Son follows in father's footsteps

Published 10:22 pm Wednesday, August 11, 2004

By By LYDIA GRIMES Feature Reporter
Children often follow in the footsteps of their parents, some more closely than others. Although Dr. Jimmy Adkisson is leaving the practice of medicine, he is leaving one of his children to carry on the tradition. Dr. Wayne Adkisson, the oldest child of Jimmy and Susie Adkisson, is a physician in his own right. The elder Adkisson has had a successful family practice in Brewton for more than 20 years while the younger physician has chosen to specialize.
Jimmy W. Adkisson was born in Brewton in 1944 and grew up in the area. He attended local county schools and graduated from W.S. Neal High School in 1962. His father worked in a store in downtown Brewton, and he spent quite a bit of time there. The first job he ever had was selling popcorn on the streets of Brewton. A man owned a popcorn machine, and he made a deal with the young Adkisson to sell popcorn and split the profits. He had another job that made even a bigger influence on his life. He began working at the old Mason Drug Store, which was located in the building that now houses Ole Willie's. He had the chore of sweeping floors for Mr. Redditt, who was the pharmacist at the time. He spent a lot of time in the drug store and began to believe that he wanted to be a pharmacist. Mr. Redditt made it possible for him to put that belief into action by helping him go on to college.
After graduation from high school he attended Samford University School of Pharmacy. He married Susie Normand in 1965.
The couple came back to Brewton in 1967 and he worked at Mason Drugs with Mr. Redditt until 1971 when he was able to buy the store along with one in East Brewton. He was now his own boss, but it just didn't seem like enough. In 1974, after much soul searching, he made the decision to go to medical school. That was not an easy decision to make as he was the father of three children by that time. Wayne was born in 1967, Lori in 1969 and Normand in 1973.
Adkisson put the drug stores up for sale and was able to sell them both to Ned Sibert. Sibert's father-in-law helped with the purchase, and the deal was made to pay a good portion up front with the balance to be paid by the month. This would allow the Adkisson family to get by until graduation.
Adkisson wanted to go to medical school, but not just any medical school. He wanted to attend a school where he could become a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. He learned of a college in Kansas City that seemed just right, but it wasn't going to be easy. The dean was not too sure that he could make it. Adkisson had been out of school for eight years and the dean thought that it would be too difficult. He finally decided to give Adkisson a chance by letting him study and pass three courses before he was allowed to enter the school.
He set up practice in the Medical Center in Dr. Philippi's old office. Dr. Philippi had retired and it made for a perfect place for the new doctor to practice. Over the next 23 years he built a large practice, and although he loves his work, he thinks it is time to retire and do some of the things he has never had the time for.
Those three things will continue to play a big part in his life. He has plans to do some traveling, some fishing and for the immediate future, gathering his large collection of pharmaceutical equipment to present to Jefferson Davis Community College for display at the Thomas E. McMillan Museum.
The second Dr. Adkisson was almost destined to follow in his father's footsteps. He was already in school when the family was living in Kansas City. He grew up playing with his father's "box of bones." This was half a skeleton that each student in college used to learn the names of the different bones of the body. Dr. Jimmy's bones were kept in a box and the children were allowed to play with them.
Dr. Wayne Adkisson grew up in a doctor's world. It was only natural that he would become a doctor, too. When he was a young man he was allowed to scrub and watch surgery by Dr. Bob Smith and Dr. Salem Saloom. This gave him the idea that he might become a surgeon, but that would change.
Wayne grew up in Brewton after the family moved back from Kansas City. He attended T.R. Miller High School and graduated in 1985. He went to Jefferson Davis Community College for the next two years. He, like his father, chose to go to Samford University School of Pharmacy, graduating in 1990. When questioned about the pharmacy schooling he has a very good answer as to why he became a pharmacist first.
That's not all he did before medical school. He believes that travel is the best education one can get, and he took advantage of that before settling down to the routine of school. While he was in high school he was lucky enough to get to travel to Europe with an art group from school led by Lee and Beth Bain. That was the beginning of a love of travel which he enjoys today.
After the time off he entered the University of Alabama at Birmingham Medical School. He graduated in 1995 and earned his fellowship in 2001. As an intern and resident, he did rotations in all the medical departments. He felt like he wanted to be an OB/GYN but he decided that the lifestyle was too hard. He wanted something with hands-on procedure work. He knew a doctor in Pensacola and liked what he was doing in gastroenterology dealing with the digestive system. He decided to specialize in that field and was able to secure a position with Pensacola Gastroenterology Associates.
He is now returning to Brewton every week to help those who need the help of a specialist in his field. He comes up on Thursday and sees patients through Friday morning.
He, like his father, loves to fish. However, his love takes him into the deep seas off Florida. He has just got his first boat and being a bachelor, he spends all the time he can on the water. He has a wine collection of over 300 bottles. It would appear that he is the typical eligible bachelor but not as carefree as that sounds. He is serious about what he does.