Dr. Henry Worth Boyce Jr.

September 21, 1930June 3, 2019
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BOYCE, Dr. H. Worth Jr., 88, passed away peacefully Monday, June 3, 2019, in Odessa, Florida. Born in Clinton, North Carolina September 21, 1930, the son of Lena Craft Boyce and H.W. Boyce Sr., Worth was married to his devoted wife, Jean Murphy Boyce, for 67 years. Together they raised five children, Buddy Boyce (wife, Melinda), Dr. Steve Boyce (wife, Tina), Dr. Greg Boyce (wife, Martha), Cindy Zentmeyer (husband, Sonny), and Mary Wells (husband, Dan). Worth is also survived by his brother, Gene Boyce (wife, Pat); 13 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

H. Worth Boyce Jr. M.D., was one of the true pioneers of modern gastroenterology and responsible for many of the techniques in use today for patients with swallowing disorders. At age four, Worth told his parents that his dream was to become a doctor and he never wavered from that goal.

Worth was a graduate of Wake Forest University (BS), Baylor University (MS), and Bowman Gray School of Medicine (MD). He completed specialty training in internal medicine and subspecialty training in gastroenterology in the United States Army.

During his military service of 20 years, he rose to the rank of Colonel, turning down promotions to General, because it would have taken him away from the practice of medicine. Worth served as Chief of Gastroenterology at Madigan Army Medical Center and Brooke Army Medical Center. From 1966 to 1975, he was Chief of Gastroenterology at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, a consultant to the Surgeon General of the Army and was also one of President Dwight Eisenhower's personal physicians. During his career in the Army, Dr. Boyce was awarded the Army National Defense medal, the Army Commendation medal and the 'A' Prefix award which is the highest award that can be given for professional attainment in the US Army. In 1975, the President of United States awarded to Dr. Boyce the Legion of Merit medal for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements.

In 1975, Dr. Boyce retired from the Army and joined the University of South Florida College of Medicine, where he established and served as the Director of the Division of Digestive Diseases and Nutrition until 1990. In 1987, Dr. Boyce founded the USF Center for Esophageal and Swallowing Disorders. Dr. Boyce recognized that there was very little being done for people who were unable to swallow either because of a congenital disorder, injuries, or diseases such as esophageal cancer. His vision to create a comprehensive Center for Swallowing Disorders came to fruition after Hugh Culverhouse, at the time the owner of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers football team, came to Dr. Boyce as a patient. Worth and Jean and Hugh and Joy Culverhouse soon became close friends, and through the generosity of the Culverhouses in 1987, and an additional endowment of $12 million from Joy Culverhouse in 1997, the Joy McCann Culverhouse Center for Swallowing Disorders stands to this day as the largest fully staffed swallowing center in the country and the crowning achievement of Dr. Boyce's illustrious career. Dr. Boyce finally retired from the practice of medicine in 2011 at the age of 81.

Dr. Boyce's lifetime achievements are almost too numerous to mention, however the following are a listing of the most important accomplishments and honors of an incredible physician, husband, father, and patriarch to all in his adoring family:

He was President of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy ASGE, 1973 to 1974, President of the Eighth World Congress of Digestive Endoscopy, 1994, Recipient of the Rudolph Schindler award and the Fourth Distinguished Service award from ASGE for his contributions to gastrointestinal endoscopy. He was further the recipient of the Rudolph and Anita Noer Distinguished Professor award from the University of South Florida, recipient of the first Janssen award for Outstanding Achievement in Clinical Gastroenterology, and recipient of the Distinguished Achievement Award from the Medical Alumni Association of the Bowman Gray School of Medicine.

His contributions to medical literature include two textbooks, 48 chapters in medical textbooks, and over 200 medical articles. He directed over 50 post graduate courses in gastroenterology and endoscopy.

He was an Eagle Scout and Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop number 95, of which his three sons were members.

Of all of these many accolades and accomplishments, Worth would say that he is most proud of his role as a loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather to the most warm, wonderful family in the world whom he loved without reservation.

The funeral service will be held Friday, June 14, at Lake Magdalene United Methodist Church, 2902 West Fletcher Ave. in Tampa, Florida. Visitation will be from 10:30 to 11:30 am, the service will begin at 11:30 am. After the service, the burial, with full military honors, will take place at 2 pm at the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, Florida. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date yet to be determined.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to: USF Foundation, FBO Swallowing Center Research Operating Fund, 4202 East Fowler Ave., ALC 100, Tampa Florida 33620-5455


  • Visitation Friday, June 14, 2019
  • Funeral Service Friday, June 14, 2019
  • Graveside Service Friday, June 14, 2019


Dr. Henry Worth Boyce Jr.

have a memory or condolence to add?

Umesh Choudhry

June 15, 2019

The certainty of reality will take a long time to sink in. The memories will live on through some of these pictures

Umesh Choudhry

June 15, 2019

My first meeting with Dr Boyce came about courtesy one of his previous students. Little did I know that it would turn into a lifetime relationship. Twenty four years later, I’m still proud to be called a “Boyce Student”. I may have given up the chance to be at Harvard (something I always wanted to do) but I’m sure the opportunity of learning from him, working with him made me a much better physician and a better human being !! Even after leaving the swallowing center, my family and I have been fortunate to have received the same love and friendship that endeared him to so many people. As I write this I can feel him smiling and brushing aside my accolades as “no the pleasure is ours”. Will cherish the memories ....Always. Umesh

Mary Churchill

June 13, 2019

Dear Jean and family,
While reading the obits in the newspaper (a favorite pastime of mine), I was intrigued by such an interesting life. No doubt Worth's many accomplishments were made possible because of the love and support of his wife and family. Then I realized that Jean and I played golf for awhile on the Babe Z. ladies league. Now I know for sure. Please accept my sincere condolences for your loss.

Herbert Segal

June 12, 2019

I served an elective in gastroenterology with Dr. Boyce during my internship at Walter Reed General Hospital. I remember him with admiration and want to express my condolences to his family.

Frances Shell

June 10, 2019

I'm so sorry to learn about Worth. I always admired him in high school and college. May the Lord bless you and your family.
- Fran Parker Shell

Dean Bob Daugherty

June 8, 2019

Worth was the best physician;best teacher & the nicest professional I ever worked with!!
Bob Daugherty
Dean of USF School of Medicine 2000-2003

Richard Dutton

June 8, 2019

The Officers and Board of ThUSFar , the Association for Retired Faculty and Staff of the University of South Florida wish to
extend condolences to the family of Dr. H. Worth Boyce Jr. on his recent passing. His many contributions to the University and to his field of medical research and practice will be felt for decades to come.
Truly , his was a life well lived ! Richard E Dutton , Ph.D. , Professor Emeritus , & Board Member

Kevin O’Berry

June 7, 2019

Thanks for the great memories Dr. Boyce.

Phil Altus

June 7, 2019

I first met Worth in 1976 when I joined the faculty at USF. He saw me and said "Hi Phil, Worth Boyce. Welcome and we are glad you joined us." I was shocked! Here was a renowned Physician treating me, the new young faculty member, as a colleague. He was a humble man who was a scholar and a gentleman. Over the years we shared a number of patients, all of whom he treated with incredible skill and empathy. He was an outstanding role model to colleagues, students, residents and fellows. His legacy will live on through all of the physicians he trained. We have lost an incredible individual.

Lyn and Richard Hirsch

June 7, 2019

With a heavy heart, Lyn and I were saddened to learn of the passing of Worth. He was not only an accomplished and outstanding physician but we can personally attest, as patients , to his compassion and understanding . More importantly, he was one of the finest men you would ever want to know .