Clifford Baynes David

Posted 10/21/21

Dr. Clifford Baynes David was born on October 1, 1946, in Jacksonville, Florida, to the late Dr. J.K. David and Ethel Fearl David. After completing medical school at Duke University, Dr. David …

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Clifford Baynes David

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Posted

Dr. Clifford Baynes David was born on October 1, 1946, in Jacksonville, Florida, to the late Dr. J.K. David and Ethel Fearl David. After completing medical school at Duke University, Dr. David practiced pediatrics for 50 years, both in Jacksonville and around the world. He finished his pediatric training at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children in London, U.K., and in 1975 moved to Sana’a, Yemen where he worked as a volunteer doctor in a children’s clinic. He returned to the U.S. in 1977 to complete a Master’s in Public Health at Harvard and then opened a private practice in Pittsboro, North Carolina.

Feeling the need for new, professional challenges and a desire to improve his Arabic (his paternal grandparents emigrated from Syria), in 1983 he moved with his young family to Saudi Arabia. In 1989, after a stint working in Baghdad during the Iran-Iraq War, he finally returned to Jacksonville to work at Wolfson Children’s Hospital where he remained until his retirement in 2014. That same year, he moved back to Pittsboro where he built a cabin on land he had purchased when he lived there in the 1980s.

Life abroad instilled in his children a sense of curiosity and a desire to explore the world. Family adventures included negotiating with Saudi police during camping trips at the Red Sea whilst hiding home-brewed wine in the tents along with the women and children, being chased by a herd of water buffalo on safari in Kenya, capsizing a small sailboat off the coast of Phuket, Thailand, and, perhaps seen as an easy target, being robbed multiple times in Colombia. Always the optimist, he was never discouraged and never lost faith in humanity. On the contrary, he taught his children how to deal with adversity with a sense of humor and a level head.

A gifted musician, Cliff loved to unwind playing the piano. He entertained his kids with his Totally 80s Piano Songbook and played Star Wars theme songs with his grandson, Max, who was born with his grandfather’s musical ear. His musical talents, however, did not translate to the dance floor and physical coordination was not his strong suit, as many wedding guests and skiers in Austria can confirm. But he always gave 100% effort which amused his kids no end.

Retirement did not slow him down, nor did it quell his desire for adventure or his dedication to the most vulnerable children in developing countries. In 2018, he joined the Italian medical charity Emergency and worked for six months as a volunteer at a hospital in the Panjsher Valley, Afghanistan, and two six-month assignments in Sudan where he worked at a children’s clinic outside Khartoum.

Cliff will be remembered for his kindness and humility; for his open mind, his wry sense of humor and his wonderful stories. His kind eyes and warm smile could put even the most frightened, small patient at ease. He has friends around the world and was loved by everyone who knew him.

He is survived by his three children, Joanna Jovanovic and her husband Borjan, Charles David and his wife Mo Chen and Beatrice David and her fiancé Robert Case. Bea and Robert are due to marry in February 2022. He leaves behind four grandchildren, Max and Lea Jovanovic and Hazel and Natalie Chen-David, all of whom adored him. He is also survived by his sister Barbara Wright, and his brother Richard and wife Chris Stahl and by six nieces and nephews and many loving cousins. During his last year, he was lovingly cared for by his siblings and sister-in-law, his cousins Joey Howell and Lisa Neal and his first wife, Patricia David.

A memorial service will be held in Jacksonville, Florida, in 2022. Donations can be made in his memory to the International Rescue Committee at https://www.rescue.org/.