Those who knew him said everything he did was for the good of his patients.
Diorcoro T. Villanueva, who worked with Dr. Mecray for a brief time before the surgeon's retirement, said Dr. Mecray's legacy was "focused on patient care and quality" and the "culture and skill sets that he started" at his Camden practice.
"As a man, he was a leader, and as a physician, he was an advocate for patients," said Villanueva, a physician at Virtua Surgical Group, based in Cherry Hill.
Dr. Mecray became chief of surgery at Cooper in 1963. Shortly after, Dr. Mecray founded the Surgical Group of South Jersey, now Virtua Surgical Group.
After retiring in the 1970s, Dr. Mecray dedicated himself to the outdoors, hunting and fishing on his 19-foot Fiberglas boat. But after two near-death accidents in the early 1980s, including one in which his boat overturned and a friend died, Dr. Mecray and his wife retired to Medford Leas.
Dr. Mecray was born and raised in Camden. He graduated from William Penn Charter School in 1926 and decided to follow in his father's footsteps and become a surgeon.
He graduated from Princeton University in 1930 and from the University of Pennsylvania's Medical School in 1933.
In 1935, he married Justine Eiseman, whom he had met through mutual friends.
After interning at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital and Cooper University Hospital, Dr. Mecray and his wife moved to Rochester, Minn., in 1937, where he worked at the Mayo Clinic for a couple of years. He then returned to South Jersey to work with his father at Cooper.
While there, Dr. Mecray joined the Penn Reserve Surgical Unit. In 1942, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the unit was called to active duty.
Dr. Mecray was deployed to the Assam region of India as part of the 20th General Hospital, a World War II base hospital organized by the University of Pennsylvania. During his three years there as an Army captain, he cared for wounded soldiers and Japanese prisoners.
Once the war was over, Dr. Mecray returned to his family and bought a home in Haddonfield, where he lived until the 1980s.
Justine Mecray died in 2007.
Dr. Mecray is survived by a son, Paul; a daughter, Justine M. Opel; five grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
A memorial service is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 16, at Medford Leas.
Contact staff writer Claudia Vargas at 856-779-3917 or firstname.lastname@example.org.