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Dr. Clifton ‘Cliff’ Lamar Hester, Jr., 90, a U.S. Air Force veteran and physician who treated thousands of Mississippians over four decades and who had an eye for detail and nuance that would serve his patients and delight his family, died Monday, January 3, 2022.

Visitation with the family will be Friday, January 7, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. at Wright and Ferguson Funeral Home in Clinton, followed by a private graveside burial service at the Clinton Cemetery.

Cliff was born on September 19, 1931, in Calhoun City, Mississippi, to Mary Gladys Mallory and Clifton Lamar Hester. His family moved to Clinton, Mississippi when he was quite young, and he grew up there in the First Baptist Church, graduating from Clinton High School where he was recognized as an exceptional student and athlete.

Steered toward medicine by his father, Cliff excelled on his path toward becoming a doctor. He was quietly competitive: a college track stand-out and a football running back at Mississippi College. He graduated with distinction, earning his Bachelor of Science in 1953 from Mississippi College. He then attended Tulane University School of Medicine where he received the Hauser Award in Pathology, graduating in 1956. Following medical school, he completed a rotating internship at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson in 1957.

While waiting to enter active duty in the U.S. Air Force, Cliff completed an internal medicine residency at Memorial Medical Center in Williamson, West Virginia in 1958. It was there that this earnest, hard-working physician met the love of his life, Cora Lee Hatfield, who worked at the medical center.

The two were united in marriage and moved to Massachusetts, where they began their happy life together as he served as a physician at the Otis Air Force Base Hospital in Falmouth, MA. Cliff excelled at the hospital where he served as Chief of the Medical Section and Officer in Charge of the X-ray Department before being honorably discharged as a Captain.

The Hesters returned to Mississippi where he practiced general medicine in Raymond from 1960 to 1967 and where Cliff and Cora Lee began raising their growing family. Cliff strongly believed his early career as a primary care physician in small town Raymond made him a better specialist. Patients showed up at his clinic or even knocked on his door at home with a range of ailments. But his eye for detail—and abnormalities—led him to his calling as a radiologist. In 1967, he entered a three-year general and diagnostic radiology residency at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, where he served as chief resident, originated the radiology vascular program, and served as an instructor of radiology.

He practiced at the Radiological Group in Jackson from 1971 to 1986, and he joined the staff of Mississippi Baptist Medical Center, where he served in numerous leadership roles including president of medical staff, chief of vascular and computed tomography, in 1986 he founded and became the director of outpatient Radiology Imaging Center and director of Magnetic Resonance Imaging. He served as president of the Mississippi Radiological Society, was honored as a Fellow to the American College of Radiology, and the first physician in Mississippi to utilize a magnetic resonance imaging machine. He was, for his physician colleagues, the go-to diagnostician who could spot, analyze, and relentlessly research the most complex sets of presenting symptoms in patients.

Dr. Hester, quiet but with a quick wit and a keen eye, was known for his grace, his love for his family, the finest of wines, bird hunting, fly fishing and fly tying, and professionally for his expert diagnostic talents as a radiologist. Cliff thoroughly enjoyed his retirement years as a dual resident of Miramar Beach, Florida and Clinton, Mississippi. Throughout his life he served his country and his community and held an abiding faith in God and a deep love for his family.

Cliff is survived by his loving wife of 63 years, Cora Lee Hatfield Hester. Cliff is also survived by his daughter Clare Leslie Hester and her husband, Jack Steven Nail, of Madison, Mississippi; by his daughter Nancy Catherine Hester of Clinton; and by his son Clifton Lee Hester of Jackson. He is also survived by his step grandchildren David Lawrence Nail and his wife Erin of Brandon, Mary Alex Doyle and her husband Harrison of Pensacola, Fl, Jack Stephen Nail, II and Nicholas Christian Nail of Madison, and three great grandchildren. Cliff is preceded in death by his parents and his only sibling, Mary Hester Treloar.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Andrews Episcopal Cathedral, 305 East Capitol Street, Jackson, Mississippi 39201 or St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, 5930 Warriors Trail, Vicksburg, Mississippi 39180.


Dr. Clifton "Cliff" Lamar Hester, Jr.
September 19, 1931 - January 3, 2022





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