MUSCLE SHOALS — Thomas Andrew Minetree, MD, passed away on January 8, 2020 in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. He was 88 years old. Visitation will be held Saturday, January 18, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. at Highland Baptist Church, Florence. The funeral service will immediately follow with John Brock officiating.
Minetree was born on July 7, 1931, in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, the son of Ruth Vernon Minetree (née Ester) and Richard Herbert Minetree, Sr. He was a star football player at Poplar Bluff High School, where he lettered in three sports: football, basketball, and track. Minetree was a fast sprinter and ran the hundred yard dash in 10 seconds. He attended the University of Missouri in Columbia on a football scholarship, where he was a member of Sigma Chi fraternity and played halfback for the Mizzou Tigers. After University, Minetree married the love of his life, Virginia Mae McClanahan, on May 22, 1955. He began medical school that following fall at the University of Arkansas and was board certified in diagnostic radiology, radiation oncology, and nuclear medicine.
For much of his life Minetree was an avid pilot. He purchased his first airplane, a 1946 Aeronica 11 Chief, at the age of 21 for $600 with the initial plan of earning money as an aerial photographer. He owned and flew a number of aircraft over the years and flew multiple times per week for most of his adult life.
During his career as an oncologist, Minetree established and operated several radiation therapy centers across the South and Midwest. He was the founder of Bethesda Cancer Centers and one of the first pioneers of free-standing cancer centers in the United States. He was the first individual in the nation to purchase a medical linear accelerator, which is still used today in cancer treatment. Over his career as an oncologist he owned and operated 12 cancer centers which were located in Carterville, IL, Carbondale, IL, Florence, AL, Muscle Shoals, AL, Sheffield, AL, Tullahoma, TN, Cookville, TN, West Memphis, AR, Greenville, MS, Clarksdale, MS, Joplin, MO, and Sikeston, MO.
After Minetree retired from medical practice in his mid 60s, he and his wife, Virginia, moved to their ranch outside of Aspen, Colorado. He loved the beauty of the snow-capped Elk Mountain range, the abundant wildlife, and skiing in the Colorado Rockies. In his mid-60s, Minetree developed a passion for downhill skiing. He devoted the long winter months to chasing fresh powder around the High Rockies, perfecting his form, and outskiing his younger friends and family into his 80s.
Minetree was a dedicated follower of Christ and supported a number of Christian ministries that were dear to him and his wife’s heart, including the Bethlehem Project, Jerusalem Project, In Touch Ministries, and HeartCry Missionary Society.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 64 years, Virginia Mae McClanahan; the couple had seven (7) children: Thomas Andrew Minetree, II (Pam), Ruth Lea Minetree, Christian David Minetree, Andrew Minetree (Lynn), Virginia Marie Minetree, Malisa Minetree Hicks (Jeff) and Nicole Minetree Dill (Drew). Their eighteen (18) grandchildren include Thomas Minetree, III, Sean Minetree, Matthew Minetree, Mareth McGee Poag (Parker), Olivia Fanizza Chase (Peter), Meredith Minetree Haygood (Chad), Tessa Minetree Goggans (Daniel), Caleb Minetree (Ali), Hannah Robbins Magee (Dominque), Elle Robbins, Harrison Hicks (Mirella), Isabel Hicks, Hayden Hicks, Samuel Hicks, John Dill, George Dill and Violet Dill. Their thirteen (13) great-grandchildren include Ava, Parker and Charlie Poag, Thaddeus and Simeon Chase, John Andrew, Luke, Jude and Meg Haygood, Judah Goggans and Ashtyn, Ari and Israel Magee. He was preceded in death by his brothers Harry Minetree, of Los Angeles, California and Richard Herbert Minetree, Jr, of Poplar Bluff, Missouri as well as his daughter, Ruth Lea, of Aspen, Colorado and infant son, Christian David.
Online condolences may be left at morrisonfuneralhomes.com.