By Angela Reinhardt
“Joe was someone who projected the most extraordinary warmth, and he was able to do that within the context and timeframe of a short medical interview, and that’s something to be envied,” said Dr. John Spitznagel, one of the physicians who helped found Pickens’ free clinic with Dr. Wilber nearly a decade ago.
“We are all grieving,” Dr. Spitznagel added, “I can certainly tell you that.”
Just one week after Good Samaritan Health & Wellness Center hosted a tribute for their founding physicians, the beloved Dr. Joe Wilber lost his battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease, passing away Sunday, April 3.
People who knew Dr. Wilber speak of his unwavering compassion and kindness and his unique ability to connect with patients, family, friends and strangers.
They speak of his dedication to public health and his desire to help those not receiving proper medical care, and they marvel at his calm demeanor and warm presence.
“It was easy living with him because he brought those same qualities home,” said Pat, Dr. Wilber’s wife of nearly 60 years. “He never lost his cool, and he was a wonderful example for our children. One of our sons said last night, ‘You know, he never told us what to do. He taught us by example.’ I never realized that,” she said laughing. “I guess I was the one who told them what to do.”
Ellen Holty has gone through the unthinkable. She buried her three-year-old son.
Holty told her story last week at the county senior center as part of the ongoing series taking an in-depth look at end-of-life decisions organized through Affinis Hospice.
A decade ago, Holty, now a Big Canoe resident, had three children––the youngest just 18 months––when her middle child, a son named Pablo, began falling often. So often, she said, that he had what seemed like a permanent welt on his forehead. Following a series of doctors’ visits, her son was diagnosed with a 5-centimeter tumor on his brain stem.
“It was a death sentence. It was terminal. Inoperable,” Holty told the group of 20 attending the series last Wednesday at the senior center on Stegall Drive.
Doctors told her Pablo had six months to live if they opted for radiation treatments, three months without them. With treatment, however, the family would be forced to relocate to a different city, and Pablo would spend many of his remaining days in a hospital.
Workers arrived Tuesday morning with heavy equipment, prepared to move Bill Sunderland's "Learning is Fun" sculpture from the Pickens Courthouse lawn. The heavy marble statue is headed to the county library to make room for courthouse renovations planned later this year. Lifting the large sculpture proved more challenging than expected that morning. County workers returned later in the day with larger equipment to see the sculpture safely off to the library.
By Jeff Warren, staff writer
A long-awaited happening, relocation of the Tate railroad depot for renovation and preservation on county land at Tate south of State Highway 53 may soon be back on track after long delays. County leaders, Georgia Department of Transportation officials and Howard Bach of transportation consultants Moreland Altobelli met Friday afternoon, March 18, at the County Admin Building to begin ironing out details preliminary to the depot move.
Bach serves as go-between, connecting grant recipient Pickens County to Georgia DOT, which has awarded two transportation enhancement grants totaling $800,000 for the depot project. The money is federal, administered through the state transportation department and comes with many requirements that must be met before the money can be received.
Ga. Forestry crews burn areas along Highway 53 in Marble Hill to prevent the spread of a wildland fire that has consumed 780 acres since Tuesday. Seth Pierce with the Ga. Forestry Commission said Friday afternoon that the forest fire was 80 percent contained and under control. He said by nightfall Friday they would have it completely controlled, but the area may still continue to smoke. Pierce said they had established lines around the perimeter and burned some areas ahead of the fire. They will continue monitoring it.
Only one house has been threatened with no other homes in the area.
The fire began Tuesday and was thought to be mostly out Wednesday afternoon, but strong winds in the storm that night brought it back to life. No structures have been damaged.