Dominic Massa / Eyewitness News
NEW ORLEANS - Dr. Charles Farris Jr., a nationally-respected obstetrician and gynecologist, who delivered nearly 15,000 babies in New Orleans during his 60-year career, while caring for their mothers and researching women’s health issues from the child rearing years through menopause, died Monday of congestive heart failure. He was 87.
WWL-TV medical reporter Meg Farris is among Dr. Farris’ six children.
Dr. Farris remained active up until the past month, still driving to his Uptown practice daily and seeing patients, some of whom he had delivered as babies more than 50 years earlier. He delivered nearly 15,000 babies during his career as a physician at Ochsner Baptist Medical Center, formerly known as Southern Baptist Hospital, on Napoleon Avenue in Uptown New Orleans.
Dr. Farris was board certified in obstetrics & gynecology with special certification as a menopause clinician specializing in hormone replacement therapy. He was internationally known for his research into the much-debated therapy for women entering menopause, a treatment he studied and wrote about extensively and strongly supported. He was also a senior lecturer at Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Australia and a member of the International Menopause Society.
Dr. Farris was a longtime member of the physicians’ staff at Ochsner Baptist Hospital, even serving as a member of the executive committee of the hospital in the 1980s. He was also a former president of the New Orleans Gynecological and Obstetrical Society.
Born in Leland, Miss., in the heart of the Mississippi delta, Dr. Farris graduated from the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) and attended Ole Miss medical school before earning his medical degree from the University of Tennessee. He completed his internship and residency at Charity Hospital in New Orleans.
He also served in U.S. Navy during World War II in the Pacific.
Dr. Farris’ love for Ole Miss remained strong for more than 60 years. All of his six children and three of his grandchildren graduated from the university, and he was a frequent traveler to Oxford for football games and campus events. He also served terms as president and vice president of the New Orleans chapter of the university’s alumni association and also was a past president of the Ole Miss medical alumni association.
In 2003, he was honored with the Ole Miss Alumni Service Award, recognizing individuals who have been members of the school’s alumni association for 25 years or more and “who have consistently demonstrated extraordinary commitment, dedication, leadership and service to the advancement of the University of Mississippi and its alumni association.”
Dr. Farris and his wife, Margee, were married for more than 50 years, until her death in 2003. Mrs. Farris was a tireless volunteer and civic activist, leading fundraising efforts for City Park, the Friends of the Cabildo, WYES-TV, the YWCA and Newman School, among many others. Over the years, Dr. and Mrs. Farris were known for giving not just their time, but also financial support and even the use of their Lakefront home to groups they supported and hosted social gatherings for.
In addition to his daughter Meg, Dr. Farris is survived by five sons and six grandchildren.
Visitation will be Friday from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. at Lake Lawn Metairie Funeral Home, 5100 Pontchartrain Blvd. A funeral Mass will be celebrated Saturday at 11 a.m. Burial will follow in Lake Lawn Metairie Cemetery.