Nesmith family's medical legacy spans five generations
From left: Brad Nesmith, MD; Richard Nesmith, MD, DMD; and Arthur Marsh Nesmith, MD.
"I always knew I wanted to go into medicine ... I've learned so much from my dad and grandfather." — Brad Nesmith
The Nesmith family's legacy of healing spans more than 150 years, including three generations of education through the University of Florida College of Medicine. It began during the Civil War when Samuel Nesmith served in the medical corps of the Confederate Army. The tradition continued through Marsh Nesmith, a U.S. Army medic stationed in Germany during World War I; Arthur Marsh Nesmith, MD, a retired Gainesville cardiac surgeon; and Richard Nesmith, MD, DMD, a local plastic and reconstructive surgeon.
The most recent addition to the family business is Brad Nesmith, MD, who recently joined his father’s practice — Nesmith Plastic Surgery Center in Gainesville. “I also have three sisters who are in the healthcare field — two are nurses and one is a radiology technician,” Richard Nesmith said.
The trio of Nesmith surgeons has combined the art of caring with the science of medicine, treating hundreds of patients during the combined spans of their careers.
“It’s rewarding to see how much our family has grown,” Brad Nesmith said. “I’m the third generation practicing in Gainesville. I often run into doctors and nurses who operated with my grandfather. Others know my dad.”
The Nesmiths’ local roots took hold when Arthur Nesmith attended the University of Florida on a football scholarship. He attended medical school at Duke University before completing a general surgery residency and cardiac surgery fellowship at UF. After a stint as a surgeon in the U.S. Army, Arthur Nesmith returned to Gainesville, practicing as a cardiac surgeon until his retirement in 1998.
“I loved medical school and practicing medicine,” he said. “I would do it all over again.”
While his father never pressured him to continue the family’s medical tradition, Richard Nesmith maintained an interest in the healthcare field.
“My dad was in medicine, so that is what I saw growing up,” he said. “I wanted to treat patients like I saw my dad treating patients, with compassion and respect.”
Richard Nesmith attended the University of Florida for his undergraduate studies. That was followed by dental school and oral and maxillofacial surgery training before completing medical school — all at UF. After five years of specialty training at North Carolina Baptist Hospital and the Bowman Gray School of Medicine at Wake Forest University, he returned to Gainesville.
“I always knew I wanted to go into medicine, I just wasn’t sure what specialty. My dad and grandfather let me make up my own mind. It was nice not to be pressured or led into one aspect of medicine,” said Brad Nesmith, who earned his medical degree from UF. After completing his general surgery residency at the University of Arkansas, he returned to UF for a fellowship in plastic and reconstructive surgery.
“I’ve learned so much from my dad and grandfather,” he said. Added Arthur Nesmith, “I’m proud of my son and grandson. I’m very proud of the work they’re doing.”
This article has been reprinted with permission from the 60 Years of UF Department of Surgery, A Legacy of Lifesaving by the University of Florida Health.