I want to take a moment to recognize the retirement of Mary Bartlett who is a good friend and co-worker. I have had the pleasure of working with Mary since 2000 first at WNC Ob-Gyn and subsequently at my current practice until now.

Mary, a Tennessee native, graduated from Clyde Erwin High School, then worked in the banking industry for ten years after graduation from college. Mary stayed home to raise two sons before going back to work as the credit manager at Appalachian Stoves for 18 years. Somewhere in there Mary married her childhood sweetheart, Ed Bartlett, with whom she has been married for 16 years.

I just turned 50 years old last month and it feels like the two matriarchs (Mary and Marilyn) with whom I worked for almost 20 years felt like it was okay to leave me because their work was complete and I could manage on my own from here. I am indebted to them both for all that they taught me and for their support, loyalty, and courage. They helped to make it possible for me to open my own practice almost 5 years ago. Without them I am not sure I would have been successful but I am sure I would not have had as much fun along the way.

In trying to find a replacement for Mary I have been reminded of her unique attributes that make it such a pleasure to know her and to work with her. Both she and Marilyn showed me that in order to provide quality care to patients one needs to personify caring both as a practitioner and as a practice. With Mary here we have cared for one another as co-workers while at work and in our lives at home. We have been a team. Importantly we also make patients feel that we want to know them as human beings and to understand their illness or their needs in terms of their whole selves and lives at home.  Mary has been so instrumental in this. She engages with people the minute they walk in our office or when she picks up the phone. She usually makes anyone she comes into contact with laugh on a regular basis and is the first to laugh at herself. I cannot count the number of practical jokes Mary has played at work which has livened this place up immensely. We are busy and we work hard so a good laugh is worth gold.

Mary has such a huge heart. For instance, she often has paid a patient’s bill for them without even telling anyone she had done it. Recently my car broke down and Mary just came by my house on a Sunday with her car and handed me her keys and told me to keep it as long as I needed it. And I did keep it for a few days which was much longer than I had anticipated because of delays in the repair. I cannot tell you how good it feels to have someone go out of their way for you like that. I do not have family close by which made her gesture all that much more meaningful to me. Also, my mother has dementia and my son, who is almost 7 years old, know Mary and Marilyn as family. So, Ed and Mary coming to his soccer games was priceless.

Mary will go home to her loving husband, Ed and to her seven grandchildren and many friends. Once home she hopes to read more, garden, play the organ, and travel.

I am grateful to you Mary and we all will miss you very much!!! Enjoy your freedom! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!