“Doc” Paul Decamp



Published by  on December 26, 2012 | Edit

In Memoriam

Paul Decamp (February 26, 1915-August 5, 2012)

Paul Decamp (February 26,1915 – August 5,2012)

Doctor Paul T. DeCamp was inducted into the Louisiana Tennis Hall of Fame in 2003.

Paul DeCamp was born in 1915 in Korea, where his parents were missionaries.

He earned his undergraduate degree from Wheaton College and a medical degree form the University of Pennsylvania.  After an internship and residence in Texas, he came to New Orleans in 1944 for a surgery fellowship at Tulane University School of Medicine.  He had a second fellowship a year later at Ochsner and joined the surgery staff in 1946.

Except for the time at Charity Hospital and Tulane, as well as two years in the Army in the 1950s, Dr. DeCamp was at Ochsner until he retired in 1985.

The following was written by John Pope for the Times-Picayune on August 7, 2012.

                          Surgeon and Tennis Champ Paul DeCamp dies at 97

“Dr. Paul DeCamp, a surgeon who achieved renown in the operating room and on the tennis court, died Sunday at Ochsner Medical Center. He was 97.

Dr. DeCamp, a cardiovascular surgeon at Ochsner Clinic for nearly 40 years, was a member of the team that achieved two regional firsts in the mid-1960s: the first successful kidney transplant on an adult and on a child.

“He was a very energetic, driven person,” said Dr. Frank Riddick, a longtime Ochsner colleague and friend.   “You knew when you were working with Paul that you better know what you were doing and be prepared to dig in and work hard.”

Dr. DeCamp and his contemporaries regarded medicine “as a calling, like a priesthood,” said Dr. W. Brooks Emory, an Ochsner staff physician in the department of pulmonary and critical care.  “They practiced medicine because they thought it was the right thing to do.”

Dr. DeCamp also played tennis, and he competed when he was well into his 80s.  In 1996, he was ranked eight in the nation among men 80 to 85 years old.   In that same age group three years later, he and his doubles partner, Nehemiah Atkinson, were ranked third among doubles players.

In 2000, after turning 85 and advancing into another age group, Dr. DeCamp, playing with different partners, won the national doubles championships.  He advanced to the national finals of the indoor tennis tournament for men in his age group.

Those victories came just a few months after he started taking lessons.  “It proves that it’s never too late to improve,” Dr. DeCamp said in an interview.

“Whenever he advanced from one age group to the next on the senior circuit, everybody in that age bracket (that he had just left) would breathe a sigh of relief because they didn’t have to play him anymore,” Riddick said.

“I don’t think you have to go downhill as you get older, Dr. DeCamp said.  You should try to keep your game at the same level, and there isn’t any reason you can’t improve your game at any age.”

He retained his membership in the New Orleans Lawn Tennis Club until last year, 61 years after he joined.  At that time, he was the club’s oldest member.”

The following is a copy of the Memorial Service Bulletin for the Memorial Service held at the St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church on Friday, August 24, 2012.

“Paul T. “Doc” DeCamp, 97, went to be with his Lord and Savior on Sunday, August 5, 2012 at Ochsner Medical Center.  A funeral service will be held on Friday, August 24, at 3:00 PM at St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church.  The service will be preceded by visitation at 2 PM, also at the church.  Burial will be private.

Paul was born on February 26, 1915, in Seoul, Korea and lived most of his adult life in New Orleans.  He was a graduate of Wheaton College and the University of Pennsylvania Medical School.  He was a practicing physician on the staff of the Ochsner Medical Center for over 40 years. An active member of St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church for over 60 years, he served as a deacon, elder, lay minister, Sunday school teacher and in many other capacities.  A longtime member of the New Orleans Lawn Tennis Club, Paul was an accomplished amateur tennis player and won numerous awards at tournaments throughout the country.  A man of deep faith and conviction, Paul was a loving husband, father and grandfather and a friend and supporter to many people and organizations in New Orleans and elsewhere.

He was preceded in death by Marilyn H. De Camp, his first wife, and mother of his children, his second wife, Lacy D. DeCamp and a son David L. DeCamp.  He is survived by five children and five grandchildren.  The children include Marie D. Dean, Dallas, TX, Paul T. DeCamp Jr. (Christine) Augusta, GA. John E. DeCamp , New Orleans, Richard S. DeCamp, Centennial, CO, and Clifford H. DeCamp, Charlotte, NC.  The grandchildren are Jeanne Rogers, Mary DeCamp, Matthew DeCamp, Kate DeCamp, and Scott DeCamp.

The family is grateful for the care provided to “Doc” by the staff of the Poydras Home.  In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Louisiana Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

The family invites you to share your thought, fond memories and condolences online at www.lakelawnmetaiarie.com.

Thje DeCamp family invites you to join them for a reception immediately following the memorial service at the New Orleans Lawn Tennis Club, 5353 Laurel Street.”

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