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Dr. William "Bill" Gregory Mourned

Editor's note: Bill Gregory showed road horses and ponies in the 1960's and 70's. His mother, Mary Jane Gregory, is a longtime Saddlebred owner, having horses with Bob Gatlin and others. She owned My Good Bye when she won the 2005 Junior Exhibitor Three-Gaited Show Pleasure 16-17 World’s Championship with Tate Bennett riding under the direction of Peter Palmer. The following is reprinted from The
Dalton (GA) Daily Citizen.

By Victor Alvis
Dalton Daily Citizen

The Dalton community lost one of its best friends late Saturday morning when Dr. William “Bill” Gregory, 51, was killed when the bicycle he was riding was struck by a pickup on Ga. Highway 52 near Ellijay.

“I’m just devastated” said Vivian Chance, a longtime patient of the doctor, whose mother, Mae Sutton, also was one of Gregory’s patients. “I was supposed to go see him for a physical Monday; instead I’ll be going to his funeral,” Chance said. “He was just wonderful.”

According to officers in the Georgia State Patrol’s
Blue Ridge office, Gregory, a local internist, was cycling off Fort Mountain, west of Ellijay, when he was hit by a 1989 Ford Ranger turning left near the intersection of Ga. 52 and Berry Hill Road.

Gilmer County coroner Jerry Hensley said the westbound truck was driven by Glenn Marshall, a former president of the Bank of Ellijay, who was turning into his driveway when he hit Gregory, who was traveling east with two other cyclists who were unidentified. Gregory was transported to
North Georgia Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at about 3 p.m.

Gregory’s friends and colleagues remember him as an extraordinary physician and person.

“He was a dear friend and one of the best doctors I’ve ever known, and he is going to be greatly missed by friends, family and patients,” said Dr. Mark Elam. “He and I were partners for many years and continued to stay close.”

Elam and Gregory were partners in Cornerstone Medical Group, formerly Cross Plains Medical, from 1993 until 1999, when Gregory left to open a solo practice at 313 N. Selvidge St.

“We had taken a couple of trips together, and I still saw him frequently at the hospital,”
Elam said. “He also volunteered on a weekly basis at the health department seeing uninsured patients, who were very appreciative of him. He had a great heart.”

John Bowling, president and CEO of Hamilton Medical Center, said the hospital and the
Dalton area at large were deeply grieved to learn of Gregory’s death.

“He was a wonder physician and a wonderful human being, and he is going to be sorely missed by this community,” Bowling said. “In addition to his active medical practice, he served as chairman of the quality improvement council of our hospital. He was ever the student and an extraordinary person.”

Bowling said Gregory was a member of his Sunday school class at
Dalton First United Methodist Church, a devoted Bible scholar, and a respected authority on Christianity. Gregory was an active participant in church mission trips to countries such as Peru, he said.

Dr. Sherwood Jones was also in practice with Gregory for several years. Jones said he and his wife became Gregory’s patients after retiring. 

“It’s hard to find the right words to express the loss. Bill was a very smart and loving person, a people person. He was concerned about his friends’ and patients’ lives and their families, not just the illness he was treating,” Jones said. “He was genuinely interested in people, and he was uniquely creative in his interests, whether it be movies, reading, music, biking, or golf, which he took up after adulthood. He was full of life and interested in all of life. It’s a tremendous loss.”

Mark Ellis of
Dalton said he has been a patient of Gregory’s since the 1970s, after Gregory, a Dalton native, finished medical school and took over the local practice of Dr. Albert Boozer. 

“If you were his patient, you never had to worry,” Ellis said. “If he didn’t know your problem, he would gather all the information and research to find it. He was the perfect combination of physician and friend.” 

Ellis said Gregory was his doctor, his friend and a customer of Ellis’ medical supply business, PSS.

“Dr. Gregory was one of the most wonderful people you’ll ever know,” Ellis said. “
Dalton will not be able to replace a person like him. He had been focusing on getting healthy lately, and I often joked he looked like a teenager again.”

Dr. Brad DeLay said Gregory took up cycling in the past couple of years, and the two often cycled together, making a trip together to
Cleveland, Tenn., last weekend. DeLay said he might have ridden with Gregory on Saturday, had he not been on call.

“I’d been running or working on my fitness since about 1980, but Bill was not that way until recently. He’d been getting fit and losing weight, and you could tell he was proud to join that fraternity,” DeLay said. “He was setting an example for his patients — kind of practicing what he preached.” 

Bowling said Gregory was particularly fond of the trek over
Fort Mountain for its challenge and its beauty.

Gregory is survived by his wife, Laura, and two daughters: Virginia, a college student in
New York, and Elizabeth, a rising senior in Girls Preparatory School in Chattanooga; his mother, Mary Jane (Mrs. Julian) Gregory, also of Dalton; sister and brother-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Tom Yirak of Birmingham, Ala.; and nieces and nephews.

Memorial services are Tuesday, June 27 at
4 p.m. at the Dalton First United Methodist Church with the Rev. C. Dean Taylor and Dr. Joe Peabody officiating. The church will have overflow seating in Famber Hall.

The family will receive friends at the atrium of the
First United Methodist Church from 2 until 4 p.m.

The family asks that flowers please be omitted and memorials be made to the First United Methodist Church Mission Fund,
P.O. Box 627, Dalton, GA 30722-0627.

Words of comfort may be sent to the family at Love Funeral Home, 1402 N. Thornton Ave., Dalton is in charge of arrangements.


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