Dr. Robert Faulkner began practicing medicine 50 years ago — a practice that ended Friday.
Faulkner recently celebrated his retirement from a half a decade of serving Newton County.
He first began working at the Newton County hospital in 1964, and opened his own practice a year later.
“I came in as the young radical,” he recalls, sitting in his office overlooking Highway 278. A series of replicas of 17th century medical etchings adorn the wall behind him.
“I was the first not to have a segregated waiting room,” he said. “It made my black patients a little uncomfortable when they asked where they could sit and we told them they could sit wherever they wanted.”
Throughout his career, Faulkner strove to serve not only his own patients, but to improve access to healthcare for the entire county. As five-term chief of staff at the hospital, he pushed for better equipment and more coverage, even on weekends, which was uncommon for a small hospital at the time.
While he has no specific plans for his retirement, Faulkner, 78, is looking forward to spending more time with his family, especially his grandchildren. After so many years of work and service, however, he admits that the prospect of retirement is “bittersweet.”
He says, “I’d like for my patients to remember me as someone who really cared about them, not just [their] physical well being, but cared about them as people.”