UNION — Dr. Paul Kent Switzer Jr., a beloved family physician from Union, South Carolina, died on Dec. 22, 2012 at the age of 95. Family, friends, colleagues and patients will miss his compassionate spirit and quick-witted humor.
Born on July 26, 1917, Dr. Switzer was the son of the late Mollie Layton Switzer and Dr. Paul Kent Switzer Sr. of Union. He graduated from Union High School in 1934 and Clemson College in 1938 where he received the College English Medal. He studied medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, graduating with honors in 1941.
After completing an internship at Gallenger Hospital in Washington, D.C., Dr. Switzer applied for a commission in the United States Army. During World War II, he served with the 58th Armored Field Artillery Battalion as Battalion Surgeon in North Africa, Sicily, France, Belgium and Germany. He received the Silver Star for his courageous actions during the Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. He also received the Purple Heart for shrapnel wounds.
After being discharged honorably from the Army as a Major, Dr. Switzer returned to the Medical University of South Carolina for post-graduate work as a resident in internal medicine. Upon completion of his residency, he successfully passed his post-graduate board examinations and was certified as a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine.
Following his residency, Dr. Switzer worked as an instructor at MUSC, where he taught and did extensive original research on sickle cell anemia, rheumatic fever and alcohol abuse, publishing several papers on these subjects. Due to his clinical and academic achievements, Dr. Switzer received the distinction of becoming a Fellow of the American College of Physicians.
Although Dr. Switzer was well suited for the field of academic medicine, he felt duty bound to return to Union, South Carolina to join his father’s medical practice. For almost 60 years, Dr. Switzer tirelessly served the residents of Union County as a primary care physician until his retirement at the age of 90. During his career, Dr. Switzer resided as Chief of Staff and Chairman of the Board at Wallace Thomson Hospital.
A follower of the Christian faith, he was a life long member of Grace United Methodist Church. In the community, he was an active member of the Rotary Club and a Paul Harris Fellow. He was also a member of the Carolina Yacht Club in Charleston and the Piedmont Club in Spartanburg.
Over the years, he was a recipient of numerous awards including the Order of the Palmetto in 2011 and the Union County Centennial Cornerstone Award in 2012.
Aside from medicine, Dr. Switzer along with his brother, the late James Layton Switzer, was an owner of Cross Arrows Farm, a working dairy farm in Enoree, SC. In this capacity, he promoted the Golden Guernsey breed, producing several champions on the state, regional and national levels. For his contribution to the Guernsey Breed, the South Carolina Guernsey Cattle Club named him Honoree of the Year in 1977.
Dr. Switzer is survived by his wife, Toccoa Wise Switzer of Union and children, Paul Kent Switzer, III (Augusta) of Columbia SC; James Layton Switzer (Elizabeth) of Spartanburg, S.C. and Toccoa Bailey Switzer of Charlotte, N.C. and five grandchildren.
The funeral will be held at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 26 at Grace United Methodist Church in Union, South Carolina. A reception in the church fellowship hall will immediately follow the committal service.
Active Pallbearers will be Scott Fant, William Jeter, Carlisle Oxner III, Norris Fowler, Dr. David Berry, Dr. David Keith and Trip Sheorn.
The Union Rotary Club, Bannie Kennedy and Dr. Stan James are asked to assemble at the church at 10:45 a.m. to form the Honorary escort.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Union County Carnegie Library, 300 East South St., Union, S.C. 29379 as well as to Grace United Methodist Church, 201 South Church Street, Union, S.C. 29379.
SR Holcombe Funeral Home