James Davenport Armistead ’56

James Davenport Armistead ’56, M.D., of Lakeland, Fla., passed away peacefully at his home Feb. 27, in the presence of his wife, Rita, and daughter, Martha Claire, after a brave, two and a half year battle with cancer. Son of Fabian Spencer Armistead and Mary Martha Davenport Armistead, Armistead was born October 13, 1933, in Bluefield, W.Va., where he grew up as America entered WWII. Later, the family moved to Sebring, Fla. He received a B.S. in chemistry and biology from Davidson and an M.D. from Emory School of Medicine in Atlanta, Ga., in 1960. After retiring from the full-time practice of medicine, he earned an M.A. in modern European history, with a minor in American history, from the University of South Florida in 2006. Armistead served his medical internship and residency at Jefferson Davis Hospital in Houston, Tex., and Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Ga. He served in the U.S. Public Health Service as a senior assistant surgeon, helping to conduct one of the earliest studies of the relationship between diet and atherosclerosis. He practiced internal medicine from 1966 until 2001 at Greenville General Hospital in Greenville, S.C., and at the Lakeland Regional Medical Center (LRMC) in Lakeland, Fla., and was associated with both the Clark-Daughtrey Clinic and the Watson Clinic. After retiring, Armistead served on the emeritus staff of LRMC and practiced part-time with the Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine (LVIM), a volunteer-run medical clinic that provides free quality medical care to the working uninsured of Polk County. In 2009, LVIM honored him as their Doctor of the Year. Armistead possessed a tireless intellectual curiosity, an encyclopedic memory, and a dry and infectious wit. An avid reader, he enjoyed history, biography, and the poetry of Wallace Stevens. In addition, he was an enthusiastic outdoorsman as a mountaineer, hiker, canoeist, bicyclist, and tennis player. He loved his colleagues and the practice of medicine, his family, and his friends. A humble and patient teacher, Armistead was also a hard worker, a generous provider, and brave in the face of all hardships and dangers. Armistead is survived by his loving wife of over 52 years, Rita Marie Pool Armistead, 2340 Jonila Ave., Lakeland, FL 33802-3243; his four children, Mary Katherine Brands, William Spencer Armistead, Martha Claire Kinyon, and Judith Shanley Fitzpatrick; and his eight grandchildren, whom he loved and cherished