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Thomas Rucker Gaines | 2005 Hall of Fame

Thomas Rucker Gaines  1895-1988Dr. Gaines served Anderson County in a most exceptional manner for six decades. He was vitally involved in nearly all aspects of community life in Anderson (Medical, banking, civic, charitable and church). Dr. Gaines had a great love of medicine, and an uncommon love for his patients. Throughout his life he was well known for giving free medical care to those in need. He possessed an avid interest in learning and continued taking medical training and course well into his seventies.

Dr. Gaines was quite interested in banking and served with distinction on the Board of Directors of The First National Bank of South Carolina (now Wachovia) for several decades. He also had a keen interest in the educational and spiritual development of young people, and this interest engendered his involvement with Anderson College. In 1973, Dr. Gaines established The Lucile Talmadge Gaines Scholarship, in honor of his wife, with a $100,000.00 donation. This scholarship was instituted to help with college expenses of needy Anderson County residents.

Dr. Gaines served First Baptist Church of Anderson where he taught Sunday school for many years and served as a Life Deacon. The Salvation Army was another organization Dr. Gaines benefited through the years. In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, as an active Board Member and Chairman, he helped spearhead tremendous growth in The Army’s program for children. Gaines Hall at the Salvation Army’s Anderson office is named in his honor.

In 1928, Dr. Gaines established his medical practice in Anderson. His specialty was Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology. This practice is now known as Medicus, one of the premier medical centers in this region. Dr. Gaines pioneered in performing tracheotomies, removing safety pins, seeds, money and other foreign bodies, and thereby saving many lives. Countless numbers of his patients were lovingly indebted to him, and grateful, for his peerless surgical care. He was the first physician in South Carolina to have his National Boards in both Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology. He was a former Chief of Staff at the Anderson Area Medical Center and a former President of the South Carolina Medical Association. Dr. Gaines was renowned in the medical community throughout the southeast. He was truly a dear and beloved Anderson physician.