Clyde Jones, MD, a long-time California anesthesiologist and retired Naval medical officer, died suddenly at age 90 on April 13, 2020. Clyde was well known for his cheerful personality and his many accomplishments, which included training hundreds of anesthesiologists in the state. Born in a small village in Barbados, he immigrated to New York City to further his education, while living with an aunt and uncle. He graduated from City College of New York and, in 1958, he also graduated from Howard University College of Medicine. After internship at Los Angeles County Medical Center (“Big County”), he joined the US Navy. He began training in anesthesiology at the Naval Regional Hospital Medical Center in San Diego in 1963. That same week, he also married his wife, Norma Smith, who had grown up in the same small town in Barbados and who had known Clyde all her life.
The US entered the Vietnam War in 1965. Clyde was soon off to, first, Vietnam and then to the Naval Hospital in Agana, Guam. Guam, convenient for air evacuations from Vietnam, was where most of the military’s immediate medical care took place during that war. The number of patients treated at Guam’s Naval Hospital were staggering - over 17,000 patients from September 1965 to July 1970. Clyde faced many difficult war-time anesthesia situations and was also being given increasing responsibility for department and hospital management. His cheerful personality and a no-nonsense demeanor in stressful situations, led to numerous leadership positions in important Navy institutions over time, including Chief of Anesthesiology at Camp Pendleton, various military hospitals in Vietnam, Guam’s Naval Hospital, the Naval Hospital in San Diego and, later, in the Kaiser system. At a time when anesthesiologists rarely volunteered to work and teach anesthesia overseas, Clyde was often providing anesthesia and teaching in under-developed countries. He made 83 (!) volunteer trips to teach anesthesia, including to the Philippines, Vietnam, Kenya and Mexico. His overseas work was through the organizations Operation Smile and Resurge International (previously Interplast). He made numerous international friends with this work, which helped improve anesthesia care in under-developed countries.
He retired from the Navy in 1979 and became chief of anesthesia at Kaiser’s San Diego’s hospital. He retired from practice in 1996, but he continued to attend the annual ASA meeting, to see his many friends and past-trainees and to participate in Navy social events. He was also an early member of the Anesthesia History Association and always attended their dinner meetings. He is survived by his wife Norma, 3 children and 3 grandchildren. Burial will be later at Miramar National Cemetery. Donations in his memory can be made to Howard University (c/o Dean Hugh Mighty, 520 W Street Northwest, Room 512, Washington DC 20059) or Operation Smile (Fred Facke 3641 Faculty Blvd, Virginia Beach VA 23453).
We will miss him!