ATLANTA, Ga. – Henry Rives Coleman Chalmers, MD. July 28, 1918 – April 1, 2013.
“When through one man a little more love and goodness, a little more light and truth comes into this world, then that man’s life has had meaning.” Alfred Delp
Rives Chalmers’ life touched many others in the way he lived and through his work. He lives on through the people who were changed by knowing him. There were so many who were patients, or friends, or family, or friends of family, whose lives were made better because of his caring and his counsel. He challenged each of us to be the best person we could be, not hiding behind pretense or position. He was steadfast in his beliefs and many times this made people uncomfortable or even angry, but by challenging easy positions and thoughtless acts, he brought out the best in the people around him.
Rives was born in Phenix, VA, July 28, 1918, and attended the University of Virginia and the University of Virginia Medical School, 1934-1941. He was a Lt. Commander in the US Navy Medical Corps, 1941-1947. He was in private practice in psychiatry in Atlanta, GA, 1947-1956. From 1956-1989 he was a member of the Atlanta Psychiatric Clinic, and then continued in private practice.
He was devoted to his wife, Elizabeth Yates, Buba , whom he married in 1944. They were married 67 years, until her death in April, 2011. He cared for her during her illness with Alzheimer’s until they both entered the William Bremen Jewish Home in 2010. He is survived by his 5 children, 10 grandchildren, and 7 great-grandchildren. Alice Gordon Chalmers, Cedar Mountain, NC; Rives Chalmers, married to Ann Jernigan, Saratoga, CA, and their three children, Alex Chalmers, New York, NY;, John Chalmers and his wife, Ashley Harrington and their 2 daughters, Avery and Kaitlin, Alpharetta, GA; and Jennifer Chalmers, Washington, DC; Beth Thornton, married to George Thornton, Edgefield, SC, and their children Darcey Mullis, married to Paul Mullis, and their two children, Asher and Aine, Atlanta, GA, and Ben Thornton, San Francisco, CA; Dana Pittard, married to Pat Pittard, Atlanta, GA, and their three children, Cole Jamison Deming, married to Zack Deming, and their two children, Frank and Jackson, Atlanta, GA, Leigh Pittard, Atlanta, GA, and Brett Jamison, San Francisco, CA; and David Chalmers, married to Lisa Marshall, Atlanta, GA, and their two children, Marshall Chalmers, married to Suzanne Girdner, and their daughter, Eloise, Decatur, GA, and Elizabeth Chalmers McGanity, married to Chris McGanity, Nashville, TN.
During his career in Atlanta Rives served as: Associate in Psychiatry, Emory University School of Medicine, 1947-1955. Chairman, Mental Health Committee, Medical Association of Georgia, 1955-1958; President, Georgia Psychiatric Association, 1960; Member Schaefer Study Committee, Medical Association of Georgia, 1959; Public Information Committee, American Psychiatric Association, 1959-1961; Contract Survey Board, American Psychiatric Association, 1961-1964; Member, Advisory Committee on Mental Institutions, Georgia Department of Public Health, 1959-1962; Professional Advisory Panel to Division Mental Health, Georgia Department of Public Health, 1965-1973; Psychiatric Consultant, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Georgia Department of Education, 1954-1972; Consultant, Southern Regional Education Board, 1955-1956; Chairman Task Force on Peer Review, American Psychiatric Association, 1971-1973; Civil Service Association, Atlanta, GA; Atlanta Public School System, 1958-1961; Southern Regional Education Board, 1955-1956.
Rives was also active in community affairs through the years: Metropolitan Atlanta Community Services, Chairman, Health Planning Section, 1954-1955; Health Committee, Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, 1954-1957; Advisory Board, Fulton-DeKalb Child Guidance Clinic, 1951-1952; Advisory Board; Grady Hospital Chaplaincy, 1961-1963; Board, Association for Pastoral Care, 1963-1976; Board of Directors, National Association for Mental Health, 1954-1962; Regional Vice-President NAMH, 1962; Member, Advisory Council on Volunteer Services, NAMH, 1961; President, Margaret Mitchell Elementary School PTA, 1961-1962; Co-Chairman, Northside Council on Human Relations, 1966-1972. Vestryman, St Luke’s Episcopal Church, 1950-1954; Board of Trustees, Phoenix Society, 1966-1971.
He participated in many professional and community organizations: Life Fellow, American Psychiatric Association; Member, American Medical Association; Member, Medical Association of Georgia; Member, Medical Association of Atlanta; Life Fellow, American Group Psychotherapy Association; Fellow, American Public Health Association; Member, American Academy of Psychotherapists; Member, American Association for Advancement of Science, National Rehabilitation Association; Member, Atlanta Mental Health Association; Member, University of Virginia Alumnae Association; Member, Phi Beta Pi Medical Fraternity; Member, Colonnade Club; Member, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church; Member, Phoenix Society of Atlanta; Member Hal Davison Philosophy Club; Member, Stone Mountain Branch Scottish Clan Cameron; Life member, Cabell Foundation. Memorial Service for Mr. Chalmers will be held Monday, April 15, 2013 at 3 p.m. at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. His ashes will be buried Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 11 a.m. at Monticello Memory Gardens in Virginia.