Interview with Dr. Philip Thomas

Born in Richmond Virginia  1-29-21  (89 years old)  Moved to Florida, then Monroe, NC (1st grade) then Erwin, NC (2nd grade) then back to Richmond.  Graduated from Richmond and got a Scholarship to William and Mary.  During his Junior year went into the Army.  Had aspirations of becoming a doctor so go into the medical corps.  Went overseas via the North Sea and made it to the Midlands where a hospital was under construction.  He became a ward person and was there during D-Day onslaught.  The wounded just poured in.  He was sent to the Continent (Belgium) and would stay there as a combat medic.  He was in a convoy enroute to Berlin but the Germans started shelling them.  He was wounded along with 11 other members of his company.  Had a squishing in his left boot and would ultimately come home.  Came back to the US on a Luxury liner.  He was hospitalized in Europe until wars end with a purple heart.

When he landed in the USA he called his girl friend in Little Rock (met at church as both were singing in the choir) Mary Lou in 1945. Has been happy ever since.  Met in 1945 and she encouraged him to go back to premed at W&M.  Went to Medical College of Virginia and graduated in 1951 and interned at DePaul in Norfolk.  He worked shortly for a Dr. in Whaleyville for about 3 months but did not like the wife.  People from Crittenden wanted him to come there but due to the distance to the hospital in Suffolk.  He went to Dr. Eley and ask if he minded if he came to Chuckatuck (November 1952)

20:00  Talks about his family.

Talks about starting at Louise Obici in the middle of a flu epidemic.  Lived first in Everetts, then the Godwin house next to Wesley Chapel, then where the Lesters are, then to the house they are in now in 1971.  Talks about his first memorable event was saving a little black boy at Ferry Point Farm.  {23:00-27:00)

Talks about dispensing medicine in the early years.  When the drug store opened next door he bought all of his medicine.  What percentage of your patients since you began practice were just no pays (at least 50%).

Retired from the hospital in 1992.  House calls was his major income when he started.  $5.00 was the charge for a visit.  31:00  Talks about how the next door neighbors would come over and ask if he could come look at someone else.  He did not charge them for a house call.

He did not get rich as he should have let Mary Lou take care of the finances.

Mary Lou died in 1999 enroute to a wedding of their oldest childs son.

33:40  One of the funny things was he delivered triplets and he had not seen this lady at all before she said he was her doctor.  After the first baby he said Hell there is another one here.  She said at this time OH Doctor please don’t find anymore then the third one showed up.

Remembers most about chuckatuck and especially when Lew Morris passed away.  Mildred Rippey was his first nurse.  Dr. Thomas was the Doctor for John Yeates High School.

If he had it all to do over again he would let Mary Lou take care of the finances.

40:15  Talks about Horace Milteer coming to see Dr. Thomas and telling him that if he could not tell him what was wrong with him he would go to a good doctor.  Katherine talks about how the elderly ladies would come to the office just to sit and watch Dr. Thomas.  Good discussion worth listening to 40:15 to 46:55

47:00 Out house collection recalls him to say “No Strain with Modaine”

48:30  Discusses the increase in Malpractice Insurance.  This will cause him to stop his practice early.  He is 89 and wants to practice until his mid 90’s.

57:50  Talks about tending Governor Godwin and how Chris Jones got involved in politics.

60:00  Talks about who has worked for Dr. Thomas:  Tommy Taylor, Helen Winslow, Grace Garner, Mrs. Oliver, Nancy Briggs, Celia Rae Wagner, Mildred Cofield, Sherry and Scutter also worked for Dr. Thomas.

62:30  Talks about his retirement.  Katherine talks about just taking him to a taxidermist, have him stuffed and put in the chair since he is a man of few words.

65:30  Talks about visiting a lady in the hospital who was blown up like she was pregnant but was not.  67:30  Katherine talks about her working in the medical field.

73:00  Talks about the Raine’s and their Labor Day parties down on the river.

74:00  Talks about Mr. Gwaltney getting shot.  Talks about him being loaded with money.  Never put any in the bank.

75:20  Dr Thomas was a member of St Paul’s Episcopal after he left Oakland.  He says he is a devote Episcopal.

82:15  Dr. Thomas talks about the Drug Store being broken into and then after Bobby Jones saw what was done he went directly to the home of the robber and found him in bed with his boots on.

85:20  Dr Thomas talks about prostate cancer and wheather to remove it or not.

The remainder of the tape is me talking about my prostate.