First African American man graduate, College of Medicine 1971.
Bernard Winford Deas, Jr., M.D., fondly known as Bernie, was born July 12, 1944, to the late Bernard Winford Deas, Sr., and Ethel Fludd Deas. He departed this life on June 29, 2012. He was educated in the public schools of Charleston, SC where he graduated valedictorian of the Burke High School Class of 1961. He attended Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa where he was named a Distinguished Military Graduate and commissioned a second lieutenant upon his graduation in 1966. He went on to attend the Medical University of South Carolina and has the distinction of being the first African American to graduate from the college of medicine.
After receiving his Medical Degree he enlisted in the U.S. Army Medical Corp. He served his country at Fort Sam Houston, TX; Fort Bliss, TX; and Fort Benning, GA. His most recent tour of duty was served at White Sands Missile Range, NM where he served as the Commander of Health Services Command at White Sands Medical Health Clinic. He retired in 1994 with the rank of Colonel. Throughout his military career, he was active in both military and civilian community service.
As a medical oncologist, he touched many lives with his gentle, caring bedside manner. He received many awards and citations from the Army and the Medical University of South Carolina: National Defense Service Military Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Legion of Merit, and MUSC’s Distinguished Medical Alumnus, 1992. In 1996, he was recognized by the Avery Research Center of Charleston, celebrating the South Carolina Low Country’s Rich African American Heritage. In 2006, the Medical University of South Carolina established the annual Bernard W. Deas, Jr. Diversity Award which is given to a deserving medical student.
He became a Christian at an early age at Emmanuel A.M.E. Church and remained faithful throughout his life. He loved music, gardening, traveling, and collecting model trains. He also was a faithful fan of the Dallas Cowboys. He married Gloria Piñon on July 17, 1982.
He leaves to cherish his memory, his wife Gloria; a daughter, Christy Deas Charleston (Jerome); a son Melvin Guy Forisha; three grandsons, Miles, Mason, and Ethan Charleston; two sisters, Joan Marshall, and Mary Deas; three sisters-in-law, Luana Piñon Cruz, Graciela Piñon and Monika Piñon and two brothers-in-law, Elfego Piñon, Jr., and Robert Piñon; nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand nephews and a host of other very special relatives and friends. Visitation will be held Tuesday, July 3, 2012, from 5 pm to 9 pm at Martin Funeral Home West with a 7 pm memorial service. Funeral Mass will be held Thursday, July 5, 2012, at 9:30 am at St. Matthew Catholic Church. Interment at Ft. Bliss National Cemetery.
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