Historian and Author Tom Perry's thoughts on history and anything that comes to mind.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Remembering Eric Jarrell, Doctor and Soldier

Wilburn Eric Jarrell (1926-2010)

Dr. Jarrell passed away last night. He was good friends with my second father Theodore Guynn. I spent many hours listening to the two of them talk about their histories and the history of Ararat, Virginia, where they both grew up together.Here is a passage from my book Notes From The Free State Of Patrick about him.

Wilburn Eric Jarrell was born to Benjamin Alec and Mary Alma Hancock Jarrell in Floyd, Virginia, on March 14, 1926. Benjamin met Mary while they were both students at Central Academy in Patrick County. W. Eric Jarrell had eight siblings: Merlin Thomas, Mary Claudine, John Arnold, Joseph William, Franklin Delano, Charles Burgess, Dallas Gray and Lilly Aleene Jarrell.

Jarrell descended from Joseph William Jarrell and his father Albert Jarrell, who was among four brothers serving the South in the War Between the States. Albert lived on land once owned by J. E. B. Stuart’s father Archibald and often visited William Mitchell at the 1905 Mitchell-Dellenback house owned by the Stuart Birthplace.

W. Eric Jarrell attended J. E. B. Stuart School in the Rabbit Ridge Section of Ararat and later Blue Ridge High School. Jarrell wanted to fly planes off aircraft carriers during World War II, but entered the U. S. Navy on May 12, 1944, from Ararat and traveled to Williamsburg’s Camp Perry. He joined the Medical Corps attending three months of intense training at Bainbridge, Maryland, and then to Portsmouth Naval Hospital and to Hawaii. Jarrell served on the U. S. S. Cecil, an amphibious transport ship (APA) that carried 1500 men to Iwo Jima. They continued to the New Hebrides, Caroline, Cook, and Solomon Islands. For one week, Jarrell saw Kamikazes attack the navy at Okinawa and the flag raising on Mount Suribachi. He spent six months at Tientsin, China, taking care of the Marine Air Corps, and thought of becoming a dentist, but since he had already done everything eight years of college would teach in Dentistry, he turned to medicine instead. He left the navy as Pharmacist Mate Third Class on June 11, 1946.

From September 1946 until 1950, he attended the University of Virginia and then spent four years in medical school in Charlottesville. After one year interning, Dr. W. Eric Jarrell returned to Ararat working off his rural scholarship and beginning a forty-three year career in medicine. He worked to get a Medical Examiner system in Surry County. He took over Dr. Gates’ practice and later moved to Mount Airy with his office on North Main Street. He retired on November 9, 1998 and is the rare Ararat native named Distinguished Patrick Countian.

W. E. Jarrell married Jewel Beatrice Davis the daughter of Clyde Stephen and Edith Beatrice Earnhart Davis. Four children were born to the couple. W. E. Jarrell, Jr. born in 1954 died tragically in a car accident. David Hancock was born in 1961, Beverly Jewel in 1956 and Susan Beatrice in 1963. Beverly married Roger S. William and their oldest child Leslie Erica attended the University of Virginia and was a Presidential Scholar. They had two other children: Roger, Jr. and Logan Beatrice. Davis H. Jarrell married Teresa Ercoline and had two children Davis, Jr. and Anne Abram Jarrell.

Dr. Wilburn Eric Jarrell, 83, of 700 Country Club Road, Mount Airy, passed away Tuesday, March 9, 2010, at his home. He was born March 14, 1926, in Floyd County, VA, son of the late Benjamin A. and Mary Hancock Jarrell. Dr. Jarrell was a family physician, retiring in 1998 after 43 years of doing what he loved best, improving patients’ health. He was proud of his military service, having served as a pharmacist mate 3rd class at Iwo Jima and Okinawa during World War II, where he witnessed the raising of the flag in Iwo Jima. He also served with the First Marine Air Wing, Headquarters Squadron, in Tientsin, China. Upon completion of duties, he entered the University of Virginia for undergraduate studies and in 1954 received his medical degree from the University of Virginia Medical School. Dr. Jarrell was a past member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, a lifetime member of the North Carolina Medical Society, the American Medical Association, and the Surry-Yadkin Medical Society. When serving as a member of the staff at Northern Hospital of Surry County, he helped design the hospital’s first Coronary Care Unit, initiated the establishment of the Medical Examiner’s system in Surry County, and served the county as its first Medical Examiner. Upon certification, he became a member of the American Association of Medical Review Officers. He was an original member of Surry Medical Ministries and upon retirement assumed the position of Interim Director of the Surry County Health Department. Dr. Jarrell also held the position as adjunct professor at East Carolina Medical School. In 2004, he was proud to be inducted into the Thomas Jefferson Society at the University of Virginia. In the community, Dr. Jarrell was a past member of the Mount Airy Community Foundation Board, Board of Directors of First Citizens Bank, The Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce, Camp Physician at Raven Knob and recipient of the Old Hickory Council’s “Order of the Arrow” award. He was the first recipient of the “Patrick Countian of the Year” award. He also was a member of Central United Methodist Church. Dr. Jarrell is survived by his wife of 56 years, Jewel Davis Jarrell; a daughter and son-in-law, Beverly and Roger Williams of Charleston, SC; a son and daughter-in-law, Davis and Teresa Jarrell of Bluefield, WV; a daughter, Susan Jarrell of Bluefield, VA; and five grandchildren, Leslie Williams, Roger Williams, Jr., and Logan Williams, Davis Jarrell, Jr., and Anne Jarrell. He is also survived by two sisters and a brother-in-law, Alene and Richard Ward of Mount Airy and Claudine Eaton of Crystal River, FL; and four brothers and three sisters-in-law, Joe Jarrell and Charles Jarrell, both of Mount Airy, Frank and Elizabeth Jarrell of Kernersville, Dallas and Diane Jarrell of Roanoke, VA, and Donnis Jarrell of Shelby. He was preceded in death by his son, Wilburn Eric Jarrell, Jr.; his parents; and two brothers, Tommy Jarrell and Arnold Jarrell. The funeral service will be held at 2:00 PM Friday, March 12, 2010, at Central United Methodist Church, with the Rev. John Ferree officiating. Burial will follow in the Oakdale Cemetery. The family will receive friends Thursday night from 6:30 to 8:30 at Moody Funeral Home in Mount Airy. Memorials may be made to the Dr. W. Eric and Jewel D. Jarrell Scholarship Fund, c/o Surry Community College Foundation, 630 South Main Street, Dobson, NC 27017, or to Central United Methodist Church, 1909 North Main Street, Mount Airy, NC 27030.

1 comment:

  1. Tom, Daddy & Eric were cousins, and long, long ago, Granny Bowman dated Ben. When I was small and Eric was interning with Dr. Gates, I believe, I recall his coming to Granny's house to see Grandpa Bowman. Eric was a gifted doctor. He did not have a warm fuzzy bedside manner yet kids loved him! I'll never forget telling Karen when she was about 8 that we were going to the eye doctor and she cried and cried. I couldn't understand why she was so upset until she said, why can't I keep seeing Dr. Jarrell?
    He gave Noel her first exam when she was 10 days old. I will never forget how tender he was, and how helpful he was. I'll never forget going to the emergency room with an allergic rash and Dr. Stabler asking who my doctor was. I said, Eric Jarrell. He replied, well, just go see him Monday morning. He's the best.
    When I was at PCHS, I did an article for the school paper on smoking which won an award. I interviewed Eric and he was so patient. He said he started smoking the day they landed on Iwo Jima? Is that right?
    I have thought of him so often and am envious that you got to listen to him and Theodore talk at length.
    I am so sad to hear of his passing, I can't tell you. He was beloved.