RMH Pioneer Frank Gearing Dies
Doctor Instrumental In Bringing Radiation Oncology Treatments To Harrisonburg Hospital
Posted: February 21, 2013
HARRISONBURG — Frank W. Gearing Jr., a doctor, civic participant and philanthropist, acted to better the Harrisonburg community from a sense of duty, according to family.
Gearing died Monday at Emeritus of Harrisonburg at 94 years old.
“He was a very compassionate person,” his son, Frank W. Gearing III said. “Not real outspoken; didn’t want a lot of recognition. He did what he thought needed to be done.”
Gearing Jr. was raised in Woodstock and after graduating from the Medical College of Virginia and serving at the Pentagon in the U.S. Army, he returned there to join his father in a medical practice.
After becoming a board-certified radiologist at the University of Virginia School of Medicine in 1958, he moved to Harrisonburg to practice at Rockingham Memorial Hospital. He stayed there until 1981, when he retired.
During his time at RMH, Gearing was instrumental in establishing a relationship with the U.Va. Medical Center to provide radiation oncology treatment for cancer patients in Harrisonburg, Gearing III said.
A U.Va. specialist would visit RMH to discuss the cases and make a treatment plan, then Gearing Jr. and his partner, Dr. Mac Carter, would administer the treatment so patients wouldn’t have to go to Charlottesville, Gearing III explained.
“He wanted to have the best treatments available, so he felt it was important to collaborate with the medical center,” he said.
Gearing Jr. carried his ideals over to his private life, too.
“His [second] wife said he’d give money to anybody,” Gearing III said. “He did a lot for small organizations,” in particular those related to U.S. veterans.
Gearing Jr.’s brother, Edward, was one of the “Bedford Boys” who were part of the first wave of the D-Day Invasion of Normandy in World War II.
“So, I think that had a lot to do with his interest in supporting veterans groups,” Gearing III said.
Gearing Jr. participated on various civic boards and was an accomplished musician, playing saxophone and clarinet. He also studied neural anatomy, mathematics and literature.
“I’d like to think of my dad in a lot of ways as a renaissance man with many interests and high curiosity,” Gearing III said.
A memorial service will be conducted at 10:30 a.m. Friday at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 660 S. Main St., Harrisonburg, with a private graveside service following at Woodbine Cemetery.
Contact Alex Rohr at 574-6293 or email@example.com