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Celebrating Dr. Samuel Brooks Caruthers' Life

Lindsay Ainsworth  | Published on 12/9/2020

Dr. Samuel Brooks Caruthers, Jr. died at home on Tuesday, December 1, 2020, of cancer.

Sam was born of parents Samuel Brooks Caruthers Sr. and Bertha Annette Leigh Caruthers and raised in Grenada, Mississippi. He attended college for three years at Princeton University before abandoning Ivy League foolishness for the more hospitable environment of medical school in Memphis, Tennessee. While there, he courted Helen Kimbrough, the most beautiful woman in Grenada -- no, strike that -- the most beautiful woman in the world! They were married in 1960 and remained together till her death in 2015, and for all that time he remained in awe and in love with her.

Sam had a brilliant and stubbornly independent mind. He was a Goldwater Republican, (How many of those have you ever met?) who loved woodworking, boating, travel, opera, art, and being the smartest man in the room… only in his case, he often was the smartest man in the room.

When drafted to spend an obligatory two years as a doctor at an Air Force base in Warner Robins, Georgia, he railed against the bureaucracy of the Military and blew off steam by racing his Triumph TR4 sports car. (He actually won a few trophies.)

Sam by Ruth
Painting of Sam by Ruth Byrn
Later, as a radiologist in public practice in Denver, Colorado, he railed against the bureaucracy of that system, even while thriving as a highly regarded practitioner and teacher. Finally, he accepted a position in the private sector by joining Radiology Consultants in Little Rock…where he continued to rail against the growing convolutions of the modern medical system. 

Finally, after years of hard work and aggressive investing (compound interest—master it!), he retired while still in his fifties, and devoted his life to boating and travel, supporting Helen's work with musical charities and musical education…and art. Strange, wonderful, whimsical art in many mediums, and as he worked, Sam made many new friends at Lifequest, the Arkansas League of Artists, the Arkansas Pastel Society, and Mid-Southern Watercolorists.

And, as a fierce advocate for Helen during her six year fight with cancer, followed by the indignities of his own failing health, he continued to rail against an increasingly illogical medical system and a world that wasn't as it should be.

For the last two months of his life he was in home care under Arkansas Hospice and 24 hour care from the many compassionate caregivers of Home Instead, many of whom were eventually charmed by his dry wit and still-sharp mind. We treasure the recollections of their daily and late-night conversations. Finally, a few days after his 84th birthday, he stopped railing, and died peacefully, in his sleep and on his throne (recliner).

Sam was preceded in death by his wife, Helen, and his second son, John Kimbrough Caruthers. He leaves behind his son Samuel Brooks Caruthers III and daughter-in-law, Stephanie Toon Caruthers, his daughter Virginia Leigh Caruthers Prassel and son-in-law Frank Hetherington Prassel, his beloved grandchildren, Audrey and Celeste Caruthers and Helen and Frank Prassel, and his dear companion of 5 years, Lou Lane. We thank his dear friends, Doyne and Margaret Dodd, for their lasting devotion and kindness.

There will be a private family burial on December 4th, 2020 at the St. Mark’s Episcopal Church Columbarium. A celebration of the life of Sam Caruthers will be announced in the post Covid19 world. In memoriam please donate to your favorite arts organization.  Arrangements are under the direction of Ruebel Funeral Home, RuebelFuneralHome.com