Local surgeon remembered for longtime work in county



BEAUFORT — Dr. John E. Way, a longtime surgeon from Beaufort, died Monday at Carteret General Hospital at the age of 100.

His two sons, John Way Jr. and Dr. Brady Way, remembered him being dedicated to his profession. “The man worked every day of his life,” said John Way Jr., adding that while Dr. Way had other hobbies, practicing medicine dominated his life.

Dr. Way was born Oct. 15, 1910, in Marshallberg to the late Brady and Minnie Way. He graduated from Beaufort High School in 1929 and UNC-Chapel Hill in 1934 before getting his medical degree from the University of Maryland.

He served in the 97th Evacuation Hospital Unit, along with his late wife, Martha, during World War II and participated in such historic events as D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge. The two had to keep their marriage hidden, as couples weren’t allowed to serve in the same unit together, said Dr. Brady Way.

The unit also went into Germany following the war and was one of the first to assist survivors of the concentration camps.

John Way Jr. said his father would reflect on this period of his life, particularly some of the lighter moments.

“He and mother would chuckle under their breath about some of the funny things that went on,” he said.

He returned to Beaufort following the war, and for a period was the only surgeon in the county. “When he came back, it was him or nobody basically, from a surgery standpoint,” said Dr. Brady Way. He continued to practice in the county for more than 60 years.

Dr. Way was in impeccable health well into his 90s and he continued to fly and play golf for much of his life.

He was a sports fan and helped found the Little League in the county. He was also a big supporter of UNC sports teams, particularly the football team. The Carolina Alumni Review, a publication for UNC grads, stated in a recent article that Dr. Way had probably seen more Carolina football games than just about anyone else. He started watching games in the 1920s and had season tickets every year since his return to the area following the war, said Dr. Brady Way’s wife, Shirley.

“He was always a Tar Heels sports fan and a supporter of the university, too,” John Way Jr. said. “One of the last things he did was watch a basketball game.”

Medicine changed tremendously from the time Dr. Way began medical school – when penicillin had only just been discovered and its benefits were still unknown – to when he retired. But his family said Dr. Way’s attitude toward his patients never changed.

“He really took care and spent time with them. It was a hands-on approach,” said Dr. Brady Way.

John Way Jr. remembers seeing pounds of shrimp or collards being left at the house by some of the patients. “That was the way people who didn’t have any money would pay back then,” he said.

“He’s probably the only doctor there’s ever been who never looked at his books,” added Mrs. Way. “He never even asked if they could pay. He just loved doing medicine.”

See Page 3A for the full obituary on Dr. Way.

(6) comments


Dr. Way was a fine physician and a splendid person. He is the last of the physicians practicing here from WWII to recent times. All of my family was seen by Dr. Way and he was a most excellent physician. Dr. Way set the example for all physicians to follow for excellence in medical practice and contributions to the community. We have lost a great man.


I remember hearing my mother tell the tale about Dr. Way. When I drank Lysol while in Beaufort from Ports. Va. visiting with my grandmother. She said they took me to Dr. Way, and he kept pouring something on me and in me for the burns until it ran down the steps from his office. I'm 72 now and I'm sure I was probably under 6 when that happened.Then I remember hearing a dear friend tell how much her brother loved him and how good Dr. Way was to him when he hurt his foot and leg, and Dr. Way tried to save it and couldn't. Dr. Way continued to treat him the rest of his life and was dearly loved.Wish there were more like him. God Bless him and his family, they will have wonderful memories and stories the rest of their lives.


Very sorry to learn of Dr. Way passing on.Dr. Way sewed me up at least a couple of times when I was a kid in the 60's at his office on Front St.I almost ripped a finger off once, but he was able to save it for me.God Speed Doctor.


I'll never forget that Dr. Way was the one that took out my tonsils in the 2nd grade. I especially remember the shots in my behind that I had to get to help with the infection before he could operate. My prayers are with his family.


Even when you know the end is near, it is never easy to let a loved one go... In my 18 years in Carteret County, as an emergency room physician, plastic surgeon and urgent care doctor had I met a more dedicated, compassionate, sincere and patient centered surgeon as Dr. Johnny Way... He personified the consumate 'general' surgeon. I never forgot him showing up in the ER, in his coat and tie at 3 am to check on a patient I was admitting for him, to 'see if I needed any help'... His closed reductions of complex, comminuted Colles wrist fractures were modern sculptures on the outside and hairline fractures on the inside... the best immediate results I had ever seen in my 45 years of surgical and emergency practice... He always had time to discuss international events in Cuba with me and longed to outlive Castro... to see justice finally come to pass.... I was sad to know of his passing, for I knew the end of an era was closing down, but in my heart I knew he would live on, for his impact was broad and wide as the ocean he loved and the skies he flew in... He left big shoes to fill for the many of us who must continue to tread our paths along life's many ways, but I know he's making many an angel laugh with his stories of his flying adventures and I look forward to visiting with him again someday... God bless you Johnny and your family too...


I would walk down Front Street and see Dr. Way sitting outside enjoying the day and he would always say hello. He had such a love for life and his heart was boundless. I wish everyone could be as good, honest and caring as him. He will be missed. God Bless his family during this time.

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