Local community loses beloved doctor

Published 7:17 pm Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Flomaton and the surrounding area lost one of its most respected and beloved citizens with the death of Dr. John Alwin Vanlandingham on Wed., March 14, 2018.

Funeral services were held at First Baptist Church of Flomaton at 3 p.m. on Sat., March 17, with Dr. Tim Tew officiating. Burial followed at Flomaton Cemetery with Flomaton Funeral Home directing. Pallbearers were Joshua Vanlandingham, Jared Vanlandingham, Damon Vanlandingham, Grant Vanlandingham, Terry Stanford and Wayne Washburn.

Dr. Vanlandingham was 79 years old and had served as a physician for the past 46 years, coming to Flomaton in 1974 from Ann Arbor, Mich. He was honored with a reception on the occasion of his retirement in November of 2017. The Flomaton City Council also honored him by renaming HoustonStreet to Dr. Van Street.

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Chris Griffin, D.W. McMillan Hospital administrator in Brewton said that he had known Dr. Vanlandingham since 2004.

“We worked together to make sure there was healthcare in that area,”Griffin said. “After the Abernathy Hospital closed, we worked with him getting an office built to make sure that people were served. At his retirement, it was said that he was an icon for Flomaton.”

Dr. Vanlandingham was a native of Marianna, Fla. He was a 1958 graduate of Milton High School, a 1960 graduate of Asbury College and a 1970 graduate of the University of Michigan School of Medicine.

“He was a very smart man,” said Bob Ellis, Director of Nursing at D.W. McMillan Hospital. “He had a brilliant mind. He would work all day in his office and then as much as he could after hours. He joked at his retirement last fall that he came to Flomaton to work for three months and never left. He worked as long as he could and said he couldn’t leave Flomaton without a doctor.”

In his search of “eternal studies” he enjoyed reading books on theoretical physics and mathematics. He loved playing the piano, mechanics and photographing wildflowers in their natural environment. He also enjoyed riding on the many motorcycles that he owned. He was of the Methodist and Baptist faiths and was a member of First Baptist Church of Flomaton.

Dr. Vanlandingham was preceded in death by his parents, Rev. A.H. and Ernestine Chapman Vanlandingham.

He is survived by his wife of 36 years, Wanda Hart Vanlandingham of Flomaton: two sons, Joshua (Ivy) Vanlandingham of Molino, Fla. and Jared (partner, Andres) Vanlandingham of Brooklyn, N.Y; and two brothers, Charles (Marcheta) Vanlandingham of Milton and Frank (Genia) Vanlandingham of Geneva.

The family asked in lieu of flowers, for donations to be made to the Abernathy Park Fund, P.O. Box 632, Flomaton, Ala. 36441.