American Veteran 04

J. David McGaughey, III, MD

October 22, 1918 ~ January 12, 2020 (age 101)


J. David "Doc" McGaughey passed away on January 12, 2020, following a brief illness. He was 101 years old. Son of the late James D. McGaughey, II, M.D. and Helen Cox McGaughey, he was born in 1918, while his father was overseas serving as a medical officer in the American Expeditionary Force. A life-long Wallingford resident, he was a graduate of Choate School, Dartmouth College, and Jefferson Medical College.

David had just started medical school when the U.S. entered WW II. The pace of study immediately intensified, and anticipating that, like his father, he would serve in the Army Medical Corps upon graduation, he enrolled in the Army Specialist Training Program. However, while he was completing his internship, he and many of his classmates were asked to transfer to the Navy, which was expecting heavy casualties during planned amphibious landings on the home islands of Japan. Initially assigned to an assault force flagship, he was relieved when Japan surrendered and the planned invasion proved unnecessary. Following WW II, he joined his father in medical practice in Wallingford-interrupted by a recall to active duty in the Navy during the Korean War-until his father's retirement in 1952. However, Navy medicine continued to hold interest for him. He remained in the Naval Reserve for the next three decades, ultimately retiring as a Captain and Commanding Officer of the medical unit at the Naval Reserve Training Center in New Haven.

While serving as a part-time resident physician at the Meriden Hospital, David met Videen Parke, who was then employed as an instructor at the Hospital's nursing school. The couple married in 1948, settled in Wallingford, raised a family of three children and became involved in numerous civic and service organizations and causes-extending that involvement to the Connecticut shoreline as the family enjoyed summer vacations at their beloved shore cottage in Madison. Like other physicians practicing in Wallingford in the post-war years, he was sometimes called by Fire Department dispatchers to respond to medical emergencies. Having served as a volunteer firefighter while in college, he took particular interest in the Fire Department's activities, and, at the request of its firefighters, began to provide training in advanced first aid and resuscitation to both full-time and volunteer fire companies. This experience led to his appointment in the late 1940s as the Department's Fire Surgeon, a post he held continuously for sixty years. It was not unusual to see him responding to emergency "resuscitator calls", multiple casualty accidents or major structure fires, driving through town in one or another of his Oldsmobile cars, each equipped with flashing red lights, a siren and two-way radio. He loved it. Above all else, he valued his association with the men and women of the fire service-people whom he admired and respected for their skills, their character and their dedication to saving lives. Known affectionately as "Doc" by his many good friends in the Fire Department, he formally retired at the age of 90, with the rank of Honorary Chief Officer.

The world of emergency medicine grew dramatically during Doc's tenure as Fire Surgeon, and he became a principal bridgebuilder between the innovative research being conducted in major medical centers and administrators and practitioners throughout Southeast Connecticut. Board certified in both Insurance Medicine and Emergency Medicine, he helped establish Connecticut's Emergency Medical System and, as a volunteer with the American Heart Association , taught and certified hundreds of EMTs, Paramedics and hospital emergency department physicians and nurses in the principles and protocols of Advanced Cardiac Life Support. He did all this while pursuing a demanding career in the medical underwriting department of Connecticut General Life Insurance Company (later CIGNA), He retired as the company's Medical Director in 1983.

"Doc" was predeceased by his wife, Videen, and his sister Evelyn. He is survived by his children: James D. McGaughey, IV of Mansfield; Videen McGaughey Bennett and her husband, Christopher Bennett, of Ridgefield; and Heather McGaughey and her husband, John Wilmouth, of Evergreen, Colorado. He is also survived by his grandchildren: Jonathan Bennett, M.D and his wife, Sabrina Dhillon, M.D., Molly McGaughey, Samuel McGaughey and Evan Wilmouth.


The services for Dr. J. David McGaughey that were to be held on Fri March 20, 2020 and Sat March 21, 2020 will be postponed until further notice.  Those wishing to still attend services should check back frequently for the new dates. ‚ÄčMemorial donations in David’s honor may be made to the American Heart Association at: , or to the First Congregational Church of Wallingford. To leave a message of remembrance or for directions, please visit


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