David LeGarde McCullough, 84, passed away on October 17, 2022, at Arbor Acres Retirement Community. He fought a long, courageous battle.
Dave was born in Chattanooga, TN, on February 11, 1938, to the Reverend Doctor Henry Antine McCullough and Katherine Johnston McCullough. The son, grandson, and nephew of Lutheran ministers, Dave’s life values of faith, integrity, fairness, humility, and a strong work ethic emerged early in life.
Dave attended public schools in Columbia, SC and Lincolnton, NC. While at Lincolnton High School, he excelled in academics, football, and basketball. Earning a full scholarship in football to Davidson College, he studied Pre Medicine and graduated Phi Beta Kappa and Cum Laude with a BS in 1960. In addition, Dave was awarded a full academic Reynolds Scholarship to Bowman Gray School of Medicine (now Wake Forest University School of Medicine), where he was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha.
Summers during college and after his first year of medical school, Dave worked at a resort in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, where many Southern students were employed. The summer of his fourth year, he met a fellow staff member, Carroll Lisenby, from Alabama. Theirs was an immediate attraction and a serious relationship developed. At the close of the summer season and time to return to separate schools, these two instead chose to elope. Even though the courtship was brief, this loving, devoted partnership lasted 61 years and included moves to seven different states.
Dave and Carroll lived in Winston-Salem until Dave graduated from med school in 1964. During that time, they formed many close relationships and experienced celebrations and sadness with the death of their first child, David L. McCullough, Jr., at one-month-old.
Following medical school, Dave served a surgical internship and first-year surgical residency at University Hospital (Case Western Reserve) in Cleveland, Ohio. After that, he entered the US Air Force serving as Captain in General Surgery for two years in Tampa, FL. Following military service, he was a Urologic Fellow at Baylor in Houston, TX, and then completed his residency in Urology at Massachusetts General Hospital, a Harvard program in Boston. Following residency, Dave joined the faculty in Urology at the University of California San Diego and served as Chief of Urology at San Diego Veterans Hospital. During his time in California, daughters Meredith and Caroline were born.
In 1975, Dave accepted the position of Professor and Chair of Urology at the new University of South Alabama School of Medicine, where he served for five years. While in Mobile, their son, Jay, was born. In 1983, Dave’s alma mater called him back to Wake Forest to be Professor and Chair of Urology, a position he held for 21 years. Following retirement, he served as Professor Emeritus. This period of time was marked by great joy for the family and later profound sadness with the untimely death of their eighteen-year-old daughter, Caroline in 1992.
Throughout his career, Dave achieved great admiration and success in his field, both nationally and internationally. Recognition includes President of the American Board of Urology, President of the American Association of GU Surgeons, American Urological Association (AUA) Board of Directors, President of the Southeast Section of the AUA, Chair of the first national Lithotriptor Committee, Chair of Education with the AUA, selected to represent the AUA in Europe in the exchange program with the European Association of Urology, Distinguished Alumnus Award at Davidson College, Hendrix Award recipient which is presented to a Davidson football letterman who achieves outstanding success in his chosen profession, Medical Association Distinguished Achievement Award at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Hugh Hampton Young Award (one of the top two awards presented by the AUA), and many other accolades. In addition to editing and publishing book chapters and textbooks, scientific articles, and journals, he participated in numerous visiting professorships.
Of course, these awards recognized Dave’s contributions to the medical community, but one of his most significant accomplishments was his title of “World’s Best Grandfather.” Nothing pleased him more than teaching his grandchildren the finer points of making ham and cheese omelets, a perfect batch of homemade popcorn, or enjoying a breakfast spread. Times together at the beach provided many opportunities for storytelling (with eye rolls from Meredith and Jay), jokes, and life lessons. He emphasized the importance of learning new things. His “grandfather name” was Mac, and nothing thrilled him more than when the grandkids could finally say his name and call out to him! He was his grandchildren’s biggest fan and served as a cheerleader from the sidelines in many athletic competitions. He treasured watching his grandchildren play sports. He was a wonderful father, and he was an even better grandfather.
Dave wore many different hats: surgeon, teacher, mentor, leader, family man, and friend. He felt that patient care was a privilege and enjoyed his association with the residents in the Urology program. As a good leader, he taught by example. Even when enduring obstacles, he did so with grace and resolve. He was Dave, Doc, Dr. Dave, Mac, “Muletrain” to his football teammates, and “Good Deal” to his classmates and friends for his ability to find the best bargains. Dave enjoyed learning about his Scottish heritage, history, all things World War II, traveling with family, tennis, investments, life on the water at Mobile Bay, Wake Forest and Davidson athletics, the Panthers, participation in Downtown Rotary, and cheering on his grandchildren.
Dave is preceded in death by his beloved parents, children David and Caroline, and his brother, William McCullough. He is survived by his wife, Carroll, daughter Meredith (Win Welch), son Jay (Nacole), his sister Katherine Trexler (Robert), his sister-in-law Jeanette McCullough and seven grandchildren: Caroline, Edwin, and Henry Welch, Logan Hall, and Eli, Jace and Asher McCullough.
Dave was known for his humble nature, wit, wisdom, and belief that all people were worthy of respect. A celebration of life will be held on October 26 at 11:00 am at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 520 Summit Street, Winston-Salem, NC 27101, with a reception following at the church. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Wake Forest University School of Medicine and reference the McCullough Scholarship Fund in the memo line. Mail to: Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Office of Philanthropy and Alumni Relations, P.O. Box 571021, Winston Salem, NC 27157-1021. Gifts may also be made to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church or to a charity of one’s choosing.