Obituary of Dr. Ann Howard Suggs, MD
The saints in heaven need to add one more place at God's table, Mom has arrived.
Dr. Ann Howard Suggs, MD, 96, died Sunday, October 6, 2019 at Universal Health Care. Visitation will be at the family home on Thursday, October 10, 2019 from 4 to 8pm, Pugh Funeral Home will handle the arrangements. A Celebration of Life will be held in late November of this year, to be announced.
She was the daughter of Dr. William Harrison Howard and his wife Annie Laurie Wright Howard of Hampton, VA. She was a graduate of West Hampton College of the University of Richmond with a B.S. Degree in Chemistry and Biology. In 1947 she graduated from the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond with a MD degree, followed by one year of rotating internship at the same school. She completed her professional education with two years of pediatric residency at the University of Maryland Hospital in Baltimore, MD.
Dr. Suggs met her husband, Dr. Joseph Russell Suggs, Sr. DDS, at MCV and they were married in 1947. They came to Asheboro, NC to establish their home 1950. She practiced general pediatrics from an office located in her home for thirty-five and one-half years. She was Randolph County's first woman doctor.
In the early 1960's, while President of The Randolph County Medical Society, she became aware of the need for mental health services in Randolph County. She was instrumental in motivating the community to establish the Randolph County Mental Health Association which in turn established the local Mental Health Authority and opened the first Mental Health Center in 1963. Over the next thirteen years the services expanded to five different locations. In 1973 a public fundraising campaign was conducted to erect a building and consolidate services. In 1975 The Ann Howard Suggs Mental Health Center was established at the corner of Academy and Cox Street in Asheboro and operated there until 2003. She served as volunteer administrator of the center for more than ten years.
She served the community in various volunteer capacities at the state and local levels including spearheading The Oral Polio Vaccine Clinic; Chairman of the N C Mental Health Committee on Children's Services; Sandhill Center Board of Directors; Board of Trustees for Girls Haven of Randolph County and later for the Boys and Girls Home of NC at Lake Waccamaw; Clients Rights Committee at Dorthea Dix Hospital in Raleigh, NC; Member of the Randolph County Area Mental Health, NC Council of Area MH/DD/SA programs; a volunteer at Room at the Inn; Randolph County Aging Services Planning Committee 1996 to 2002 and Girl Scout Leader. These efforts were possible with a lot of help from her husband.
She was recognized for her service by Dr. Ann Howard Suggs Day on February 1, 1976 as proclaimed by NC Gov. James Holsehouser, The Governor's Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service from Gov. Jim Martin 1992, NC Department of Mental Health Volunteer of the Year 1973, Boss of the Year for the National Secretaries Association 1698, McFarland/Edgerton Award for Outstanding Mental Health Services, Paul Harris Fellow from The Rotary Foundation, Citizen of The Year 2000 and Athena award 1996 from the Asheboro/Randolph Chamber of Commerce, Service Above Self Award 2005 from the Randolph Rotary Club and Leadership Award for Life Time Career from the NC Council of Community Mental Health DD/SA Programs 1993 and others.
She was an active member at First United Methodist Church and West Bend United Methodist Church. While at West Bend, she taught Sunday school classes for early elementary. She took great joy in her time with her family, church, and community work. She enjoyed reading, walks on the beach and trips to the NC Zoo with her grandchildren.
She is survived by her sons Joseph Russell Suggs, Jr. and wife Sidniee C. of Advance, NC; Richard Howard Suggs and John Reid Suggs of Asheboro; daughter, Catherine Wife of Dean Gardiner of Stokesdale; sister-in-law's, Mrs. O'Dene Suggs and Mrs. Lilly Suggs of Asheboro; and grandchildren William Suggs, Samantha Suggs, Daniel Gardiner and Benjamin Gardiner. She was proceeded in death by her brother William Howard of Johnson City, TN; grandson Joseph Russell Suggs, III and her husband.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to The Boys and Girls Home of Lake Waccamaw, PO Box 127 Lake Waccamaw, NC 28450 or a charity of your choice.