Dr. Edwin Masters

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Dr. Edwin Jordan Masters, 63, a renowned and beloved family physician, died Sunday, June 21, 2009, the day of his 39th wedding anniversary and Father's Day.

Dr. Masters' life is celebrated for the incredible list of achievements accomplished during his lifetime. He loved being a doctor. Solving complicated medical cases was the challenge he relished most.

He spent the better part of his medical career researching, documenting and treating tick-borne diseases and was internationally known for his work with Lyme disease. His success led to the Centers for Disease Control naming a tick disease after him, called "Masters disease."

Dr. Masters was constantly thinking about how to improve medical care, which led to the granting of seven U.S. medical patents. His insatiable intellectual curiosity resulted in 53 major peer-reviewed articles accepted for publication in major medical publications. His last two articles will appear in the July issue of "Missouri Medical." Dr. Masters mentored many aspiring physicians and one of his joys was judging the International Science Fair for high school students.

Dr. Masters was extremely active in many professional organizations. He was president of Cape Girardeau County Area Medical Society, speaker of the House of Delegates of the Missouri State Medical Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Medical Association and chairman of EICS: Emerging Infections in the Central States Research Group.

He was the featured speaker at many international and national medical conferences and received numerous awards for his research in Lyme and vectorborne diseases.

Dr. Masters started practicing medicine in 1972 in partnership with his father, Dr. E.C. Masters, in Advance, Mo. He then moved to Sikeston, Mo., where he joined Ferguson Medical Group for 13 years, and then had an opportunity to join Regional Primary Care and later Premier Family Physicians in Cape Girardeau.

Dr. Masters graduated valedictorian from Advance High School in 1963, received an A.B. degree from Dartmouth College, an M.D. degree from the University of Tennessee Medical School, and completed his internship at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. He was a diplomate, National Board of Medical Examiners, a fellow in the American Academy of Family Physicians, on the Board of Certified Family Practice and a diplomate in geriatrics.

Dr. Masters was also known as the "Tree Doc." He started planting walnut trees in his youth and continued throughout his lifetime. He worked aggressively on cultivating new species of walnuts and was president of the National Black Walnut Tree Association and Missouri Tree Farmer of the Year.

His love of and knowledge of nature was inspiring to all. He developed and patented a mosquito and tick trap approved by the FDA that is totally "green" and the only one in the U.S. not dependent on the use of propane.

The "Skeeter Plus" is locally manufactured and distributed by DeWitt Industries.

Politics was one of Dr. Masters' interests. He was a lifelong Republican and early in his career was very instrumental in getting a Republican on the ballot in Scott County.

Dr. Masters was most proud of his family. He delighted in their achievements and successes and was lovingly called "Papa Doc" by his grandchildren. He believed that his illness had a very positive gift and that was having more time with his family. His consistent optimistic spirit and love of sharing his passion for memory games was legendary. He often said the greatest asset he had in life was growing up in a small town and being raised, inspired and taught by two incredible parents.

His survivors include his wife, Jackie Ebaugh Masters, of Sikeston; three sons and daughters-in-law, Ryan and Julie Masters of Quincy, Ill., Drs. Reid and Jenna Masters of San Diego, Jordan and Abby Masters of Cape Girardeau; a daughter and son-in-law, Erin and Alan Cryer of Dallas; four grandchildren, Ayanna Askew, Lydia Masters, Anna Cryer and Ezra Cryer; and a sister and brother-in-law, Charlotte "Rusty" and David Newton of the "Happy Farm" in Advance, Mo.

Dr. Masters will be remembered not only for his list of achievements but also for his brilliant intellect, wisdom, integrity, optimistic spirit, perseverance in the face of great obstacles, humanity, love of his family, and his unique, contagious laugh.