Dr. Thomas Christopher Needham, DVM 90, of Wilmington passed away early Thursday, October 10, 2019 at New Hanover Regional Medical Center.
Doc was born in Lakeland, Florida December 14, 1928 the son of the late Jasper Norwood and Virginia Empie Newsome Needham. He was also preceded in death by a brother Jasper Needham, Jr., and his former wife and mother of his children Harriett Smith Needham.
He graduated from Auburn University, College of Veterinary Medicine, in 1952. After serving two years in the Air Force Veterinary Corp. He returned home to Wilmington to take over his brother’s practice and established the first Needham Animal Hospital. He was known nationally for always being on the cutting edge of technology in surgery and medicine. Tom enlisted the services of consulting specialists from various universities to consult at his practice and would have them provide lectures for veterinarians all over the state. He was the instrumental founder of the North Carolina Academy of Small Animal Medicine over 50 years ago to promote quality continuing education before the NC State Veterinary College ever existed. He opened three veterinary hospitals in New Hanover, lectured at many state and national veterinary meetings and served on boards for the North Carolina Academy of Small Animal Medicine and the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association.
Tom had many passions in life; he was a licensed pilot and member of the Civil Air Patrol and loved politics. He was a delegate to the national political convention in 1968. Through politics he discovered golf. This was the passion he pursued for the rest of his life. He played, studied, practiced and learned every aspect of the game. He was always ready to play and loved to share his wealth of knowledge with anyone willing to listen. During this past couple of months he has worked with Dr. Jim Hunley in writing a book of his life and golf tips. The book was just barely finished and fittingly the title is to be “Doc’s Way”, A thinking man’s guide to life and golf.
He was a member of First Baptist Church of Wilmington, a lifetime member of both the American Veterinarian Medical Association and the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association, the North Carolina Academy of Small Animal Medicine and Cape Fear Country Club.
He is survived by his wife of 42 years, Peggy Holt Needham, and sons Tom Needham, Jr, and partner Dudley Scoggin, Shreveport, LA, Elliot Nidam-Orvieto and wife Iael, Jerusalem, Israel, and Jerry G. Bell of Wilmington, NC. Daughters include Jenny Luxton and husband Mike, Lumberton, NC and Melissa Bell Autry and husband Reggie of Wilmington, NC. He has five grandchildren: Keren, Michael and Nethanel Nidam-Orvieto of Jerusalem and Camden and Torren Autry of Wilmington. He had a special relationship with his nephew, Robert Needham and cousin Dr. Kathy Heinsohn.
A memorial service will be held 2:00 PM Sunday, October 13, 2019 at First Baptist Church. There will be a reception to follow the service at the Cape Fear County Club. A private burial will be held in the family plot at Oakdale Cemetery.
To honor his memory In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Transitions Foundation NC (Organization helping Autism’s Self Determined for life) 201 N. Front St., Suite 1002, Wilmington, NC 28401 at TMCFunding.com
Share memories and condolences with the family by clicking on the “Condolence” tab.
Wilmington Funeral & Cremation 1535 S. 41st Street, Wilmington, NC 28403 910.791.9099