Charles Whitney Caulkins 1923-2016

Charles Whitney Caulkins, Jr., M.D. died peacefully on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016, at Summit Square in Waynesboro, Virginia.  He was born on December 18, 1923 in Whitemarsh Township, Pennsylvania, the eldest of four sons of the Reverend and Mrs. Charles Whitney Caulkins.

He was preceded in death by his parents and his wife of 63 years, Jennie Kennedy Caulkins.  Survivors include his sons:  Dr. Dave Caulkins and wife Pat of Waynesboro; Dr. Mike Caulkins and wife Dr. Pam Caulkins of Lynchburg; grandchildren: Sarah and her husband Scott Krzastek, Whitney, Martha and her fiancée Brian Benzel, and Landon.  Other survivors are brothers Reverend Tom Caulkins and wife Ann of Murfreesboro, NC; Stanley Caulkins and Roger Caulkins and wife Elizabeth of Leesburg, VA.

Dr. Caulkins attended the University of Richmond where he enlisted in the Navy V-12 program and transferred to the Medical College of Virginia (MCV) Medical School.  He began his surgical training at Vanderbilt University and completed his training at MCV.  During this time, he was called to active duty in the Navy Medical Corps and spent two years in Japan during the Korean War.

In June 1955, he began his private surgical practice in Waynesboro, VA, continuing until his retirement in December 1988.  At the time of his retirement, his son David was also practicing surgery in Waynesboro and his son Mike and daughter-in-law, Pam, had begun their family medicine practice in Lynchburg, VA.

He held many leadership positions serving the local medical staff and area medical organizations.  He became a Diplomate of the American Board of Surgery in March 1956, and in October 1958 Dr. Caulkins became a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.  He was the first physician to serve on the Waynesboro Community Hospital Board of Directors.  During this busy time he also served as Waynesboro High School football team doctor, attending almost all of their games at home and away for 25 years.  He was inducted into the Little Giants Hall of Fame in 2001 and was an honorary Little Giant.  He took an active part in the early organization of the Augusta Free Clinic.

Dr. Caulkins was selected as Waynesboro’s Outstanding Young Citizen of 1959 by the Jaycee Club.  He was the first president of Schola Cantorum. Other leadership roles held were in the Waynesboro Community Fund Drive, Chamber of Commerce Board, Rotary Club, YMCA Board, Waynesboro Cancer Society Board, AARP, and the Waynesboro Game and Fish Protective Association.  He had a particular passion for the Boy Scouts of America taking pride his entire life in having achieved the rank of Eagle Scout.

He was a charter member of Westminster Presbyterian Church, and served as an original member of the Board of Elders.  He served as a leader in many areas of the church, but especially within the music program where he sang tenor in the Chancel Choir for over fifty years, played in both Bell Choirs, and sang in the Hearts of Praise.

Dr. Caulkins was known not only for his leadership, his humor, his faith, and his music, but mostly for his integrity and childlike wonder of everyday life.  This wonder led to his many hobbies included fishing, golfing, traveling, listening to music, and shell collecting.  He took great pleasure in entertaining both his grandchildren and children in the community with amateur magic tricks and the magic of Santa.  In all his roles as father, grandfather, husband, physician or community leader, he showed a quiet strength, leading with integrity and faith.  He never complained, never said an unkind word, and never met anybody he didn’t like.

All his accomplishments aside, Dr. Caulkins will be remembered most fondly for his easy smile, his corny puns, his occasionally inappropriate jokes, the magic tricks in his pockets, the barbeque and peanut brittle recipes in his wallet, and his good natured banter with his wife.  His home was a place of welcome and familiarity.  His love of bacon and chocolate was surpassed only by his love of animals, especially dogs (who all knew that next to him was the best seat at the dinner table).  He loved and catered to his grandchildren, who are the beneficiaries of many fond memories of family reunions and vacations at Clearwater Beach and Disney World.

At Summit Square, he received wonderful care from the staff spanning his time in independent living, assisted living, and health care.  The family wishes to especially thank Dr. Chris Heck and the staff at Summit Square for their kind and thoughtful care during his last few weeks.

The family will receive friends on Tuesday, January 26 at McDow Funeral Home between 6 and 8 pm.   A memorial service celebrating his wonderful life will be conducted at 11:00 am on Wednesday, January 27 at Westminster Presbyterian Church by the Reverend April Cranford.  A reception will follow in the church fellowship hall.

In lieu of flowers, those wishing to honor Dr. Caulkins are asked to consider support of the music ministry of Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1900 Mt. Vernon Street, Waynesboro, VA.  22980.

McDow Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.  Condolences may be shared on line at

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