Dr. Charles Calhoun’s patients and medical staff will miss the little corner office at 502 W. Second St., but most of all, they will miss Calhoun after he retires in a few days.
One of his patients, Tim Freshour, said he had been thinking about his visit to see Calhoun in February, and it marked a sad but truly healing day for him.
“On Feb. 10, I made what may be my last visit to Dr. Calhoun’s office,” Freshour said. “The Black/Calhoun medical practice has had a profound impact on my family for nearly my entire life.”
Freshour said Dr. Joe Black was in charge of the Jackson County Health Department and was his mother’s boss as a county health nurse.
He also helped save and change her life by telling her she must quit drinking alcohol, as it was killing her, Freshour said.
“Now, things have come full circle, as approximately two years ago, I randomly ran into Dr. Calhoun at the gas station,” he said. “As we exchanged pleasantries as only Dr. Calhoun could do, he stopped and said directly to me, ‘Tim, you need to stop drinking.’”
Freshour said it was out of nowhere, and to some, this may be offensive, but to him, it was a life-changing and life-saving moment.
“He told me how he noticed the physical impact that it was having on me that I had either ignored or didn’t recognize,” Freshour said. “We were not in his office that day, and yet he bluntly told me the truth. This showed me he cared about me. I wasn’t just another patient.”
Until that moment, Freshour said he never truly understood what terrible path he was on.
“He saw the symptoms and wasn’t afraid to tell me the truth, just as Dr. Black did so many years ago for my mom,” he said. “She was a good-hearted woman.”
As Freshour talked with Calhoun on Feb. 10, they shared both of those memories, and for the first time, he was able to thank him and Black for saving his life and his mother’s life.
“It was truly emotional for me, and in his own way, I think it meant something to him, as well. But more than anything, I felt a sense of peace and closure,” he said.
Freshour said they also discussed the future, and the doctor gave him great counsel in that regard, as well.
“As I left there that day, I wasn’t sure if it was the last time I would ever be at that little office on Second Street, but I felt so humbled and glad to say ‘Thanks, Doc’ one last time,” Freshour said.
Calhoun’s staff may go unnoticed, as they were in the background, but Freshour wants them to know he appreciates all of the little things they did to keep the office going.
Robert Rivera grew up in Clarksville but has lived in Seymour for approximately 17 years. Calhoun has been his primary doctor since 2010.
“Dr. Calhoun is the kind of doctor that you immediately relate to,” Rivera said. “Every single appointment I’ve had with him, he comes into the office singing or humming.”
Rivera said he would see Calhoun walking home from work and wish he could have that kind of energy.
“I was told he has had over 3,000 patients, and that means he has helped at least 3,000 people, most more than once if I was a betting man,” he said. “Those numbers alone would not say what a difference he has made, but what a huge impact he has made.”
Rivera said Seymour has been unknowingly lucky to have Calhoun as part of the community.
“There are other doctors, but only one Dr. Calhoun. He and his entire staff are true pros,” Rivera said.
The doctor’s current staff members are Patty Shuler, Dee Hess, Sherry Weaver and Margy Hayes.
Shuler has worked at the office as a nurse since 2017.
“I appreciate how Dr. Calhoun is so very thoughtful of his patients, like trying to stay on time with his schedule every day,” she said. “He’s respectful that way with his patients and worries about them. He definitely takes his work home.”
Shuler said she will miss the doctor, but she also will miss the rest of the staff after the office closes.
“He has beautiful tulips outside of his home, and he’s also becoming quite a cook, so he’s developing some nice hobbies for his retirement,” she said.
Hess also is a nurse at Calhoun’s office, and she would have been there 31 years in June.
“He was a very good boss and very caring with his patients, and he was funny,” she said. “The patients really liked him.”
Hayes has worked there for five years as a nurse and said she has enjoyed working with Calhoun and the rest of the staff.
“He’s a very caring doctor and goes above and beyond to take care of his patients and has a phenomenal memory,” she said. “His wife comes in to help sometimes if one of us needs time off, and it has just been a great experience.”
Weaver, the office medical assistant, has worked with both Black and Calhoun and has been a staff member 41 years.
“I’m lucky that I’ve never hated my job or dreaded it, and a lot of people can’t say that,” Weaver said. “(Calhoun) has been a great boss, very generous and always had funny stories to tell.”
Sandy Sunderman was a nurse there for more than 34 years until retiring in 2014.
“Dr. Black is the one who called me to see if I’d be interested in working there, New Year’s Eve 1979,” Sunderman said. “I had worked at the hospital for 10 years and didn’t really know if I wanted to leave there, but it was the best decision I ever made.”
She said both Black and Calhoun were the best bosses she could have possibly had.
“Both of them were absolutely wonderful. They both took good care of us and were very considerate,” she said.
Sunderman said in so many doctor’s offices, there is a high turnover of nurses and staff. But at Black and Calhoun’s office, there’s been high longevity of staff members there, which shows what good bosses they both were.
“Dr. Calhoun deserves to retire, but all his patients are going to miss him,” she said. “Dr. Black really picked a good one when he decided to get someone in his practice with him.”