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Elizabeth R. Cary, M.D.

Elizabeth R. Cary, M.D. (who was also known by her married name of Elizabeth Harper) passed away peacefully at her home on Friday, May 31, 2019.
Dr. Cary was born in Huntington, West Virginia to Mary and John Robert Cary, Sr. After living in Huntington, West Virginia and Rome, New York, her family settled in Dayton, Tennessee. Dr. Cary knew she wanted to be a physician from the time she was in elementary school and spent her high school breaks working as an aide at the local hospital. Her interest in medicine was further kindled by a local doctor. In 1956, she graduated from Rhea Central High School as valedictorian. She graduated college from the University of Tennessee, where she was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
In 1959, Dr. Cary entered Tulane Medical School in New Orleans, Louisiana, one of only a few females in her class. She described those years as magical but difficult. After graduation from medical school, Dr. Cary continued her medical training with a rotating internship at Parkland Memorial Hospital (associated with Southwestern Medical School) in Dallas, Texas. She was on duty in the emergency room the day President John F. Kennedy was fatally shot and brought to the hospital. She returned to New Orleans and completed additional training in internal medicine, hematology and clinical pathology at Tulane Medical School, Charity Hospital, and Ochsner Hospital.
Dr. Cary worked as Chief, Clinical Pathology at the VA Medical Center in New Orleans, until transferring upon her marriage in 1972 to the VA Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi. In Jackson, she continued as Chief, Clinical Pathology, and maintained that position until her death. In 1995, the VA Washington, D.C. appointed Dr. Cary as Regional Commissioner to oversee compliance with laboratory practices in government hospitals and clinics in several states. Also, in 1995, the College of American Pathologists appointed her as Mississippi State Commissioner to assist in appointing inspectors for laboratories, assist in training inspectors, and evaluating post-inspection reports. Dr. Cary was a member of the American Society of Clinical Pathology and the College of American Pathology.
While she was passionate about her profession, Dr. Cary also had many other interests. She loved being a parent and enjoyed traveling both domestically and abroad with her daughter. Dr. Cary was actively involved with Ballet Mississippi for many years, even serving on the Board of Directors. Over the years, Dr. Cary had several Cavalier King Charles Spaniels whom she adored. She was a member of the American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club, USA, and spent several years showing her dogs.
Dr. Cary was also an avid gardener and tried to have something blooming in her yard throughout the year. She was known for her needlepoint, particularly her Christmas tree ornaments. Many of her needlepoint ornaments were copies of the angels on the Christmas tree at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. She developed an interest in needlepointing angels when she was pregnant with her daughter, often saying her daughter was God’s angel to her and her husband. Dr. Cary was a member of St. James Episcopal Church.
Dr. Cary was predeceased by her parents and her husband, Nolan Sidney Harper. She is survived by her daughter, Elizabeth Harper Emmett (Robert) of New Orleans, Louisiana, and their children, John-William and Harper; her brother, John Robert Cary, Jr. (Edie) of Telford, Tennessee; her sister Mary Margaret Lineberry (William) of Asheville, North Carolina; and a number of nieces and nephews. The family wishes to thank the sitters from Oxford Healthcare, her neighbors and friends, and her physicians who all took such good care of Dr. Cary in her last months.
A memorial service will be held at St. James Episcopal Church in Jackson, Mississippi on Wednesday, June 5, 2019 at 2:00 p.m., with a visitation to take place from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made in Dr. Cary’s name to St. James Episcopal Church or Ballet Mississippi.


Elizabeth R. Cary, M.D.
December 21, 1937 - May 31, 2019




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