Harold Wilson traveled to UA for celebration

Published 10:33 pm Monday, April 9, 2007

By By Adrienne McKenzie
Dr. Harold Wilson spent the weekend in Tuscaloosa at the University of Alabama with fellow 1957 graduates to celebrate his 50 years of dedication to the medical profession.
The "Golden Fifties Club" is a group of University of Alabama alumni who rejoice more than 50-year reunions from the university. These members gather each year to commemorate the class that is celebrating its 50th year since graduation.
Wilson said the weekend was full of social events and acknowledgment.
"We went to seminars," he said. "It was a sports oriented seminar. We went to the country club and had some fraternization with other 50-year members, not just M.D.s, but other professions as well including doctors and lawyers. It was just a social meeting and recognition for 1957 graduates."
Wilson graduated from Kinston High School in Coffee County. He knew he wanted to go into the medical field ever since he was in the 10th grade.
"When I got out of high school somehow I knew I wanted to study medicine," Wilson said. "We had a little skit in the 10th grade and I had my first 'operation.' I was raised with a poor background so I had no money to go to school but I loved school. When I got out of high school, at that time there were no scholarships like there are now so I volunteered to join the Navy. I asked for the Hospital Corps School in the Navy and they gave me my choice. This was during World War II."
Wilson began in the Navy in Rhode Island in 1946, went to boot camp at the Great Lakes and the Hospital Corps School was also at the Great Lakes. He then traveled around the world in the military.
"I was really a Navy nurse," he said. "I was an honor student in the Hospital Corps School. I chose Jacksonville Naval Hospital as my first station out of the Navy Corps School. I shipped out of there and spent two years at sea. I was never in actual combat because the crisis was over by 1946. I sailed all over the world, the Mediterranean, Turkey, Sicily, Italy, Japan, Cuba and we did emergency service in Haiti."
Wilson was eager to begin school so he asked for a personal convenience leave from the Navy.
"They discharged me according to my request," Wilson said. "I served a few days in Korea. Then I was discharged in San Diego. I got out in the afternoon and the next week I was at the University of Alabama."
Because of Wilson's experience in the Navy he was capable of receiving quality jobs.
"I went into pre-med at Alabama," he said. "Because of my Navy experience I was able to get good jobs. I stayed at Druid City Hospital doing night work."
James Simon Peter Beck was the pathologist in command at Druid City Hospital in Tuscaloosa and he guaranteed Wilson a job during pre-med school. Wilson entered med school after three years of pre-med instead of four.
"I got my B.S. degree after completing my freshman year of med school," Wilson said.
After graduating, Wilson interned at St. Vincent Hospital in Birmingham. He said working at this hospital was a valuable experience.
"It was a very good internship," he said. "It was a great experience working with the Catholic sisters."
Wilson entered into family practice in Atmore in June 1958 where he did everything from delivering babies to removing tonsils.
"I did a lot of practice," he said. "I've done everything. I did a lot of major surgery here. I did 20 years of OB in addition to everything else. I did delivery, hysterectomies and tonsils."
Wilson found a home in Atmore at the nursing home during his earlier years of practicing medicine.
"In my early times when the nursing home was being built I was the first nursing home medical director for the first 13 years of its life," he said.
Wilson worked with some of the local doctors who have passed away, including Dr. Goldsmith, Dr. Thomas and Dr. Maxwell. He considers them to have been excellent physicians.
"It was my pleasure to know all those guys and to practice medicine in Atmore," Wilson said. "I am the only living physician that practiced at Vaught Hospital. Atmore had very adequate medical personnel in those days. It was my privilege to have worked with them."
Wilson has done more than practice medicine throughout the years, also. He said that around 16 years ago he worked with the Northwest Florida Little League District Program for about three years.
"I enjoyed the little league and was very successful at it," Wilson said.
He also was one of the founders of Escambia Academy in Atmore.
"I was one of the first three guys that got together and started the private school, Escambia Academy," he said. "I was the first state representative for the private school association in this area."
Wilson has been in the medical business for many years and has no intentions of leaving anytime soon.
"I'm going to keep on working as long as my faculties are there and I'm mentally competent," he said.
Wilson knew he wanted to be a doctor when he was a teenager and felt that he was led into the business.
"My life has been medicine ever since the 10th grade," Wilson said. "I always felt I've had a guardian angel guiding me."
Wilson now works Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. until noon and 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. in general office practice. He will also allow for special appointments at other dates and times.

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