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The Harris County Journal
Hamilton, Georgia
December 3, 2009     The Harris County Journal
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December 3, 2009

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HARRIS COUNTY JOURNAL - THURSDAY, DEC. 3, 2009 PAGE 3-A Dr. Emmett Collins: A Doctor Who Loved His Patients By Patty Collins Proctor Dr. Emmett Collins of Manchester passed away Saturday, October 31, at the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation following a brief illness. Funeral services were held at Northside Baptist Church in Manchester on November 2, 2009. James Emmett Collins knew from the time he was a boy that he wanted to be a doctor. After graduating from Manchester High School in 1946 (where he played tackle on the first football team), he went to Middle Georgia College in Cochran and to Mercer University in Macon where he grad- uated "magna cum laude." He applied to the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta but was turned down because he Was only 19 years old, and older applicants and GI's were given priority. He spent the next year working in Manchester's cotton mill, entered medical school in the fall of 1949, and became a doc- tor in 1953 at the age of 24. He interned one year with the Navy at Jacksonville, FL and was then transferred to the medical staff of the Marines where he served in Japan, Korea, and California. The next year he did a surgical residency in Columbia, S.C. DR. COLIXNS returned to Manchester in August 1957, going into practice with J. W. Smith at the Smith-Collins Clinic. For thirty years he was a doctor, confidante, and surgeon, working six days a week, deliver- ing babies during the night, going to Meriwether Memorial Hospital on emer- gencies, and making house calls. Then, on February 26, 1990, Dr. Collins suffered a stroke which left him paralyzed on his right side. On the day he was strick- en, the entire town was in shock and mourn- ing. Because his condition was so serious, the specialists advised his wife to call in the family. But his family, his friends, his patients refused to let him go. As in the movie, It's a Wonderful Life, it seemed that God was so beseeched with prayers on behalf of Emmett Collins that he allowed a miracle. Neither Emmett's speech nor his memo- ry were affected. After only one year he was ready to return to work; however, the other doctor moved to another location, the clinic was destroyed by fire, and Dr. Collins had no place to go until the local hospital offered him the use of two rooms in the basement. After a few months, he moved into a permanent location on West Main Street. WHEN DR. COLIXNS wentback to work following his stroke, he worried that people would not have confidence in him. His patients were ecstatic S6me had not DR. EMMETT COLLINS laughed all day. What an unusual cure! In recent years Dr. Collins had a hip replacement on his unparalyzed side and learned to walk again and despite back sur- gery and heart surgery and other health problems during the past two years he con- tinued to work. Only a month before his death from cancer he was working half days at his clinic and sometimes seeing as many as 25 patients in the morning. He was 80 years old! Family was always important to Dr. Collins. Four months after his stroke, his father, Jim Collins, died. His mother, Everlyn Ledford Collins, who died in 1994, was an invalid for two years. So, Dr. Collins, after working five days a week, eight hours a day, would sit with his mother for 15 hours a week in a joint effort with his siblings to keep her at home. Dr. Collins, before his stroke, had always been active, working in his yard dur- ing lunch and at his farm near Harris City on off-days. "I've always enjoyed growing things," he said. His love of the land was inherited by his son Emmett Jr. who not only farms but owns a feed and seed and hunting supply store with his son Justin in Woodbury. In Memory of Jeff Heard ALSO IMPORTANT to Dr. Collins was education as evidenced by the fact that four of his five children have doctorate degrees. Blake, Paige, and Stacey are dentists and Kyle has a Ph.D. in engineering. Collins all these years was HendersOn Collins they been to adoctor during the entire year of-:: : ~ ; tgc~r~. 1959, and she put her nurs- - ing career aside to become a full-time wife and mother. Their children are Emmett Collins, Jr. and wife Pat (Angley) of Harris City Dr. Blake Collins of Augusta Dr. Paige Collins Ivey and husband Jim of Valley, AL Dr. Stacey Wolanek and husband Dr. Gary Wolanek of Auburn, AL and Dr. Kyle Collins and wife Jennifer (Rice) of Atlanta, GA. They have twelve grandchildren: Justin Collins and wife Christie, Ashton Collins, Tyler Collins, Reagan Ivey, Collins Ivey, Caitlin Wolanek, Caleb Wolanek, Madison Wolanek, Bailey Wolanek, Joshua Wolanek, Olivia Wolanek, and Riley Collins and great grandson Jet Collins. Other survivors include his sister Othell Heaney and hus- band Bill of Wilmington, Delaware, a broth- er Norman Collins and wife Mary Ann of Roswell, and a devoted sister Patty Proctor and husband Joe of Manchester and several devoted nieces and nephews. With a climb to success which began with part-time jobs in the Krazy Kat Food Market as a kid, Emmett Collins's philoso- phy has always been that we can't help how we're born, whether rich or poor, but we get out of life what we put into it." The effort he put into 52 years of med- iced practice is evidenced by the devotion of his patients to him - their family doctor. IT'S THOSE PATIENTS who best described Dr. Emmett Collins on the Caring Bridge website and elsewhere: his convalescence. Within days he was see- ing 50 or more patients a day and even more during flu season. Walking with a cane, a brace on his right leg, and limited motion in his right hand, Dr. Collins had movements slowed by the stroke, but a mind as brilliant as ever. The only change, it seemed, was that he felt even more com- passion for his patients. His surgical practice, which he loved, ended with the stroke. At the clinic, though, he could do almost ar/ything with his left hand, and for those things that required two hands he had a capable staff. With a nurse supplying that second hand, Dr. Collins could even stitch up wounds. The experiences for this small-town doctor were rich and diverse: the day he worked against time to save a child's life by removing a small plastic ball from his throat the 90-year-old woman he traveled 20 miles down country roads to see in the mid- dle of the night even though she was not his patient the day he stopped to give his spare can of gasoline to a stranded motorist only to give out of gas himself before reaching home the woman he sent to a second spe- cialist because he was so sure she had can- cer and in so doing saved her life. He has saved fives, wept with patients and their families, made lonely widows laugh. He loved to tell jokes.., and sometimes pull jokes. ON ONE OCCASION he wrote a pre- scription that a widow, without reading it, gave to her son to take to the pharmacist. The pharmacist laughed. The son read the prescription and laughed. And when that "poorly" lady read that Dr. Collins had pre- scribed for her "an old bachelor," she " .. "Dr. Collins was a wonderful, caring, 1oving person. He loved everybody and treated everyone fairly. He lived his faith and religion everyday.'" .."There were several times when I was a child that Dr. Collins came to myhouse in B Miller, M an . Board Certified in Family Medicine & Emergency Medicine Providing Healtbcare for Harris Coun since 2002 153 S. College St. 27) (Near the Harris Co. Chamber of Commerce) Hamilton, Georgia On-site Lab, X-Ray, & EKG the middle of the night because I was hav- ing asthma a tracks. One morning about 4 a.m. he told Daddy to throw a way all of my stuffed animals because that might be the preblem. They did, and it helped. He made so many house calls. I don't have a sheet of paper large enough to list all of the elderly patients whom he kept alive, many of them through house calls. Why, he was still mak- ing house calls this past year. My Granny used to say that Dr. Collins didn't get it the easy way he worked hard to go to college and he worked hard for everything he had. That's the only way he knew." . "His life is a testimonyto the kind of love, sacrifice, and service tha't God expects from each of us everyday that we are on this earth. " . "I would stop by the office formyaches and pains, and he would always cheer me up with stories. No matter how he felt he always had a kind word of encouragement. He really cared about his patients.'" . "'Even when he was tired he never stopped to think of himself he was always thinking a bout his pa tien ts." . "I talk aboutDr. Collins all the time. I went to the emergencyroom, and they didn't know what to do for me. I don't know what I'm going to do since he's gone. It's going to be hard to find another good doctor like him." . "'I had a heart attack at home alone. I finally was able to call Dr. Collins, and he came to my house and took me to the hospi- tal himself.'" . "I was in the medical field 50 years, mostly as a nurse anesthetist. I worked in 15 or so different hospitals, aboard Hospital Ship Hope overseas, and with mhny MD's and surgeons. I gave anesthesia a t Wafrn Springs for many years with Dr. Collins as the surgeon. I have more respect for him as a doctor than any other doctor I ha ve ever met. Being an MD in a rural setting takes a special type of person and a special talent in using medical training What a doctor and man he was!" . "Dr. Collins was such an inspiration to how we should live our lives helping others. We should all reach out a hand when some- one is in need - just like Dr. Collins." . "Dr. Collins was trulythe kind ofdoctor everyone should ha ve. "' Jeff Heard died peace- fullyat home onNov. 18, sur- rounded by family and friends. He was a true ser- vant who loved the Lord and wanted everyone else to know him. Jeff loved his family and friends who brought him comfort and joy. Especially these past few years during his long illness. Although Jeff had no biological children he con- sidered many of his students as his own. His passion for teaching can be seen today in those he taught and inspired to become teach- ers. Jeff dearly loved his wife, Marlo, and always put her first. He also loved his faith- Jeff Heard ful dog, Wiley. He was proud to serve Harris County as a reserve deputy. He had tremendous respect and appreciation for the job Sheriff Jolley's department provides and was honored to serve with them. All who knew Jeff knew of his love of politics and Georgia football. When Georgia beat Auburn on Nov. 15, Jeff was in full glory cheering his Dawgs to Victory. He will be greatly missed. To the many friends the family says thank you. In Lieu of flowers contributions may be given in Jeffs honor to the Hamilton United Methodist Church or the Columbus Hospice. A an giving Remembrance Going Home Again By SYLVIA WRIGHT It was sort of a reunion at Mama's house that day, Our family got. together to greet my sisters who live a way. Dot came home from Wyoming, Mary came from Pittsburgh, too- We were hugging, talking and laughing.., with lots of happy tears, too. Mama was radiant, bless her heart, Eight of her children were there - And we had so many good times to look back on, Such bittersweet memories to share. As we talked about the old Home Place And how things were way back then, We decided we wanted to go back there And walk around again. The man who now lives there was very nice. And offered to show us around - But he didn't know that myfeet knew so well Every inch of that beloved ground! The old house was so sweetly familiar My heart started beating real fast - As we Walked around and reminisced And relived a part of our past. "There's the old Storm pit, the big oak that I climbed (Though lightning ha d split it in halt) The old barn is still standing, and over there is the place Where I'd go to graze my pet calf. Up the hill is our favorite "hicker nut" tree Where Martha took us to play for hours, And I see that weeds now cover the path That we walked each Spring to pick flowers." ... We walked in the branch barefooted, and As I watched a piece of bark float down- stream, I paused to thank God for My childhood, And looking back, said goodbye to a dream. Some things may change, but l know my love For that Home Place will never die... ...The others were walking on ahead, So they didn't see me cry. NETWORK, i; ~Requires qualifying commitment and a valid major credit card. Satisfactory credit ~t0m required. Call for full details and disclaimer.