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Dr. Joshua Fry Bullitt Camblos Obituary check_circle

Dr. Joshua Fry Bullitt Camblos

Asheville – Dr. “Josh” Camblos, who practiced surgery in Asheville for 34 years, died peacefully at Deerfield Episcopal Retirement Community following a brief illness. He was 95 years old. Born in Big Stone Gap, VA on August 16, 1916, he was the son of the late James Lyle Camblos and Margaret Bullitt Camblos.

After graduating from Virginia Episcopal School in Lynchburg, VA, Josh received both his undergraduate and medical education at the University of Virginia. He graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry, Phi Beta Kappa, in 1939, and in 1943 received his M.D. He was on the medical school Dean’s List for all four years and was elected a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha National Medical Honor Society.

Josh’s medical training was interrupted late in 1943 when he was called to active duty in the Navy. In World War II he served as the medical officer for Escort Division 55, composed of six anti-submarine destroyer escorts and 1200 Naval personnel. He saw action in the North and South Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and the Pacific.

Upon discharge from the Navy in 1946, Josh returned to the University of Virginia to complete his surgical residency. This was followed by further training at the newly formed Norburn Hospital in Asheville, at the Memorial Hospital in Manhattan, and finally at the Lahey Clinic in Boston, where he served as Dr. Lahey’s first assistant.

In June 1950 Josh returned with his young family to open his surgical practice in Asheville. He became recognized at once by his Asheville colleagues as a particularly skilled surgeon whose interests and capabilities spanned several varied fields of surgery. Josh served as Chief of Staff at Mission Hospital in 1970-71 and Vice-chairman of St Joseph’s Hospital Foundation from 1976-1978. He also served on the Board of The Health Adventure, was Board Member Emeritus of Mountain Area Hospice, and founded Regional Surgical Specialists in 1980 where he served as the senior surgeon until his retirement in 1984.

Because of his special interest in cancer surgery, Josh was one of the founders of the Buncombe County unit of the American Cancer Society in the early ’50s. He devoted many years to the control of cancer, progressing from the local unit and clinic, through the NC Division of the American Cancer Society, and finally to the National American Cancer Society which awarded him the 1977 Distinguished Service Award.

A life-long Episcopalian, Josh served on the Vestry of Trinity Episcopal Church, and the Deerfield Board of Directors. He was also a member of the Biltmore Forest Country Club.

From his youth, Josh knew he would focus his life on his two passions, medicine and the outdoors. He spent countless hours exploring the woods of southwest Virginia, and a keen interest in ornithology persisted throughout his life. His detailed notes and collection of eggs of Virginia’s wild birds is now housed in the Smithsonian Institution. As an avid outdoorsman Josh enjoyed hunting and fishing, hiking and camping, and birdwatching. He caught rattlesnakes to aid in the development of anti-venom and worked with Chimney Rock Park to successfully revive the local Peregrine Falcon population. Josh was a Trustee of the NC Nature Conservancy, a Board member of the Asheville Nature Center, on the NC Wildlife’s Endangered Species Commission, and a 50 year member of Seniard Creek Rod and Gun Club in Asheville. After retiring, he conducted ornithology classes at UNC Asheville, High Hampton Inn, and the Swag. He was also able to pursue his lifelong talent as a wildlife artist.

Josh was preceded in death by his beautiful wife of 66 years, Ruth Gardner Hensley Camblos of Asheville; three children, Charles Christian Camblos, Joshua Fry Bullitt Camblos, Jr., and Margaret Bullitt Camblos. He is survived by his daughter, Helen Stuart Camblos of Asheville; granddaughter Jennifer Stuart Royall of Asheville; granddaughter Caroline Bryan Royall of Richmond, VA; granddaughter Margaret Bullitt Royall of Ithaca, NY, married to Dr. Robert Dale Reed;; and great-grandson, Forrest Royall Reed.

A memorial service will be held at Trinity Episcopal Church on Friday, June 29 at 11am. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The Nature Center, Gashes Creek Rd, Asheville, NC, 28805, or Trinity Episcopal Church, 60 Church St., Asheville, NC, 28801.

Morris Funeral Home, 304 Merrimon Avenue is in charge of arrangements. Condolences may be sent through the website

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