Dr. John Taylor Kitchings passed away peacefully on May 1, 2021, at Hospice Ministries in Ridgeland. His memory will live on in the hearts of the family, friends and patients to whom he dedicated his life. His children share stories about strangers coming up to them, saying “you look just like Dr. Kitchings”; an emotional remembrance about his impact on their lives always follows.
Born in Beach, MS, on November 21, 1928, John grew up in Clinton, MS, where his father, Dr. Atley Asher Kitchings, taught languages at Mississippi College. When he was seven years old, John declared that he would become a doctor. He enrolled at MC in 1945 and earned a degree in biology in 1947. In 1950, he married Dorothy Lynn Hannah of Clinton and moved with her to New Orleans, where, at the age of twenty-two, he received his medical degree from Tulane University Medical School. An internship in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Southern Baptist Hospital in New Orleans was followed by a two-year stint as Captain in the United States Air Force at Donelson Air Force base in Greenville, SC.
Following two years of general practice in Collins, MS, Dr. Kitchings moved his family to Jackson where he completed his residency at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, later partnering with Dr. Walter Simmons and Dr. Ross Bass at what is now Jackson Healthcare for Women. He was recognized as a Fellow by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists in 1962 and acknowledged as a Diplomat of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1980. He was appointed Chief of Staff at St. Dominic’s Hospital in 1963 and at Doctor’s Hospital in 1970. Dr. Kitchings had the distinction of initiating and spearheading the development and establishment of Woman’s Hospital (now part of Merit Health Systems) in 1975, where he was Chief of Staff from 1975 to 1977. He also served as President of the Mississippi OB-GYN Society, the Jackson Gynecic Society, the South Central OB-GYN Society and as Chairman of the OB-GYN Section of the State Medical Association. Other professional affiliations included the American Medical Association, Central Medical Society, American College OB-GYN, University Medical Center Alumni Society, and the Winfred L. Wiser Society.
A Clinical Instructor and Assistant Professor at University Mississippi Medical Center throughout his years of practice, Dr. Kitchings transitioned to full-time work at UMMC in 2001, having delivered over 7,000 babies. His academic honors and recognitions there included “Faculty Member of the Year” presented by the Class of 2003, Department of OB-GYN; the APGP Excellence in Teaching Award in 2004, presented by the Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics and by OB-GYN Department at UMMC; and the “National Faculty Award,” presented by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists on Resident Education in OB-GYN. From 2009-2011, he served as Medical Director of UMMC/Jackson Hinds Comprehensive Health Center OB-GYN Clinics at the Jackson Medical Mall. Upon his retirement from teaching, the John T. Kitchings CREOG Award was established, recognizing the graduating senior resident with the highest CREOG (Council on Resident Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology) exam score.
In 1976, he married Melinda Rice Fortune of Jackson, who has been his devoted and supportive wife for the past forty-five years. In the rare time away from work, he loved to hunt and fish and spend time with family. He was especially known for his culinary skills with quail. He and Mindy also loved the water and maintained a boat at Orange Beach, AL, an escape they shared with family and friends for many years.
He is survived by his loving wife, Mindy; his sons, John Taylor Kitchings, Jr., (Beth) and Kendall Davis Kitchings (Ellen); daughters, Maribeth Kitchings and Hannah Kitchings King (Burney); also daughters, Monica Fortune Powers (Brian) and Meredith Fortune Hewitt; grandchildren, William Kitchings (Angela), Michael Kitchings, Mary Katherine Kitchings Woodall (Davis), Emma Wann, Ashton King, Lily Wann, John Taylor Kitchings III, Hannah Clay King, Brian Powers, and Blayne Powers; sister, Grace Kitchings Hannah (Bobby), and many nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his parents, Atley Asher and Marion Beulah Mudd Kitchings; and his brothers, Atley, Harold, and Ben.
Visitation will be Saturday, May 8, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Parkway Funeral Home on Highland Colony in Ridgeland, with a service to follow at noon in the Chapel.