Dr. Neal “Buddy” Canup made doctors.
For decades Canup ran Regional Medical Center’s residency program in Anniston and trained young doctors in the art of healing.
“He was a great man, great doctor, great friend and great father to us all,” said Dr. Carla Thomas of Anniston.
Canup died Aug. 6 in Daphne. He was 84.
Canup moved to Anniston in 1966 and operated a private practice until he retired from that in 2000. His teaching career had begun in earnest in 1976 as director of the RMC residency program — a job that lasted until 1991. Canup also served as the state’s director for medical education at the Alabama Medical Education Consortium from 2010 to 2013. Canup was also a clinical professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Thomas said Canup made a great impact on her when she was in the RMC residency program.
“He listened,” Thomas said. “Before saying anything, he always gave you a chance to give your perspective.”
Thomas added that Canup also taught doctors how to be good people.
“He always taught us to do more than just medicine, but to also get out into the community,” she said. “He was a great man, definitely a point of light.”
Canup practiced what he preached.
In 1988, Canup helped found the St. Michael’s Clinic, which provides health care for the uninsured in west Anniston. The clinic is overseen by the Church of St. Michael and All Angels in Anniston.
“He initially did that to help bring medical students here to train,” said Nanette Mudiam, executive director of the clinic.
Mudiam said the free clinic, which is supported by donations, provides primary care services to about 1,400 Annistonians annually. Canup stayed interested in the clinic long after retired and moved away, Mudiam said.
“He had a big heart for the clinic and the church,” Mudiam said. “When he would come home to visit, he would always stop by the clinic … he was very pleased that it continued on the work he started to provide health care for low-income residents.”
Dr. Dave Ringer of Greensboro said he had his residency under Canup and owes everything he’s done since to those teachings. Ringer is chief operating officer for TenderCare Clinic in Greensboro. He’s also chief of staff at St. Mary’s Good Samaritan Hospital, medical director for some nursing homes in the Greensboro area and an assistant professor of community medicine at the Mercer School of Medicine.
“He created who I am … I can’t even tell you how much of an impact he had on me,” Ringer said.
Ringer said Canup just had a knack for training other doctors.
“He was like your dad talking to you and showing you how to do it,” Ringer said.
Dr. Nelson Cook in Anniston said he started out as a resident under Canup and then later the two went into practice together.
“He was very influential and one of the best people I’ve ever known,” Cook said. “I considered him a mentor and his impact on the community was tremendous.”
Cook said Canup knew how to work well with him and the other doctors in the practice.
“As a partner, he was significantly older than the rest of us, but he led by example and really never had any huge issues in the group,” Cook said. “He could take conflict and really find a way to really solve it.”
Services for Canup are set to begin at 2 p.m. Aug. 26 at the Church of St. Michael and All Angels. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the St. Michael’s Clinic.