Beloved obstetrician, Blanton, dead at 88

Published 9:56 pm Saturday, July 25, 2009

Selma physician Dr. George Claiborne Blanton Jr. died at Vaughan Medical Center Friday after a lengthy illness. His funeral service will be at 2 p.m. today at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church with the Rev. James Elliot, interim rector, and the Rev. Joseph Knight officiating. Burial will be in Live Oak Cemetery, Lawrence Funeral Service directing.

The family will receive visitors from 1-2 p.m. in the lower hall of the Parish House.

Blanton leaves a medical legacy of more than five decades of practice in obstetrics and gynecology, the first 15 years as the only full-time obstetrician in the Black Belt area, and with the distinction of having delivered 6,949 babies. He was born Jan. 18, 1921, in Selma, the son of Judge and Mrs. George Claiborne Blanton Sr. Blanton often commented that as a youth he had no idea that he would pursue a medical career although he had always wanted to be a physician. In high school, when his friends were enjoying movies and ice cream parlors, he spent his free time observing operations at the local hospital.

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After graduating from Selma Public Schools, he received his A.B. degree from the University of Alabama in 1941, his M.D. in 1944 from the University of California, then completed a rotating internship in 1945. From 1945 to 1947 he served as a captain with the Army Air Corps in Hawaii. After the war, he completed a surgical internship in 1948 at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn.

His Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency was at Jefferson-Hillman Hospital, University of Alabama-Birmingham, from 1949-1952. While completing it, his wife, the former Betty Glancy, taught clinical obstetrics at what is now the School of Nursing in Birmingham. In 1954 Blanton was certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and recertified in1978.

Blanton returned to Selma in 1952, opening his practice, which he continued until retirement in 1983. He first practiced at King Memorial Hospital and after its closing, he opened his office at 714 Alabama Avenue. RN Hazel Ware moved with him and stayed with his practice for 15 years, she says.

“That was in the early ‘50s and I recall working in my white uniform and our doing nearly everything to get the office ready. Dr. Richard Grayson was right across the hall from us. People came from the whole area for Dr. Blanton, who was the only obstetrician here. He was a fine physician and a wonderful person. Upon hearing of his death I telephoned Kay Carter McKinney, who had been the office accountant. She said ‘Dr. Blanton was truly a Southern gentleman.’

“Selma will miss him.”

Dr. Jerry Dillard, now retired, came to Selma from Birmingham to enter practice with Blanton. “His Ob-Gyn experience was extremely helpful to me. Claiborne was not only quite competent, he was personable and caring, a people doctor who took care of his patients and his practice,” he said. “It was a great experience.”

In addition to his practice Blanton maintained an active role in medical organizations. He was a member of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the American Fertility Society, the American Society of Gynecological Laproscoplosists, the Medical Association of Alabama and past president of the Dallas County Medical Society.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Betty Glancy Blanton; his sons, Dr. George Claiborne Blanton III (Rachel), Dr. Donald Walter Blanton (Dr. Judy); his daughters, Barbara Blanton Suess (Dr. Terry), and Nancy Blanton Davis (Alan.) Other survivors are his grandchildren: Elizabeth Blanton Campbell (Brian), William Price Blanton, Daniel Allan Blanton, Donald Claiborne Blanton, Margaret Elizabeth Blanton, Paul Blanton Davis, Alison Marie Suess, Anna Elizabeth Davis and Katherine Ann Suess. Great grandchildren are Rachel Grace Campbell, Amelia Jane Campbell and Michael William Blanton.

Pallbearers will be Daniel Allan Blanton, Brian Allan Campbell, William Price Blanton, Donald Claiborne Blanton, Paul Blanton Davis and Russell Stewart Black.

Honorary Pallbearers are Dr. Jerry D. Dillard, Dr. Phillip Moss, Dr. James Alison Jr., Dr. Sam Moseley, Dr. Park Chitton, John Clark, A.J. Atkins, Seymour Cohn, Jeff Ratcliffe, Freeman Suttle and Catesby Jones.

The family requests memorial gifts be made to AseraCare, 1013 Medical Center Parkway, Suite 103, Selma 36701, or to a charity of choice.