Dr. Charles E. McGruder entered eternal life early Thursday morning, February 26, 2015. The beloved physician and family man will long be remembered as an outspoken activist and champion of social justice for the Black residents of Middle Tennessee. Along with his late first wife, the phenomenal and legendary Curlie McGruder, this dynamic duo was frequently at the forefront of voting rights and civil rights issues, particularly during the tumultuous 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s.
The eldest of seven children of Alphonso and Dora McGruder, Charles was born on July 25, 1925 in Wedgeworth, Alabama. Everything Charles undertook was with 100% commitment and dedication, and he enjoyed sharing teachable moments as often as he could in professional and in personal settings.
He attended Alabama A&M (1942-43) and left to serve in World War II in the Army Aircorps. He resumed his studies at Xavier University (1946-48, and enrolled at Meharry Medical College in Nashville (1948-52), earning the Doctor of Medicine degree. Dr. McGruder had Medical Licensure in Tennessee, Kentucky and Illinois; and had Board Certification with the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Dr. McGruder was passionate about educating physicians and was committed to serving patients. During his illustrious and productive tenure at Meharry Medical College, some of his staff appointments included: instructor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at MMC (1956-64), assistant professor (1964-71), director of Residency Program (1973-82), director of undergraduate training (1973-91), and assistant dean (1985-91) in the department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He served as the medical director of George W. Hubbard Hospital (1985-91) and retired as associate professor in 1994.
Some of Dr. McGruder’s memberships included the R.F. Boyd Medical Society (president, 1959), Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (1963), Nashville Academy of Medicine (1964), Alpha Omega Alpha (Meharry Medical College, 1979), Nashville Obstetrics and Gynecology Society (1984), and Faculty Member of the Year (Meharry Medical College, 1984).
Dr. McGruder was on staff at George W. Hubbard Hospital, Baptist Hospital, Centennial Medical Center, and Metropolitan Nashville General Hospital. Dr. McGruder authored several publications in medical journals and magazines, and gave numerous medical presentations. He published a book entitled Call a Spade a Spade (Bethlehem Books) in 2008.
He served as executive committee, Middle Tennessee Council, scoutmaster; assistant scoutmaster; and ‘troop committeeman’ (for decades) in The Boy Scouts of America. He was a proud member of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.
Among his passions were woodcarving, gardening, cooking/baking, wine making, photography, poetry and volunteering for youth camp checkups. But nothing compared to his love of his family, and he had a big family. He gave each individual special attention.
To the union of his first marriage with the late Curlie McGruder, two sons were born: Charles E. McGruder II and Jeffery W. McGruder.
Dr. Charles E. McGruder was preceded in death by his parents, Alphonso and Dora McGruder and several extended family members. Left to honor his memory are his wife, Irene Weaver McGruder; sons, Charles E. (Denise) McGruder II and Jeffery W. McGruder, Sr.; grandchildren, Kenya McGruder, Jeffery (Jessica) W. McGruder II, Christopher and Geena McGruder; three great- grandchildren, Marley and Ansley McGruder and Ivyana; six siblings, Anita M. (late O’Neal) McGrew, Elmer (Jean) McGruder, Alphonso (late Jurdy) McGruder, Dorothy M. (Robert) Edwards, Orlando (late Alberlena) McGruder, Betty M. (Wendell) Shaw; four stepchildren, Marsha, Kym, Marshall II and David (deceased) Weaver; two step grandchildren, Mardae A. Weaver and Jayla Weaver, three step great grandchildren, Memshalyah, Emunah and Orzora Weaver; former daughters-in-law Anita M. Bourne, Cassandra McGruder, Lyn McGruder, Emma H. Weaver, Karma Cale; and numerous other family, church family, colleagues, friends and acquaintances.