Dr. Ann Howard Suggs

Published 7:56 am Monday, October 7, 2019

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Dr. Ann Howard Suggs died on Oct. 6, 2019 after several years of declining health.

Born on May 4, 1923, she was raised in Hampton, Va., the daughter of Dr. William Harrison Howard and Annie Wright Howard. She graduated from West Hampton College or the University of Richmond with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and biology. In 1947 she graduated from the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, Va. with a M.D. degree.  She completed her professional education with two years pediatric residency at the University of Maryland Hospital in Baltimore, Md.

In 1947 she married Dr. Joseph R. Suggs Sr. and in 1950 they established a home in Asheboro.  She became the first female doctor in Asheboro, and practiced general pediatrics for more than 35 years.  In the early 1960s, while president of the Randolph County Medical Society, she became aware of the need for mental health services in Randolph County. She was instrumental in motivating the community to establish the Randolph County Mental Health Association which in turn established the local Mental Health Authority and opened the first Mental Health Center. She served as part-time, volunteer administrator of the center for more than 10 years. The Mental Health Building was dedicated in her honor in 1975. Following that she served for four years on the Client’s Rights Committee at Dorothea Dix Hospital in Raleigh.  She continued to serve on the Mental Health Association at the local and state levels for several years after her retirement including serving as a board member of the NC Council of Area MH/DD/SA programs for four years.  For these volunteer activities she received numerous local and state awards.

When Girls Haven was located in Randolph County, she was a member of the board of trustees.  When the organization combined with Boy’s Home of NC at Lake Waccamaw she became a member of the board of trustees of Boys and Girls Home of NC to which she served for more than eight years.  Before her health declined, she was an active member of West Bend United Methodist Church in Asheboro.

She was preceeded in death by: her parents; husband; and a grandson,  J. Russell Suggs,III.

Survivors: 4 children, J. Russell Suggs Jr. (Sidniee) of Bermuda Run, Richard Howard Suggs of Kuwait, Catherine Ann Suggs Gardiner (Dean) Stokesdale, and John Reid Suggs of Asheboro; 4 grandchildren, Samantha Suggs of Basalt, Colo., Daniel Gardiner (Abigail) of Charlotte,Ben Gardiner of Wilmington, and Will Suggs of Colorado Springs, Colo.

A memorial service is being planned for a later date.

Memorials: Boys and Girls Home of NC, PO Box 127, Lake Waccamaw, 28450.