Charles Wesley Cathey, MD died on Monday, July 22, 2019.
He was born June 14, 1927, in Ardmore to Curtis and Beatrice Cathey. He was smart, adventurous and a bit mischievous.
He believed he was the first to water ski on Lake Murray having built his own water skis that were made of 15 feet long cypress. He and a friend also devised their own diving helmet out of a hot water heater and a bicycle pump to provide air.
Prior to his 1945 high school graduation, at age 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and was stationed on the USS Saratoga in the Pacific. He requested to be part of the medic staff, but was placed in the secretarial pool. He is probably the only sailor to have ever been discharged who did not drink coffee, smoke cigarettes or have a tattoo.
After the war he attended the University of Oklahoma, was a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity and majored in geology. (His father insisted that he have a back-up plan in case he didn’t get accepted into medical school!) The next four years were spent at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine where he graduated with honors. His internship was at Denver General Hospital and his residency in internal medicine and cardiology was at the University of Oklahoma Hospital.
He was one of the earliest members of the Oklahoma City Clinic which he joined in 1957 specializing in cardiology. During that time he was appointed as a Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Oklahoma.
In 1963, Charles implanted the first pacemaker in Oklahoma. It weighed over one pound and wires had to be sewn into the heart. He was instrumental in the development and use of a remote cardiac monitoring system (EKG) which allowed cardiac consultation in small towns where no cardiologist was available. He also worked with a group of physicians to develop an early version of a heart/lung machine which kept patients alive during cardiac procedures. He worked with OU to create the first Cardiac First-aid Station at the football stadium, which set a model for other colleges and universities. He treated all types of patients from an astronaut to politicians to Santa Claus.
We find it very difficult to write an obituary for someone who did so much but avoided the limelight.
He retired from his medical practice after 34 years and was able to pursue his many hobbies including golf, hunting, fishing and precision woodworking. His cabin at Ardmore was a favorite get-away where he served his well-known “killer Margaritas!”
He was proceeded in death by his parents, his sister, Cynthia Jane Coleman, his infant brother, and his wife, Erma Ruth Flickinger, affectionately known as Flick.
His survivors include his daughter, Cynthia Waits (Jim), daughter, Carol Williams (Mark), grandchildren, Cathey Cundiff (Chad), Seth Waits (Sheradon), Amy Hinton (Weston), Bennett Waits (Kimberly) and nine great-grandchildren.
He is also survived by his wife, Paula Loveland Cathey, and her children, Lance Loveland (Mary), Lori Sullivan (Paul), grandchildren, Tara Savadra (Adrian), Michael Loveland, Tiffany Mason (Chase), Melissa Rice (Jon) and nine great-grandchildren.
A memorial service for Charles will held at 11 a.m. Thursday July 25, 2019 at All Souls’ Episcopal Church. The church is located at 6400 N. Pennsylvania Avenue in Oklahoma City.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Texas Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas, Texas or the charity of your choice.