CALVIN H. THIGPEN SR.

The Progress-Index - - OBITUARIES -

Dr. Calvin Her­ritage Thigpen, Sr. of 19801 Oak­land Av­enue, South Ch­ester­field, Va., de­parted this life Satur­day, Jan­uary 7, 2017. He was born Jan­uary 7, 1924, in Greenville, N.C., to Car­rie Wilkins Thigpen and Zeno Thigpen.

He grad­u­ated from Hen­der­son In­sti­tute High School, Hen­der­son, N.C., in 1939 at the age of 15, and shortly there­after, en­rolled in a plumber’s ap­pren­tice pro­gram at the Norfolk Naval Ship­yard. World War II cut short his plumb­ing ca­reer; how­ever, Dr. Thigpen now 18, found him­self in the U.S. Army ba­sic train­ing at Aberdeen Prov­ing Ground, Md. He re­mained at Aberdeen un­til rec­om­mended by his com­mand­ing of­fi­cer for Of­fi­cer Can­di­date School (OCS). He suc­cess­fully com­pleted OCS train­ing at Fort Ben­ning, Ga., and served as a com­mis­sioned of­fi­cer in the In­fantry for five years at a va­ri­ety of state­side and overseas as­sign­ments.

Dr. Thigpen was mar­ried to Vera Craw­ford Thigpen on De­cem­ber 25, 1948. To this union two chil­dren were born, Calvin H. Thigpen, Jr. and Vera Karen Thigpen. In 1949, Thigpen was dis­charged from the Army as a First Lieu­tenant. He re­turned back to Norfolk to re­sume his work at the Norfolk Naval Ship­yard; how­ever find­ing a job proved to be much more dif­fi­cult than Dr. Thigpen had imag­ined.

It was then, he de­cided to en­roll at Vir­ginia State Col­lege (Univer­sity). Dr. Thigpen re­ceived his B.S. De­gree in Chem­istry with dis­tinc­tion in 1953. His first post-col­lege po­si­tion was a teacher in Hopewell Public School Sys­tem, where he re­mained from 1953 to 1958. “That was an ex­cit­ing time for him and his wife.” They were among just a hand­ful of Black pro­fes­sion­als work­ing in the Hopewell area. Teach­ing ul­ti­mately caused him to go to med­i­cal school.

He soon went on to the Univer­sity of Vir­ginia, where he ob­tained his Med­i­cal De­gree in 1962. He be­gan his in­tern­ship at the Med­i­cal Col­lege of Vir­ginia in Richmond, Va. A year later, he opened a pri­vate prac­tice in the City of Peters­burg that flour­ished for over 30 years.

The suc­cess ex­pe­ri­enced in the med­i­cal pro­fes­sion mo­ti­vated Dr. Thigpen to try his hand in the le­gal pro­fes­sion. In 1974, he went back to the Univer­sity of Vir­ginia to earn his Jurisprudece De­gree. From 1974 to 1988, he prac­ticed both law and medicine at the same time at the same ad­dress as the med­i­cal of­fice. Since doc­tors and lawyers work from ap­point­ments, there was never a prob­lem. There were oc­ca­sions when he had to resched­ule an ap­point­ment to be present in court; how­ever that never re­ally ham­pered his prac­tice.

Dur­ing his dis­tin­guished dual ca­reer, Dr. Thigpen has gar­nered a num­ber of awards and ap­point­ments. He was elected both a “fel­low” and a “di­plo­mate” in the Amer­i­can Col­lege of Le­gal Medicine (an honor ac­corded few med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als.) He served on the Board of Vis­i­tors at Vir­ginia State Univer­sity. He also served two terms as Vice Chief of Staff and two terms as Chief of Staff at Peters­burg Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal (South­side Re­gional Med­i­cal Cen­ter). He was Pres­i­dent of the Peters­burg Bar As­so­ci­a­tion. Dr. Thigpen was listed in Who’s Who in the South and South­west, and in the Dic­tionary of In­ter­na­tional Bi­og­ra­phy.

He was a mem­ber of the Sigma Pi Sigma Na­tional Physics Honor So­ci­ety, Beta Kappa Chi Na­tional Sci­en­tific Honor So­ci­ety, the Phi Delta Phil Le­gal Fra­ter­nity and Kappa Al­pha Psi Fra­ter­nity, Inc.

He was pre­ceded in death by his wife, Vera Craw­ford Thigpen; par­ents, Car­rie Wilkins Thigpen and Zeno Thigpen, Sr.; sib­lings, Zeno Thigpen, Jr., Le­land Thigpen, and Hilda Kemp.

Dr. Thigpen leaves to cher­ish his legacy,

his chil­dren, Calvin H. Thigpen, Jr. of Richmond, Va., and Vera Gottschalk (Richard) of Peters­burg, Va.; a de­voted fam­ily friend, Joan Hop­kins of Richmond, Va.; grand­chil­dren, Calvin H. Thigpen III and Shelby H. Hask­ins; two great grand­chil­dren, Madisyn D. Thigpen and Miles P. Hask­ins; and a host other rel­a­tives, friends, col­leagues and ac­quain­tances too nu­mer­ous to name.

Ser­vices for Dr. Calvin H. Thigpen, Sr. will be held at 12 noon Satur­day, Jan­uary 14, 2017, at St. Stephens Epis­co­pal Church, 228 Hal­i­fax Street, Peters­burg, Va., the Rev. Wil­lis R. Fos­ter, Rec­tor. In­ter­ment to fol­low­ing at Bland­ford Ceme­tery.

The fam­ily will re­ceive friends from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Fri­day, Jan­uary 13, 2017, at the fu­neral es­tab­lish­ment.

Fam­ily mem­bers and friends are in­vited to pay fi­nal trib­ute to Dr. Thigpen at www. jmwilk­er­son­since1874. com.

Fu­neral ar­range­ments en­trusted to the staff of the J. M. Wilk­er­son Fu­neral Es­tab­lish­ment, Inc., 102 South Av­enue, Peters­burg, Va., (804)732-8911, www.jmwilk­er­son­since1874.com.

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