It is difficult to describe the overwhelming feeling that overcomes you when you hear about the loss of a friend, a colleague, a world renowned, internationally respected orthopaedic surgeon, a true family man, a strong physician leader/educator, and humble, down-to-earth Southern gentleman. There aren’t too many people in this world who would be recognized at this level, but all who knew Angus McBryde, Jr., MD, will agree that he deserves all of these accolades. A car accident took his life on Tuesday, October 4, 2016, and as the news spread throughout the SMA headquarters office and the disbelief and grief sank in, SMA staff wished to share how he impacted so many individuals within the Association family, as well as the world of continuing medical education.
For more than 30 years, the staff and physician leadership of Southern Medical Association and SMA Services, Inc. had the pleasure of knowing and working with Dr. McBryde. He began his involvement with SMA in the early 1980s planning orthopaedic educational sessions during the Association’s Scientific Assembly, and over the years, his professional reputation continued to progress to an international level. SMA was honored that he served as the Association’s President in 1994 and later, in 2011, he served as Chairman of the SMA Services Board. Afterwards, he continued to stay actively involved teaching accredited educational courses and serving on various committees. His leadership in the physician education community helped to evolve orthopaedics into what it is today.
“Dr. McBryde was so much fun to work with!” remembers Mandy Stone, SMA’s CME Program Manager. “We planned orthopaedic resident conferences, CME cruises, webcasts, and countless presentations for SMA’s Scientific Assembly. With his pleasant demeanor and upbeat attitude, you couldn’t help but enjoy working with him.” Kendra Blackmon, SMA Leadership Manager, echoes this sentiment. “Dependable, and always willing to help. I could call on him anytime to assist with a project, he was always ready, willing and more than able to see a project through,” she said.
Equally as impressive as his medical career was his caring personality. Dr. McBryde was well-respected and had a thriving career as a preeminent orthopaedic surgeon, yet he deeply admired and cared about the people in his life and took the time to know them on a personal level. Dr. McBryde genuinely cared about their well-being, going above and beyond by offering assistance, advice, or even a personal visit. “He once opened his office on a Sunday morning to check on my shoulder after surgery,” recalls Fadwa Shunnarah of SMA Tours Staff, who arranged the majority of Dr. McBryde’s travel for many years.
Luke Hartsfield, who served as SMA’s Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director before retiring in 2015, recognizes the influence Dr. McBryde had on him, personally and professionally. “An individual has very few opportunities during his career to interact with someone who has meaningful impact on both his personal lives and business philosophies,” he said. “During my 27 years with SMA, I learned so much from Dr. McBryde. He was a heralded surgeon, an astute businessman, but most importantly a man of strong conviction and impeccable integrity. It is tragic that he was taken from us, but his influence and impact will last forever.” Although Randy Glick, SMA’s current Executive Director, may not have known Dr. McBryde as long as others, he, too, appreciates his easy-going and affable demeanor. “I had several occasions to speak and work with Dr. McBryde in recent years and can say he was the quintessential gentlemen -- kind, personable, and always as friendly.”
The enduring friendships Dr. McBryde maintained with SMA staff serve as another indicator of the kind of man he was. “Jeanette Stone, who retired from SMA in 2001 and worked with him for many years, passed away in 2010,” Mandy recalls. “Just prior to her death, he spent a day with her at her home, reminiscing over meetings, accomplishments, and great times together,” she said. Even when his career took him to both south Alabama and South Carolina, Dr. McBryde often would visit the SMA headquarters office simply to say hello and share updates on colleagues and friends with whom he kept in touch.
Dr. McBryde has left a lasting impression, not only as a physician, but also as friend and colleague who was always quick to lend a hand. Wendy Erhart, Insurance Specialist for SMA Services Inc. summed it up best, “Some people make a huge impression with the slightest touch in our lives and he was one of those for me.”
Today SMA honors Dr. Angus McBryde, the unsurpassed passion he had for his work, and the time he always took to recognize and truly enjoy the people in his life. He will be missed.