Psychiatric healthcare pioneer Nat Taylor Winston Jr. (Dr. Nat) died peacefully Tuesday, December 31, 2013.
A native of Johnson City, TN, he is the son of Nat Taylor Winston and Frances Naomi Colblantz.
He attended Science Hill High School, serving as class president and graduating valedictorian before deploying to the Pacific Theater of WW2, where he commanded as an infantry officer. After serving the United States, he attended Vanderbilt University, graduating Magna Cum Laude from Vanderbilt Medical School in 1953. He quickly gained success in the psychiatric field as the first Director of the Johnson City Mental Health Clinic and was later appointed the first Superintendent of Moccasin Bend Psychiatric Hospital, where his work gained national recognition placing Tennessee on the forefront of mental health care.
Credited by Readers Digest to “spawning the birth of a quiet psychiatric revolution,” he was appointed Commissioner of Mental Health for Tennessee by Gov. Frank Clement and again under Gov. Buford Ellington. After a Republican bid for the 1974 gubernatorial seat, Dr. Nat entered the private sector, founding American Psychiatric Hospitals, which later merged with Hospital Affiliates before being acquired by HCA. Dr. Nat continued in private health care by building and opening hospitals for sexually abused adolescents and serving as Medical Director for several companies and hospitals. In 2005, he was awarded the “Beyond the Call” award for exceptional professional dedication to the Psychiatric Field and in 2006, he was presented the Dorothea Dix award for his outstanding contribution to Psychiatry.
Dr. Nat also gained national recognition as an entertainer and a banjo player, earning a gold record for selling over one million copies of his successful “How to Play” instructional record series. He was a sought after speaker across the country and was an avid traveler to the corners of the world. Dr. Nat had a true love of the Appalachian culture and is considered an expert and ambassador to the history, music and people of Appalachia.
He is survived by his wife, Martha Casey Winston; sister, Amy Winston Holt (Fred), of Florence AL; daughter, Sarah Winston Cooper (Gary), of Rye, England; sons, Nat T. Winston III, John H. Winston V (Kristen); and step son, Robert M. Schneider (Lee Ann).
The family requests any memorial gifts be made to the Dept. of Appalachian Music Studies East Tennessee State University: PO Box 70721, Johnson City, TN 37614.
A graveside service will be held on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2014, at 1 p.m. at Happy Valley Memorial Park, Elizabethton, with the Rev. Bedford Transou officiating.
Marshall-Donnelly-Combs Funeral Home, 201 25th Ave. N., Nashville, TN 37203; (615) 327-1111