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Obituary for Samuel Claude Zwemer Pickens

Samuel Claude Zwemer  Pickens
BARRE- Samuel Claude Zwemer Pickens passed away on August 1. He leaves behind his beloved wife Florence (Sandy)Pickens, a brother (Peter) and sister (Patricia), four sons, Sam, John, James and Richard, and six grandchildren, Andrew, Sam, Claire, Elliot, Ethan and Violet.

He was born in Nanking, China, in 1927, to missionary parents. He attended the Chefoo School until the Japanese occupation of China. The family was eventually exchanged for Japanese prisoners in Lorenzo Marques, which is now Maputo, Mozambique.

He finished high school in New York State, then attended New York University. He left the university to join the US Navy, where he served as a Chief Petty Officer in the medical service. After the war, he attended Hope College and obtained an MD at Wayne State University. He completed an internship in New Jersey and a four-year general surgical residency at the Memorial Hospital in Worcester, MA, where he became Chief Surgical Resident. Later, he was a Fellow in Orthopedics at Boston City Hospital, where he received the training in hand and reconstructive surgery that would prepare him for his work with leprosy patients in south India.

He and his wife, a nurse, served as medical missionaries in South India from 1960 to 1973. They served first in the drought-prone area of Ramanathpuram (Ramnad), Tamil Nadu. Later, he ran a mission-supported hospital in the city of Madurai and served in leprosy and tuberculosis hospitals in the red deserts of the Palghat gap. In the days before a cure for leprosy, he operated on leprosy patients, transplanting tendons, restoring movement and eyesight to sufferers of the disease.

Upon his return to the United States, he settled in Barre, MA, where he served as a family physician at the Barre Health Center, eventually becoming the Medical Director. He retired from clinical work in 1996 but continued to teach and supervise residents and students in Family Medicine. He was board-certified in Family Medicine and was a member of MAFP, the AAFP, AMA, the STFM and the Worcester District Medical Society.

He was a member of All Saints Church, in Worcester, where he served as both junior and senior warden. In Barre, he was a member of the Emergency Rescue Squad's Board of Directors. He also served for many years on the School Committee, the Board of Health and the Upper Ware River Association. He lectured on Asian history and the Civil War through the WISE program at Assumption College. He was an avid gardener, a stamp collector and history buff. He loved jazz. He always felt that life was a comedy. He enjoyed it most when it was full of laughter. He wanted to "thank God for giving him a wonderful, interesting life and for being with him all the way".

A Memorial Service will be held on Thursday,August 6, 2015 at 11:00AM in All Saints Church 10 Irving St. Worcester. In lieu of flowers,donations may be made in his name to the Barre Family Health Center 151 Worcester Rd. Barre,MA.01005. Pillsbury Funeral Home 96 S.Barre Rd. Barre is directing arrangements. Please visit:Pillsburyfuneralhome.com

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Samuel Claude Zwemer Pickens, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.

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