Dr. Arnold Eugene Postlethwaite

December 3, 1940January 18, 2021
Obituary of Dr. Arnold Eugene Postlethwaite


Memphis Funeral Home

Dr. Arnold Eugene Postlethwaite, age 80, passed away at home on January 18, 2021 following a prolonged hospitalization. He was born on December 3, 1940 in Nitro, West Virginia. He graduated from Magnolia High School in 1958, received an A.B. from West Virginia University in 1962, and an M.D. from Cornell Medical College in 1966. He completed postgraduate medical training at Tulane and Duke. A lifelong member of the Church of Christ, Arnold met his wife Carolyn Sue White at Carrollton Avenue Church of Christ in New Orleans. They were married for 52 years. Arnold was a Vietnam Veteran, having served in the Army as a battalion surgeon and chief medical officer. After living in Richmond, Virginia and Durham, North Carolina, Arnold and Sue moved to Memphis in 1973. Arnold dedicated his life to medicine, working full-time until his recent illness. He held positions at both the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and the Veterans Administration Medical Center for the next 47 years. In 1981, he became Chief of the Rheumatology Section at UT and the VA. He also assumed the role of Director of the Division of Connective Tissue Diseases at UTHSC and held the Goodman Chair of Excellence in Medicine. A tireless medical researcher, Dr. Postlethwaite dedicated his life to advancing treatment of rheumatic diseases including rheumatoid arthritis and scleroderma. He was an international authority in Rheumatologic Diseases and in 2012 received the President’s Award by the Tennessee Rheumatologic Society and Doctor of the Year Award by the Scleroderma Foundation, where he was a member of the Medical and Scientific Advisory Board. He was also awarded the designation of Master by the American College of Rheumatology. Dr. Postlethwaite was a well-loved academician who always unselfishly gave his time to mentor and train other researchers and physicians as well as to provide support to patients. Arnold had a lifelong love for his home state of West Virginia and he regularly enjoyed visiting relatives in the state as well as working on his family property on Postlethwait Ridge in Wetzel County. He also loved listening to and playing bluegrass as well as restoring and driving classic Volkswagens. In recent years, he gained tremendous joy from spending time with his grandsons Jack and Leo. Arnold was preceded in death by his parents Curtis Eugene Postlethwaite and his mother Thelma Miller Postlethwaite. He is survived by his wife Sue, sons Ben and Bradley, brother David, and grandsons Jack and Leo. He will be greatly missed. A memorial service will be held after the pandemic subsides. His remains will be buried in the family cemetery in West Virginia. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Scleroderma Foundation ( or the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

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