Thomas Ralph Pheasant, M.D.
On Sunday, July 26, Thomas Ralph Pheasant, M.D., aged 75, passed away at home in Wormleysburg, PA, surrounded by his devoted family. He is survived by his wife of nearly 52 years, Linda Ruth (Rupert) Pheasant, a high school classmate, by daughter Sarah Lynne Pheasant of Washington, DC, and by son David Thomas Pheasant of Philadelphia, PA.
Dr. Pheasant was born on November 28, 1944, in Huntingdon, PA, the only child of Clayton Chalmer Pheasant, D.D.S., and Barbara Hanawalt Pheasant, a teacher of English and drama. His family regularly attended the First Methodist Church, where Tom was an active member of the youth group and Boy Scout troop. Memorable summers were spent at Seven Mountains Boy Scout Camp, and he ultimately attained the rank of Eagle Scout and the distinction of Order of the Arrow.
Tom graduated from Huntingdon Area High School in 1962, where he served in numerous leadership roles, including class president, president of the National Honor Society, and editor-in-chief of the yearbook. He also played the baritone horn in the band and sang in several select choral groups. Tom graduated from Juniata College in 1966, where he later served on the Board of Trustees for 20 years, including more than 10 years as secretary. Summer jobs during high school and college, including in general construction, at the PA Department of Highways, and in a Cleveland foundry, always continued to influence his relationship to people and work.
In 1970, he earned an M.D. from Case Western Reserve University and then completed his straight medical internship at the University of Florida Shands Teaching Hospital. Tom served for two years in the U.S. Public Health Service as a regional medical officer based in Atlanta, GA, overseeing rural health care in eight southeastern states. These projects ranged from the Frontier Nursing Service in Hyden, KY, to migrant worker programs in Florida’s orange groves. He returned to Case Western to complete a residency in Ophthalmology, and served as Chief Resident. He moved to Philadelphia in 1976 for a two-year fellowship at Wills Eye Hospital, studying diseases and surgery of the retina and vitreous. Dr. Pheasant then joined the clinical faculty at Penn State Milton Hershey Medical Center.
In 1980, Dr. Pheasant founded a solo practice. He was later joined by Richard C. Lanning, M.D., and by Jay G. Prensky, M.D., all of whom sought to provide world-class vitreoretinal care to central Pennsylvania. That practice exists today as Pennsylvania Retina Specialists, with six physicians in five offices. Dr. Pheasant was a charter member of the Macula Society, a select international research forum, as well as Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at Holy Spirit Hospital and Chairman of its Bylaws Committee.
In his personal life, Tom loved piloting his small Cessna, sailing in fair winds, and petting any available dog. He savored strong friendships and fine wine. Having been loved intensely from birth, he returned that affection and devotion to his own family, and to the profession he cherished. He will be sorely missed.
A viewing and funeral service will take place at Trinity Lutheran Church, 2000 Chestnut Street, Camp Hill, PA, on Saturday, August 8, 2020. Public viewing commences at 10:30 AM and ends at 11:45 AM, with a funeral service to begin promptly at noon. This will, of necessity, be a socially distanced event due to COVID-19 precautions, and facial coverings will be required. Sanctuary pews will be plainly marked to accommodate distancing, but it will be necessary to close the doors if the nave reaches capacity. Those who wish to attend the funeral service remotely via web streaming may do so at https://youtu.be/1L1O4yQBB-Q. Private burial will be at the family’s convenience.
Memorial contributions in memory of Dr. Pheasant may be made to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Homeland Hospice, Trinity Lutheran Church, and Juniata College.
Dr. Pheasant’s family has entrusted his care to Buhrig Funeral Home & Crematory in Mechanicsburg, (717) 766-3421. You may read Dr. Pheasant’s obituary, view his memorial video, offer condolences and sympathy, share stories and memories, upload photographs and videos, light a candle and sign his official guest book by visiting Buhrig.com.
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Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
1500 Rosecrans Ave., Suite 200, Manhattan Beach CA 90266
Homeland at Home Hospice
2300 Vartan Way, Suite 115, Harrisburg PA 17110
Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church - Camp Hill
2000 Chestnut Street, Camp Hill PA 17011
1700 Moore Street, Huntingdon PA 16652