David Barclay Walthall III, MD

Class Year




Posted on: January 30, 2020

Dr. David Barclay Walthall, III, age 86, died on May 2, 2019, in Port Charlotte, Florida. He was born in Richmond, Virginia, on February 25, 1933, to The Reverend David B. Walthall, Jr. and Lois Claytor Walthall. He graduated from Darlington School in Rome, Georgia, where he developed a lifelong love of tennis, winning many amateur trophies over his lifetime. He served two years in the U.S. Army, after which he earned a BA in Psychology at the University of Virginia, and an MD at the University of Virginia Medical School in 1961, followed by a residency in general practice (later family practice) at Norfolk General Hospital, Norfolk, Va.

Dr. Walthall had a long and distinguished medical career from 1963-1995 starting with a solo practice in Dublin, Va. While there, he was instrumental in establishing one of the first coronary care units in rural Virginia at Radford Hospital. His great joy was working with the Virginia Heart Association training health care workers and rescue squads in CPR and Advanced Cardiac Life Support. It was in that service he made many lifelong friends lovingly referred to as “the Heart Group.”

In 1973 he was recruited to the faculty of the Medical College of Virginia (now Virginia Commonwealth University) to serve in the areas of Continuing Medical Education and Quality Assurance. At MCV he developed a passion for adult learning and adult education, serving first as associate professor in the Department of Family Practice then assistant dean in the Department of Continuing Medical Education. In 1977 he joined the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, DC where, until his retirement in 1995, he held numerous leadership roles in the developing fields of Continuing Medical Education and Quality Assurance. In 1984 he co-edited Continuing Education for the Health Professions, a publication of the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Among his many honors were serving a term as president of the Virginia Affiliate of the American Heart Association, receiving the Bronze and Silver Meritorious Service awards, as well as a Silver Distinguished Service and Leadership award.

Of his career and all the good things in his life, he always said, “It’s better to be lucky than smart.”

It was in his retirement years that David found his greatest joy in family and friends. In 1998 he married Vivian Ann Dennis, with whom he shared the happiest years of his life. Known as “Grand-Daddy and Miss Vivian,” they entertained their children and an ever-growing clan of grandchildren, great-grandchildren and friends at their home in Waynesboro, Va., where their Christmas celebrations and Fourth of July pool parties were legendary! David also pursued his interest in cooking – a hobby he loved. David and Vivian were active in the Moon and Star Pattern Glass Society, of which David was a past president.

Surviving him are his beloved wife of twenty years, his children, sister and grandchildren. He leaves behind his cherished “Heart Group” and numerous friends.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Dr. Walthall’s favorite charities (the Salvation Army or your local food bank) or your favorite charity.

When asked how he wanted to be remembered, he replied, “As a good doctor.” We will also remember him as a loving husband, father, brother, a good friend and, most of all, Grand-Daddy.