Ralph Powhatan Tharp II, MD

Tharp 11-2015-2Ralph Powhatan Tharp II, MD, 79, of Houston, Texas passed away after a brief illness Wednesday, November 4, 2015. A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. on November 12th at Clear Lake United Methodist Church, 16335 El Camino Real, Houston, TX 77062.

Dr. Tharp was born August 2, 1936 in Louisville, Kentucky to Nellie and Ralph P. Tharp. After his father was transferred with the military to Colorado Springs, Colorado, the family settled in Alamosa, Colorado where Ralph graduated high school and subsequently earned a music scholarship to Adams State College. Ralph’s jazz band career was short-lived once he met Phyllis Marie Stacy of Monte Vista, Colorado. The two fell in love and eloped in 1956 to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Their early-married life took them around the country until Ralph decided to enroll at the University of Nebraska where he earned a B.S. in Pharmacy in 1962. With his interest in medicine piqued, Ralph was accepted into medical school at the University of Minnesota, and earned his medical degree in 1966. He completed his internship through Broadlawns Polk County Hospital in Des Moines, Iowa and then went into private practice in Apple Valley, Minnesota. Dr. Tharp has been continuously Board certified by the American Board of Family Practice since 1974. Dr. Tharp was also a Commissioned Officer (Captain) in the U.S. Army Reserve, receiving Honorable Discharge in 1971. In addition to his numerous preceptorships and guest lecturer positions at the University of Minnesota, University of Houston-Clear Lake and University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston, Dr. Tharp was the Director of the Family Practice Residency Program and Medical Co-Director of the Family Nurse Practitioner Program, both at the University of Alabama Medical School at Birmingham. Dr. Tharp and his family moved to Clear Lake City in 1977 where he began a thriving, private practice. In 1984, Dr. Tharp founded and served as Chairman and CEO of Bay Area Family Medical Center. In 1996, the group evolved into Texas Gulf Coast Medical Group where Dr. Tharp remained Board Chairman, President and Medical Director until his death. Dr. Tharp served with distinction on several healthcare related Boards and was an active member of numerous professional associations including the Texas Medical Association, The Texas Academy of Family Physicians, where he served as past President of the Galveston Chapter, and the American Academy of Family Physicians. He enjoyed golfing with his best friend, Huelett Norton, walking in the Minnesota woods, reading and cooking. Above all, his first and primary love was the practice of medicine. At the age of 79, he was still seeing patients and has treated as many as three generations of families in the Bay Area. He was a pillar of the Bay Area medical community and will be dearly missed by colleagues and patients alike. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Phyllis, his son Ralph P. Tharp III, daughters Gay Lynne Tharp, Joy Lee Tharp, Elizabeth Oldroyd Brown, son-in-law William Brown, and grandsons, Luke Oldroyd and John Oldroyd. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests an “In Memory” donation be made to one of Dr. Tharp’s favorite causes, The Wounded Warrior Project. Please visit them online at www.woundedwarriorproject.org or mail to The Wounded Warrior Project 2200 Space Park Drive, Suite 100 Houston, Texas 77058


  1. Dr. Tharp was my family MD for the past 12+ years. He was more than just a Dr. to me, he was an advisor and friend. The last time I saw him I said I’ll see you next year, referring to our standing joke that I’d find a way to catch the flu once a year.
    He treated my flu, repaired my broken bones, sent me to my cardiologist and nursed me thru heat stroke. I will miss him more than I can describe in words.
    My sincerest condolences to his family and loved ones. He was a good and decent man and a Damn Good Doctor!

    Robert J. Byars Sr.
  2. They broke the mold with Dr. Tharp. He was a GREAT soul, man, friend, caregiver, doctor and had the absolute best bedside manner. He will be greatly missed. He brought so much to this world, words cannot express how much he will be missed. Prayers for the Tharp family.

    Robert Maurer
  3. Dr. Tharp was my Families MD since 1988. He was a good man and a friend of mine. He was very personal and always asked how my family is doing. I’ve been a diver at NASA now for 27 years and Dr. Tharp was one of the only Doctors that all the Divers would go to. He was smart and knew diving physics and physiology. Dr. Tharp will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Dr. Tharp.

    Greg s. Sims Friday, 13 2015.

    Greg Sims

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