Donald Lee Gaines, M.D., 87, of Brentwood, TN passed from this life on October 14, 2021. He was predeceased by his parents, Russell Robert and Ethel Mae Fischer Gaines, and by Alice Bradshaw Gaines on October 18, 2020, his wife of 22 years.
He is survived by his daughter Susan Elizabeth Adams, and from his marriage to Sara Norton Gaines of 39 years, his four sons, David Lee, Robert Michael, Andrew Donald (Katina) and Edward Eric. Don was also blessed with 5 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. They include Susan’s daughter: Cara Ainsley Crawford and her children, Ainsley Harper Wiese and Owen Foster Wiese; David’s children: Annie Gaines Black and her children, Aiden Levi Black, Elias Parker Black and Eleanor Grace Black; Shelby Michaela Gaines and Mitchell Gene Russell Gaines; and Andy’s and Katina’s daughter, Anna Claire Gaines.
Don was born in St. Louis, MO and grew up in Camdenton, MO, near Lake of the Ozarks. Known as “Shorty” Gaines, Don was the point guard and last survivor of the five starters for his Camdenton High School basketball team that went to the Missouri Sub-Regional tournament several consecutive years. The story is told that Shorty was responsible for the adoption of the modern day ‘1 and 1 free throw penalty’ for a non-shooting foul in the state of Missouri. Prior to that, when his team had the lead in the 4 th quarter, he would use his superior dribbling skills to keep the ball away from the competition and when fouled, the team would elect to shoot 1, then take the ball out of bounds again.
Don attended Itawamba Junior College on a baseball scholarship and then transferred to the University of Mississippi. He earned his medical degree from the University of Tennessee in September 1958, subsequently joining the United States Air Force Reserve as a flight surgeon.
In 1968, Don completed his residency in orthopedic surgery at Vanderbilt University Hospital. He went on to study at the University of Minnesota and specialize in the treatment of scoliosis and the insertion of Harrington rods in the back to prevent further curvature of the spine, particularly in young patients. He then returned to Nashville with his family and to the private practice of medicine, serving as chief of staff at Donelson Hospital and subsequently Summit Hospital until his retirement in 1999. During his professional career, he was a member of the Tennessee Orthopaedic Society; the Nashville Academy of Medicine and Davidson County Medical Society; and was a Fellow in the American Academy of Orthpaedic Surgeons.
The family extends its deep appreciation and gratitude to Vanessa Hogan, Keondra Cooper and Sandrea Humphries for their excellent care for Don during the last year.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Brentwood United Methodist Church, the Nashville Humane Association or to the charity of your choice.
A private service will be held for Don and Alice in the garden at the Brentwood United Methodist Church on Friday, October 22, 2021, where they will be interred in the Columbarium.
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