‘Dr. Tony’ remembered for giving back

Published 3:04 pm Friday, September 20, 2019

The late Dr. Anthony Munoz, called Dr. Tony by most, was notably one of Farmville’s most beloved doctors — many recall him as a man with a big heart, always willing to give of his time and talents.

Dr. Tony passed away on Aug. 14 at the age of 91 and is remembered as one of the key people who helped the Heart of Virginia Free Clinic get off the ground and running.

Dr. Anthony Munoz

“I remember when we were seeking people who were interested in starting a free clinic and held a meeting at New Life Church in Farmville,” said Heart of Virginia Free Clinic Executive Director
Pat Payne. “Dr. Tony came to that meeting, and I remember seeing him and turning to my friend and saying, ‘we’re going to be just fine.’”

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Payne continued to say that after the meeting Dr. Tony told her, “whatever you need, just call me.”

That was in 2009.

It took another three years before the Heart of Virginia Free Clinic would open its doors to patients.

On April 4, 2012, Dr. Tony was there and saw the first patient when the doors opened.

According to Payne, Dr. Tony was retired at the time and had let his medical license expire but had his licensing renewed just in order to help the clinic. “He was big on giving back,” said Payne. “He always believed that doctors should help others and give of their time when they could.”

It is estimated that Dr. Tony saw close to 200 patients during his time of volunteering at the clinic.

According to Payne, Dr. Tony retired from seeing patients in 2015 but continued to remain active in helping the clinic.

“He was a wonderful man, and everyone loved him,” she said.

Eunice Carwile, who began working for Dr. Tony as his secretary in 1972 and later as his office manager at his private practice, said Dr. Tony was dedicated to his patients and to medicine.

“He was a specialist, an excellent surgeon and a tireless emergency room physician, but he seldom turned away a patient with general illness,” said Carwile. “He was so good with them, coming into the room, giving them a pat on the shoulder, standing or sitting right in front of them, listening — really listening — to them, and calmly and rationally handling their problem.”

Carwile also said that Dr. Tony believed strongly in education. “It was he who taught me Spanish, encouraged me to finish college and urged me to get my master’s degree. ‘Because you should,’ is what he told me.”

Prince Edward Board of Supervisor Chairman Jim Wilck remembers Dr. Tony as “the con- summate European gentlemen” that you liked immediately upon meeting him.”

“My wife and I invited him to a choral concert at Hampden-Sydney, and we were almost late for the concert because we could not get across the Hampden-Sydney parking lot because all the women he met wanted to hug him and say hello,” said Wilck.

Wilck also said Dr. Tony was helpful to him during election time. “Because of all the people he

knew that liked him, he played a big part in my election to the board of supervisors. He made phone calls and sent out postcards supporting me,” Wilck added.

Dr. Tony also loved animals. According to Wilck, “Whenever he came
to our house he would bring dog biscuits for our dog and would attach a prescription pad note saying, ‘take one daily.’ Tony loved animals, and they all loved him.”

In addition to his work with the Heart of Virginia Free Clinic, Dr. Tony served as a surgeon at Southside Community Hospital (SCH).

Ann Howard, acute care RN in ambulatory surgery at Centra South- side Community Hospital, worked with Dr. Tony at SCH and remembers him fondly. Having spent many nights working with him in the original ER Howard says, “He was a wonderful man and great surgeon. He operated on my mom.”

During his 25-year tenure on the staff of SCH, he pioneered many surgical procedures, including the pericardial window.

He was the first doctor elected to the hospital’s board, and he served as its chairman for several years as well as on the board of the SCH School of Practical Nursing from its inception until its closure.

While a member of the Farmville Jaycees and as its president, he conduct- ed the first county-wide oral polio vaccine initiative in the Commonwealth of Virginia. He was honored as Man of the Year and given

life membership in the Jaycees. He also served his community as a member of the Lions Club; president of the Prince Edward County Cancer Society, president of the Central Virginia Lung Association, member of the board of the Prince Edward County Red Cross, Holly Manor Nursing Home (The Woodland Inc.), and president of the Farmville Recreation Association and the Heart Association.

For many years as a clinical professor at the Medical College of Virginia/VCU, he was a member of the Southside Medical Society, the Health Education Board, and the Medical Society of Virginia, where he served on multiple committees and as first, second and third vice president.

Dr. Tony was the first chairman of the South Central Virginia PSRO, chairman of the Regional Advisory Group of the Virginia Regional Medical Program, president of the Spanish-American Medical Society, Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the American College of Chest Physicians and the Southeastern Surgical Congress, the Southern Medical Association, the Virginia Surgical Society, the American Medical Association, the American College of Angiology; the Pan-American Medical Association, and the American College of Abdominal Surgeons. He was an honorary member of St. Louis Hospital, Paris, France and of the Colegio Oficial de Medicos, Valencia, Spain. During his professional training and career, he published journal articles in the United States and Spain.