Dr. Charlton deSaussure, who practiced medicine for four decades in Charleston and remained active in the community after his retirement, died Thursday at Roper Hospital. He was 87.

DeSaussure was born Dec. 9, 1920, a son of Edward Harleston deSaussure and Eleanor Charlton deSaussure of Charleston. He practiced medicine here from 1950 to 1990.

During those years, he combined a private practice in internal medicine with a teaching career at the Medical University of South Carolina as a lecturer in hematology, from 1950 to 1965. After his retirement, the Medical University named deSaussure Professor Emeritus of Medicine.

Friends remembered him as dedicated, and as a tough but fair educator. "He was a picture of Charleston," said longtime friend Conyers O'Bryan, who said deSaussure's manner as a doctor was a model for others.

He was a past president of the Medical Society of South Carolina, a 1942 graduate of Prince-ton University and a 1946 graduate of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Afterward, he trained at Washington University (Barnes Hospital) in St. Louis.

In 2008, MUSC established a medal in his honor, the Omnes Recte Iuvare Society Award, to be given to the graduate who best exemplifies the "compassion, caring, humanity and excellence which for centuries has defined the art of medicine."

He belonged to the honorary medical societies of Alpha Omega and Sigma XI.

DeSaussure was a member of the Society of the Cincinnati, the St. Cecilia Society and the Carolina Yacht Club.

He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Mary Randolph Huger deSaussure; a son, Charlton deSaussure, Jr.; daughters, Mary deSaussure Cutler and Catherine deSaussure Mark; and nine grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements are by Stuhr's Downtown Chapel.