, Catherine Marie Becton, Anna Elise Gupton, Stephen Thomas Gupton, IV, Virginia Stuart Jurgensen, James Augustus Jurgensen, Anderson Scott Jurgensen, Hanna Christian Jurgensen, John Bradley Gupton, Jr., Sarah Ann Gupton, Jacob Edward Gupton, Madison Annette Gupton, and Mackenzie Lea Gupton. He is also survived by his brothers Walter Elijah Gupton and wife Gail Pittman Gupton, and Frank Robert Gupton and wife Patricia Batchelor Gupton, all of Rocky Mount, NC. Numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and in-laws also survive Dr. Gupton.
Visitation with the Gupton family will be on Wednesday, November 14, 2012 from 6–8pm at Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 300 Saint Mary's Street, Raleigh.
The funeral service will be held on Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 11am at White Memorial Presbyterian Church, 1704 Oberlin Road, Raleigh. Graveside services will follow at Historic Oakwood Cemetery, 701 Oakwood Avenue, Raleigh.
Our sincere thanks to Dr. Gupton's caregivers in 2012, Veronica Kienyi, Mary Kirite and Lucy Kuria.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in honor of Dr. Stephen Thomas Gupton, Jr. to either the American Heart Association (P.O. Box 5216, Glen Allen VA 23058-5216), or the Alexander Family YMCA's "We Build People" campaign (1603 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC 27605).
Condolences may be made through www.brownwynneraleigh.com.