JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Dr. Blair E. Batson, the first chair of pediatrics at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, died Monday at the age of 98.
At 34, Batson was named chair of the Department of Pediatrics at UMMC after the hospital’s opening in 1955. Over the course of his career, he taught over 3,500 medical students and 240 pediatric residents.
In 1997, Blair E. Batson for Children was named in his honor in recognition of his lifetime contributions to the health of children in Mississippi. Batson also received the Humanitarian of the Year tribute from the Epilepsy Foundation of Mississippi in the year 2000.
Batson’s successor as chair, Dr. Owen B. Evans, called him “a living archive of pediatric diseases and experiences.”
Governor Phil Bryant posted on Facebook saying, “Deborah and I are saddened to hear of the passing of Dr. Blair E. Batson. His name graces the children’s hospital in Jackson due to his lifetime of work dedicated to the medical profession. His legacy will live on throughout the ages, and his name rightfully sits atop our state’s pediatric hospital to remind visitors of his contributions to Mississippi. May God bless his family and the countless individuals he influenced for the better during his journey as a physician to generations of children.”
A memorial service will take place in early 2019. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be made to the Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children, c/o the UMMC Office of Development, 2500 N. State St., Jackson, MS 39216 or Friends of Children’s Hospital, 3900 Lakeland Dr., Suite 205, Flowood, MS 39232.