Posted on: February 24, 2020
Dr. Herbert Augustine Claiborne, Jr., died on February 16, 2020, at the age of 96. “Hobie,” his nickname since childhood, was born in Richmond, Virginia, on August 12, 1923, at his family home at 204 W. Franklin Street, the son of Herbert Augustine Claiborne and Virginia Christian Claiborne. He is survived by his wife, Catherine “Kitty” Robertson Claiborne; and their children, Herbert Augustine Claiborne III, his wife, Catherine and their children, Maria and Hobie IV; Mary Claiborne Frediani, her husband, David and their children, Kate Deacon (Barrett), Virginia and Christian; William Robertson Claiborne, his wife, Lisa and their children, Taylor, Sarah, Cole and Teddy; and Thomas Hamilton Claiborne, his wife, Lisa and their children, Thomas, Jack, Charlie and Cabell.
Hobie grew up in Richmond, attended St. Christopher’s School and graduated from Woodberry Forest School in 1941. He earned both his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Virginia, where he was a member of Phi Kappa Psi, Calconon Club, Raven Society, T.I.L.K.A., Lambda Pi, Omicron Delta Kappa and Alpha Omega Alpha. After receiving his MD degree, he completed his internship and a fellowship at the University of Rochester School of Medicine, followed by residencies at the Medical College of Virginia in general surgery and the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Obstetrics & Gynecology. Having served in the U.S. Naval Reserve while completing his medical training, he was called to active duty in 1950 and served as a surgeon at Tokyo General Hospital during the Korean War. After being honorably discharged from the Navy in 1952, he returned to Charlottesville, Virginia, where he became an associate professor in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine.
In 1962, he moved back to Richmond to open his own obstetrics and gynecology practice. He later combined his practice with that of Dr. Hudnall H. Ware to form what eventually became known as Drs. Claiborne, Ware, Battista and Montague, which has since evolved into the Virginia Women’s Center, one of the Richmond area’s highly respected obstetrics and gynecology practices.
His professional memberships included the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Diplomate of the American Board of Obstetrics & Gynecology, American College of Surgeons, Continental Gynecological Society and the Virginia Medical Society. He also served as an adjunct professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Medical College of Virginia.
He retired from medical practice in 1992. In addition to his distinguished medical career, Hobie also served his community in numerous capacities, serving on the boards of a number of institutions including the Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation (chairman), the Lettie Pate Evans Foundation, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (president), the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Foundation (president), the Medical College of Virginia Foundation (chairman), St. Mary’s Hospital Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (chairman), the Virginia Historical Society, the University of Virginia Medical School Foundation, Woodberry Forest School, the University of Richmond Board of Associates, Wright’s Island Game Association (president), The Richmond German (president) and the Country Club of Virginia.
Among his many achievements, he received the Outstanding Medical Alumnus Award from the University of Virginia Medical Alumni Association, the Lifetime Achievement in Philanthropy Award from Central Virginia Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Award from the Westminster Canterbury Foundation and Westminster Canterbury Management Corporation and the Dowdy Award for Exemplary Volunteer Service from the Medical College of Virginia Foundation. Hobie was also a member of the Walpole Society, the Society of the Cincinnati, the Custis Pond Fishing and Hunting Club, the Cohoke Club, the Commonwealth Club and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.
Perhaps more than anything else, Hobie always showed warmth, gentleness and compassion, traits he exemplified every day of his life. He had a dry sense of humor, was an attentive listener and had a way of making everyone around him feel embraced. He cared deeply about his patients, his community and most of all his family, whom he adored and who adored him in return – we affectionately called him “Doc.” He was a voracious reader, a student of history and a lover of art and architecture, with a remarkable recall of each. Throughout his life, he had a great passion for wingshooting and fly-fishing some of his fondest memories were those times spent with family and friends in the outdoors.
We are forever grateful for the many years Doc was part of our lives as a husband, father, grandfather, uncle, doctor, teacher and mentor. He was an exemplary gentleman.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Woodberry Forest School, The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Foundation, the Virginia Museum of History and Culture or a charity of your choice.