In Celebration of MHS Class of 1958

In Celebration of MHS Class of 1958

A Tribute and Celebration

We were the class of 1958, members of the Greatest Generation as well as children of the Greatest Generation. Born in 1940, we are also called members of the Traditional Generation.

Our childhood, post World War II, "was the best of times . . . it was the age of wisdom . . . it was the epoch of belief . . .it was the season of Light . . . it was the spring of hope . . . we had everything before us . . .we were all going direct to Heaven . . . ." (A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens.) At least, that's the way I felt about it. We were truly blessed.

- Ouida Tomlinson -

This blog is a place for 1958 graduates of Meridian, Mississippi, High School to stay in touch, post their news, items of interest and photographs.

CLASS OF 1958 MEMORIES (Click to read all posts relating to sports, honors, graduation and other memories of our class in 1957-58.)




Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Medical school founder Dr. Richard Brown retires from his 'people job' after 38 years in practice

By Mark McCarter |
July 31, 2011

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Richard Brown was an engineer by trade, but he had an epiphany. He wanted "a people job, not working with designs and machines," he said. "I got this real strong tug."

Dr. Richard Brown with long-time patient
Anne Speake during his retirement ceremonies

The tug led him to apply to medical school.

"We thought, 'Why not? We can do that,'" said his wife, Paula.

A school adviser told him why. Med schools accepted only straight-A students, or those from rich families who donates tons of cash, two criteria Brown didn't meet.

"You might as well just go back to engineering," the adviser said.

That was more than 40 years ago.

Brown got into med school.

He did it one better.

He even helped start a medical school.

He was one of the founders of the University of Alabama School of Medicine's Family Medicine Residency program in Huntsville.

"Truly a pioneer," said his colleague, Dr. Tim Howard.

On Friday afternoon, Dr. Rich Brown sat in a near-naked office, the walls and shelves cleared of pictures and memorabilia. A stack of files sat on a cart. A stethoscope was on the desk.

A crowd was forming down the hall at Gleneagles Family Medicine, with patients coming to pay tribute to 70-year-old Brown on his final day as a physician after 38 years.

"It's a little bit bittersweet, saying goodbye to these hundreds and hundreds of people who have been regular patients of mine for more than 30 years," Brown said. "We've become close friends, and I'm having to say goodbye to all that."

He plans to enjoy more family time - he and Paula have a son, Christopher, and daughter Dr. Allyson Maske. Allyson and husband Jim have two children, Emma Stewart and Jamison Davis.

There are also some small-mouth bass at Tims Ford Lake, where he and Paula have a house, calling his name.

Brown was a young physician in Oklahoma when he was called to Huntsville by Dr. Roger Leinke, who was starting a residency program for family practice. The Browns arrived during the second week of April. The dogwoods and azaleas were in full bloom. They toured the historic district, appealing to Paula's desire to renovate an old home. Said Brown, "She was sold."

Leinke and Brown were soon joined by Dr. Gayle Stephens, who'd become the first dean of what would initially be called UAH School of Primary Medical Care, and by administrator Dr. Silas Grant.
It was a critical time. A survey revealed that 69 was the average age of family-care physicians in the state of Alabama in 1970.

"We recognized we couldn't keep on this course, with all the family doctors getting that much older," Brown said. "We needed a fresh infusion of family doctors."

The medical school he helped grow has trained hundreds of residents who would go on to their own practices, many remaining in North Alabama. In a tidy bow to wrap it all up, a member of the current faculty is Dr. Bill English. He was one of the first three residents in the program in 1975.

Brown continues to serve on the volunteer faculty for the medical school. Along with Howard, he established the Community Free Clinic and has been a physician for the Downtown Rescue Mission.

"I always felt that I was guided by the Holy Spirit of God and was doing what I was supposed to be doing," Brown said. Even when others doubted a U-turn in his career path, "I knew I was headed in the right direction. I kept feeling this pushing in the right direction, and I just followed it and it has never betrayed me. I know now that I have fulfilled what I wanted to do."

As guests began to arrive for his farewell, Brown shrugged into a navy blazer to go with his blue shirt, tan pants and saddle Oxfords. He walked outside, leaving behind an empty office. And taking with him a life lived in full.

Contact Mark McCarter at
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