by Bethel University
Bethel University Physician Assistant Professor Eugene Platt passed away on Nov. 30 due to complications from cancer. He was 66 years old.
Platt had been an instructor at Bethel since 2018 and was chosen by students in 2020 as Physician Assistant Educator of the Year.
Dr. Joe Hames, Vice President and Dean of the College of Health Sciences, said that Platt shared his cancer journey with his students and used the illness as a teaching opportunity.
"Once, he went to the hospital with shortness of breath and had to have fluid drained from his lungs. While he was undergoing the placement of a needle in his chest to drain the fluid, he was on his computer grading papers for the students. He then composed an email to the class explaining the disease process, the technique for draining the fluid, and the test results," Hames said.
Hames described Platt as a person who loved Jesus, his students and Bethel University.
Platt was born on Nov. 24, 1954, in Florida and grew up in Coral Gables. In his youth, he enjoyed singing in the choir, playing soccer, playing the bass drum in a pipe band and fishing with his family. He attended St. Thomas Episcopal High School in Houston, Texas; Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina; and the University of Houston.
Retiring after a career in computer science, he reignited his love for learning at Bethel University and graduated with a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies in 2007. He worked as a physician assistant-certified in Nashville, Memphis and Chattanooga and was a member of the Tennessee Association of Physician Assistants serving as a Tennessee delegate to the American Academy of Physician Assistants.
He was a professor in the Physician Assistant Program at Bethel University at the time of his diagnosis.
An avid Parrothead, Platt owned 31 Jimmy Buffett t-shirts. He loved competitive bridge, Carnival Cruises, theme parks and key lime pie. He also loved to sing, particularly in church choirs. He attended Mill Creek Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Puryear, Tenn. Platt's charitable contributions included Siloam Health, Salama Urban Ministries and medical missions trips to indigenous communities in Belize.
Prioritizing optimism and family unity, Platt was proud of his commitment to sobriety and was active in the recovery community. He was a supportive father who valued spending time with each of his sons and loved being a grandfather. He could often be found cheering his grandchildren on at sporting events, theater productions and concerts.
The family will have a private memorial service accessible via livestream on Saturday, Dec.5.
The Bethel University Physician Assistant Program will honor Platt by naming a classroom at the Paris campus in his memory.
Memorial gifts can be made online or mailed to the university:
Attn: Heather Megaw
325 Cherry Avenue
McKenzie, TN 38201