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Friday, September 24, 2010
Dr. Henry Lucius “Luke” Laffitte, 1923-2010: Beloved country doctor Luke Laffitte, 87, of Allendale dies
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Dr. Henry Lucius “Luke” Laffitte, 1923-2010

Beloved Allendale country doctor, Luke Laffitte, 87, dies

Dr. Henry Lucius “Luke” Laffitte passed away September 23 at his beloved Allendale County Hospital after a brief illness.

A memorial service celebrating his life will be held at the First Baptist Church in Allendale on Sunday, September 26, 2010 at 2:00 p.m. Friends are invited to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Dan Johnson, 245 Confederate Highway, Allendale, after the service.

Dr. Laffitte was born July 9, 1923, in Estill, SC, a son of the late M. Tucker and Elizabeth Lucius Laffitte. He attended Estill Public Schools and went to the Citadel. When his entire class was called for active duty during World War II, he was not accepted for service because of the damage to his leg caused by osteomyelitis in his childhood. He then attended and graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1944 and from the Medical University of South Carolina in 1947.

On July 12, 1948, Dr. Laffitte began practicing medicine in Allendale County. He had been on the medical staff of the Allendale County Hospital since it opened in 1950, and served as the Chief of Staff for several terms. He was a Family Practice Board Certified physician.

He had been an active member of the First Baptist Church of Allendale where he had served as a Deacon. He participated in numerous local service and civic groups.
He was a member of the South Carolina Medical Association, and a past Delegate to that Association. He was a member of the South Carolina Association of Family Physicians where he served as a Director and Vice Chairman of the Board. He was also a member of the American Medical Association, the Seaboard Coastline Railroad and Southern Railway Medical Societies. He was a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians and a Diplomate of the American Board of Family Practice. He was an active member of the Allendale County Lions Club and was recognized with a fifty-year service award.

In 1974, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from the Baptist College of Charleston—now Charleston Southern University. That same year, he was named Outstanding Citizen of Allendale County by the Fairfax Jaycees.

Dr. Laffitte served as Medical Control Physician for the Allendale County Rescue Squad for over 30 years.

The Salkehatchie Campus of the University of South Carolina honored him in 1976 with the Outstanding Contribution to the Community Award.

In 1983, the Service to Humanity Award, given by the March of Dimes, was presented to Dr. Laffitte for his delivery and care of over 3,000 babies in Allendale County since he started his practice. The South Carolina Chapter of the American Academy of Family Physicians named Dr. Laffitte the Family Physician Of The Year in 1987.

Dr. Laffitte had been a member of the South Carolina State Department of Vocational Rehabilitation since its inception in 1957 and had held various offices in that department since he began his service. He had been awarded a Citation for Meritorious Service, Loyalty, and Devotion to the Cause of Handicapped Citizens by that department. In 1985, the Agency dedicated its Staff Development Room in his honor. In 1989, The Agency honored him by naming its new building in Beaufort the H. Lucius Laffitte Building. In 2003, he was recognized with the Commissioner’s Medal of Excellence—noting that during his tenure, five Commissioners and an untold number of people with disabilities have benefited from his wisdom, guidance, caring and compassion.

In 1996, he was honored by the Allendale County Hospital for his devotion to the people of the Allendale area with the ceremonial unveiling of his portrait and the dedication of a furnished patient room. The portrait was commissioned by a grateful patient.

In 1998, the members of the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina recognized Dr. Laffitte with a Resolution recognizing his fifty years of outstanding, dedicated service to the citizens of Allendale County and the medical community. That same year, he was honored by being awarded the Order of the Palmetto from the Governor of the State of South Carolina.

Dr. Laffitte served on the Boards of The Exchange Bank, the Carolina Commercial Bank, and the Palmetto State Bank and those banks honored him by establishing a scholarship in his name at the Salkehatchie Campus of the University of South Carolina in recognition of his service to the citizens of Allendale and the surrounding counties.

In 1999, Dr. Laffitte was presented with the Physician of the Year for Outstanding Service from the Lower Savannah Health District Award by the South Carolina Medical Association. On the Nomination Form for the Award, the Health Director noted that the Allendale public health staff described Dr. Laffitte as having love and concern for his patients and the citizens of the county. He is described as a Christian professional. “Always busy, but never too busy to listen” were the words of one staff member.

In 2000, he had the distinction of being the South Carolina Rural Health Association’s first Pioneer Award recipient for the new millennium. The award is presented annually to an individual who has dedicated one’s personal and professional life to caring for the health need of their patients and their community. At the presentation, it was stated that “Dr. Laffitte truly represents what is best about ‘doctoring’ in rural South Carolina. At the presentation, his friend and medical partner, Dr. T. B. Warren, Jr., spoke of his many years of outstanding service and said “I have never known a person as dedicated to his patients and his community as Dr. Laffitte.”

Dr. Laffitte was presented the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award by the University of South Carolina in 2003. The award recognizes and honors excellence of character and humanitarian service.

He retired from “office hours” in 2001, and then spent 10 days in Honduras assisting at two clinics supported by Barnwell United Methodist Church and his friend, Dr. Henry Gibson. He continued to see patients at the Allendale County Nursing home and to work with the Rescue Squad until he completely retired at the age of 80.

“Luke” dedicated his life to his profession. He missed numerous family and social obligations to tend to his patients and, oftentimes, to help those who were not his patients. His work was his hobby.

He is survived by his wife of 61 year, Ann Cassels; daughters Elizabeth Ann, Rosalie and her husband Daniel M. Johnson, of Allendale, and Becky of Columbia, SC; son, Henry Lucius, Jr, and his wife Darryl Reynolds; grandchildren, Henry Lucius Laffitte III and JaneAnn Laffitte of Beaufort, SC; brothers, R. Montague Laffitte and his wife Lib of Estill, SC, and M. Tucker Laffitte, Jr. and his wife Emma of Columbia, SC.; and a number of nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his brother, Charles A. Laffitte, and his sisters, “Sue” (Mrs. S. L. Allen), “Pidge” (Mrs. A. S. Anderson), “Lu” Laffitte, and Lalla Lee (Mrs. H. M. Dalton).

Memorials may be made to First Baptist Church, PO Box 582, Allendale, SC, 29810; Luke Laffitte Scholarship Fund, USC Salkehatchie, PO Box 617, Allendale, SC, 29810; or CPR (Caring People Revitalizing Fund), Allendale County Hospital, PO Box 218, Fairfax, SC 29827.

Keith Smith Funeral Service, 128 Water Street, Allendale, SC. 803-584-2492.

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