- About Us
Dr. Howard Christy Chandler, SrJuly 11, 1925 ~ May 28, 2017 (age 91)
Dr. Howard Christy Chandler, Sr., 91, passed away May 28, 2017. He was born in Jacksonville, Florida to William and Myra Chandler on July 11, 1925. He was the second child of Myra and Bill, joining his older brother William Jr. in the family. At age 6, Howard and his family lost their father to an acute infectious illness. Myra later married Carrington James Masters, a prominent Jacksonville dentist, who adopted the boys and lovingly raised them as his own. Howard often referred to his stepfather as “the finest man who ever lived”.
Known by everyone other than his parents as “Nick”, Howard often told the story of how he picked up his permanent nickname. Around age 9 he learned the story of Nicodemus in Sunday school. His Uncle, thinking that was the funniest name he had ever heard, teased his nephew by calling him “Nicodemus”. Well, it stuck and got shortened to “Nick” and he was thereafter known to everyone as Nick Chandler.
Raised in Jacksonville, Nick attended Bolles Military Academy in Junior High then Landon High School and earned spending money as an usher in the San Marco Theater. Like many young men of that generation, he graduated and volunteered for military duty during World War II, wanting to become an aviator like his older brother. To his dismay, he was directed by the Army to defer deployment for college and he attended Emory University in Atlanta for three years earning his undergraduate degree and taking private flying lessons. Inpatient about waiting for a call up to aviator training after graduation and afraid he would miss out on a chance to do his part in the war, he asked for a transfer to the Navy and attended Officer Candidate School at the Naval Academy, graduating top of his class. He then served as a Navigator on a destroyer in the Pacific Theater but to his regret only after the surrender of Japan and the end of the hostilities. He often mentioned feeling disappointment over not being allowed to do his part for his country, but he would get his chance to serve his fellow man in many other ways.
After leaving the Navy, he returned to Emory University to attend medical school earning his MD degree. While there he somehow caught the eye of a beautiful young woman named Joyce Dean and a lifelong romance blossomed. They married in 1949, honeymooned in Miami Beach, and were married for 66 very happy years until Joyce’s death in 2015.
Nick pursued his residency training in Neurosurgery at the University of Minnesota, and after graduation returned to Jacksonville to practice neurosurgery as a member of the Lyerly Neurosurgery Group. He was known as a skilled surgeon, a compassionate doctor, and a kind mentor and colleague to many in the Jacksonville medical community. He saved the lives of untold numbers of patients and impacted many families in his long career.
His time in the Navy ignited a lifelong passion for boating, cruising, saltwater fishing and beaches. He and Joyce were long time members of the Florida Yacht Club and founding members of the Sawgrass Country Club. They took the family on many wonderful cruises and fishing excursions in Florida, the Bahamas and the Virgin Islands. Nick was also an avid golf and tennis enthusiast well into his 70’s. He was a wonderful cook and a master pastry chef, creating beautiful cakes, pies and soufflés for family gatherings. He loved orchids and grew them in profusion at his home. His favorite hobby involved building and flying radio-controlled airplanes and helicopters. He even embraced the recent drone craze and was piloting drones right up to the end of his life.
Nick and Joyce were long time members of Palms Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville Beach, and devoted followers of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Nick was preceded in death by his mother, father, stepfather, brother William Hughs Chandler, and beloved wife Joyce Dean Chandler. He is survived by his four children Christy Garces (Robert), Candy Attanasio (Mike), Nick Jr (Angela), and Cherie Rowe (Mike), Joyce’s sister Joan Benson, as well as 9 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren.
After a private memorial service, Nick’s cremains will be interred with Joyce’s in the Columbarium at Palms Presbyterian Church.
In honor of Nick, donations may be made to the Howard Chandler Neurosurgical Resident Education Award C/O The University of Minnesota Foundation, 200 Oak Street SE, Suite 500, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55454.