Spalding, Robert Tucker, M.D.

Longtime Psychiatrist And Professor In Chattanooga

Saturday, September 14, 2019
Robert Tucker Spalding
Robert Tucker Spalding

Robert Tucker Spalding, M.D., 88, passed away peacefully at his residence on Tuesday, September 10, 2019.

He was born May 28, 1931 in Cleveland, Ohio to the late Ralph Earl and Mattye Tucker Spalding. Following his graduation from Vanderbilt University in 1953, he attended the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. His internship in medicine was at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 1957; and he completed his residency in psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he served as a Teaching Fellow in Psychiatry at Harvard School of Medicine.

Dr. Spalding was recruited to Chattanooga in 1960 as the director of Adult Services at the Chattanooga Psychiatric Clinic and then became clinical director from 1970 to 1975. During this period he was also an assistant clinical professor of Psychiatry for the UT School of Medicine. In 1977, he was appointed the director of Valley Psychiatric Hospital, then clinical director from 1980 to 1987. Starting in 1988, he served as the medical director of Psychiatric Services at Memorial Hospital for ten years. In 2003, he was recognized as a Distinguished Life Follow of the American Psychiatric Association. His continuous private practice in the Chattanooga area from 1960 until his retirement in 2017, at age 86, improved the lives of thousands of his patients and was his most valued accomplishment.

Dr. Spalding was active in numerous regional and national mental health organizations. He was co-founder and the first director of the Chattanooga Suicide Prevention Service, the first suicide prevention organization in Tennessee which helped start CONTACT, the first suicide hotline in Tennessee. He was the first president and co-founder of the Chattanooga Psychiatric Association. Later he served as president of the Tennessee Psychiatric Association, an organization in which he held many offices, including the representative from the Tennessee Psychiatric Association to the American Psychiatric Association, the chairman of the program committee for 25 years, and the ethics committee chairman, among others. For 45 years he was the Psychiatrist in Residence at the Sewanee Theological Seminary and the Student Counseling Center at the University of the South. He enjoyed being board examiner in Psychiatry and Neurology for over 30 years. Over the years he served as a consultant to many organizations including the Chattanooga Police Department, Moccasin Bend Psychiatric Health Institute, the Alcohol and Drug Council, Team Evaluation Center, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

He had many avocations, but he especially loved reading, racquetball, snow skiing, and traveling with his family. His role as a grandfather earned him the title, ”The Best Granddad You Could Have”!

Dr. Spalding is survived by his wife, Janice Hipps Spalding; sons, Robert (Gina) Spalding, Jr. DPM, and Stephen (Denise) Spalding, M.D., stepsons, Robert (Sharon) Reece, Jr. and Jeff (Marianne) Reece; grandchildren Katherine Spalding, Alexandra and Nicholas Spalding, Cory (Ashley) Trent, Caroline, Catie, and James Reece; great-grandchildren, Tucker Graves and Bradley Trent; and several cousins in west Tennessee.

The family is grateful to Dr. Mark Heinsohn and his staff for many years of compassionate care and friendship and to Hospice of Chattanooga.

The family will receive friends at Rivermont Presbyterian Church, 3310 Hixson Pike, on Friday, Sept. 27, from 4:30-5:45 p.m. A Celebration of Life service will follow from 6-7 p.m.

Memorial contributions may be sent to McKamey Animal Center, Rivermont Presbyterian Church Good Samaritan Fund, the Children’s Nutrition Program of Haiti, or Hospice of Chattanooga.

Arrangements are by Hamilton Funeral Home & Cremation Services, 4506 Hixson Pike, Hixson, 423 531-3975.

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