Posted: Thu 2:29 PM, May 23, 2013
Francis Joseph “F.J.” Halcomb Jr., M.D., 94, of Scottsville, passed away May 16, 2013, a few days short of his 95th birthday.
He was born May 19, 1918, in Franklin, the son of the late Francis J. Halcomb Sr. and Rosa Lee Phelps Halcomb. The oldest of two siblings, he married Mariola Shrewsbury Halcomb on June 17, 1942, in Bristol, Tenn.
Dr. Halcomb is survived by his daughter, Julie (Gary) Koch of Lexington; his son, Dr. F. Joseph (Joani) Halcomb III of Camarillo, Calif.; and his son-in-law, Robert Zinn of Mint Hill, N.C. He is also survived by four grandchildren, Dawn Koch of Lexington, Holly (Philip) Carnegis of Troy, Mich., Allison (Jim) Fessenden of San Diego and Alyssa Halcomb of San Diego; and seven great-grandchildren, Cassandra, Nicholas and Natasha Carnegis of Troy, Mich., and Reese, twins Autumn and Brit, and Jillian Fessenden of San Diego.
In addition, Dr. Halcomb is survived by cousin Billy Joe Halcomb of Pond Creek, Okla.; sister-in-law Emma Dee Monarch of Hardinsburg; nephew, Col. George E. (Kathy) Monarch III, USMC (ret.) of Hardinsburg; several nieces, including Marthena Burr, Mimi (Kelly) Banton and Judy Burr of Franklin, Becky (Dwight) Brown of Hardinsburg, Joyce (Neal) Smiley of Pasco, Wash., and Betty Saurs of Wilmore.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Mariola S. Halcomb; his daughter, Harriet Lea Halcomb; and his sister, Julia Elizabeth Burr.
Dr. Halcomb grew up on a tobacco farm in Simpson County. He attended Sulfur Springs School and later graduated from Franklin High School in 1935. A member of Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity, he graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1939. He earned his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Louisville School of Medicine in 1943. He met (and later married) Mariola Shrewsbury of Hardinsburg while both were working at the Clark County Hospital in Jeffersonville, Ind.
F.J. and Mariola moved to Nashville, where he interned at Nashville General Hospital and she worked as a public health nurse. By then, the U.S. was fully engaged in World War II. Dr. Halcomb entered the U.S. Army, commissioned as a lieutenant, and was later promoted to captain. He served in the 5th Auxiliary Surgical Group, which took him into the operating rooms behind the front lines in Western Europe. The warfare brought thousands of men to the hospital, keeping the doctors and nurses busy night and day.
After the war, F.J. and Mariola moved to Scottsville and later to “White Plains,” the small community their family called home. He had returned to his home state, intending to go into the OB/GYN field, but a Bowling Green physician, Dr. G.Y. Graves, offered him an opportunity to practice medicine in Allen County. He accepted the offer – thinking it might be a two-year stint – and started his private practice in the Graves Building on the square in January 1946. Fraternity brother and med school classmate Earl Oliver joined him in August 1946, and a long-term partnership was established.
F.J. and Earl reopened the Graves Infirmary on West Main Street and ran the hospital for about six years while county officials were building the Allen County War Memorial Hospital. The new hospital opened its doors in 1952, and the Graves Infirmary was closed. After extensive renovations, F.J. and Earl opened the Halcomb and Oliver Clinic in February 1953.
The two partners worked side by side at the clinic until they sold the practice to Dr. Lee Carter in 1984. Both continued to work at the clinic – and did their share of weekend duty as emergency room physicians at the local hospital. Dr. Halcomb retired from full-time practice in 1985, a year after selling the clinic. But he continued to serve as a part-time physician at the local General Electric plant, which was later acquired by A.O. Smith. His job ended in 2004 as the facility’s employment decreased.
Dr. Halcomb was a true family physician, providing care for everything from OB and pediatrics to internal medicine and geriatrics. He rarely went anywhere without his “black bag” and routinely made house calls, early on in an army jeep, and later in his 1957 Mercedes-Benz 190SL roadster.
Dr. Halcomb was active in the community and volunteered his time to a number of local business and civic organizations. He served on the Allen County School Board of Education for 24 years, 18 years as chairman. He also served on the Scottsville City Council for 20 years. He was active in the Jaycees and served as state vice president. Dr. Halcomb was also a Mason, Shriner and Rotarian – and one of the founding members of the Scottsville-Allen County Recreational Association. He served as a director of the Kentucky State Bank and was a charter member of White Plains Baptist Church.
Dr. Halcomb was also active in organized medicine. He was a charter member of the Kentucky Academy of Family Physicians, which was organized in 1948, and was selected Kentucky Citizen Doctor of the Year in 1970. He served as president of the Kentucky Academy in 1975-76. He was also a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians and served as a legislative representative for the national organization. He received the President’s Award from the American Academy in 2006.
Dr. Halcomb was an avid UK sports fan and attended most football and basketball games. He served as team physician for the Allen County Patriots basketball team for many years. There are countless stories about his interaction with the team and how he would improvise to help the players stay in the game. Later in life, he enjoyed remote-controlled planes and boats. But his favorite pastime was fishing. Friends who went fishing with him often found that he could go for days with little or no sleep because he didn’t want to miss a minute of the pursuit.
Visitation will be at 2 p.m. June 15 at White Plains Baptist Church, 329 Franklin Road, Scottsville. A funeral service will follow at 3 p.m., with burial in the Crescent Hill Cemetery in Scottsville.
Memorials can be made to the Kentucky Academy of Family Physicians Foundation or to White Plains Baptist Church.