Longtime doctor decides to retire after 65 years
By Josh Ellerbrock
Published in News on April 2, 2014 1:46 PM
News-Argus file photo
Dr. Robert Shackelford, left, will be honored during an open house Sunday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Mount Olive Family Medicine Center that he and Dr. Hervy Kornegay Sr., right, founded.
MOUNT OLIVE -- It would be impossible to determine how many people Dr. Robert Shackelford has treated in his 65 years as a doctor. But this coming Sunday, patients and the community in general will have the opportunity to say thank you to Shackelford who has decided to retire.
In celebration of his 65-year career, Family Medicine Center will hold an open house on Sunday from 2 to 5 p.m. during which past patients can stop by to greet the doctor.
"He's actually retiring this time," said Carol Dilda, executive director of the Mount Olive Family Medicine Center. "It is a way to give the community a chance to say thank you and their goodbyes to him.
"We feel like people wanted to say thank you to him but didn't get the opportunity. We want people to come to greet him and say goodbye."
A Kinston area native, Shackelford started his own practice in Mount Olive at age 23 in 1949 when he decided to move from St. Louis to be closer to his hometown.
Shackelford was drafted into the Army shortly afterward. During the Korean War, he worked to stabilize patients before they were brought into MASH units.
He returned to his Mount Olive practice in 1953.
By 1970, he joined with Dr. Hervy Kornegay to start Shackelford and Kornegay, which has since become the Family Medicine Center. He has practiced there since.
In the last few years, Shackelford has reduced his hours, but he still saw 20 to 25 patients a day before his retirement.
He decided to give retirement a try in January and more recently made the decision to fully retire at the age of 88.
Throughout those many years, Shackelford has done much for the community, Mrs. Dilda said.
"I wish I knew how many patients he's seen or how many babies he's delivered over the years," Mrs. Dilda said. "He has a big heart. It didn't ever matter if you had money. That never was a question of his before he started seeing a patient. If someone came through the door, he didn't ask. It was no issue for him."
Shackelford and his wife, Evelyn, have three daughters and five grandchildren.