The Valdosta Daily Times
When Dr. Jesse Parrott’s eyesight started to go some years ago and he could no longer see well enough to drive his car, he took to driving around Hahira in his golf cart, creating a trend in the community. Today, they’re everywhere in the city, but at the time, if you saw a golf cart, chances were it was Dr. Parrott and his dog.
If his wife Nancy of 57 years was with him, chances are it was behind the wheel of the family car, driving him to one of the many meetings and events he still attended, long after he had closed his thriving practice and retired.
On Friday, June 21, Dr. Parrott lost his battle with cancer and passed away at the age of 94. He leaves a legacy of service to community and country that likely will never be surpassed.
When Jesse Parrott was a teenager, his family relocated to the area for his father’s teaching job. It was the Depression-era, and jobs were hard to come by, so he joined the Navy and served. Following his service, he returned to Hahira and Dr. Raymond Smith, the namesake of Smith Hospital in Hahira and now Smith Northview Hospital in Valdosta, saw potential and funded his way through medical school.
Jesse returned to Hahira and practiced medicine, enjoying life as a single man. He managed to stay that way for a number of years, until a certain Miss Nancy Wainer came along. She developed a crush on him, despite their 16-year age difference, when she was in her teens, and she finally “caught” him after time away in Athens at college.
She was 20, he was 36 when they tied the knot on April 23, 1955. At the time, he was not only a very busy physician, he was also the city’s mayor. He served as Mayor of Hahira twice, from 1955-58 and from 1987-93.
In an interview years ago, when asked why he wanted to serve as mayor when he was so very busy with his medical practice and young family, Dr. Parrott answered that someone had to. Nancy also served as a member of the Hahira City Council for a few years as well. The couple were as dedicated to their small community as they were each other.
Dr. Parrott also once remarked that he had delivered pretty much every adult born since WWII in Hahira. He may have been jesting, but it wasn’t far from the truth, as he delivered thousands of
children over the years.
Even after closing his
practice in the 1980s, he continued to work and volunteer, never being able to sit still for long. The Parrotts always enjoying spending time with their two sons, Jonathan and Stephen, and their six grandchildren. Son Jonathan is a physician in Valdosta.
Several years ago, the Times ran an interview with the Parrotts about their secret to staying married — happily married — for so many years, and the answer was simply that you have to work on it. They called it “making a pleasant effort.”
Their pleasant effort not only brought them great joy together for many years, but also brought joy to many others through their inspiration and dedication to everyone and everything around them. Just being with the Parrotts would put a smile on your face.
Dr. Jesse Parrott will be missed by family, friends, patients, the city of Hahira and all those whose lives he touched in any number of ways.