LITTLE MOUNTAIN — Following a career in medicine spanning roughly four decades, Dr. John Thompson has decided to hang up his stethoscope and retire — well, partially retire actually.
“I don’t know if I could retire 100 percent, unless forced to,” Thompson said.
Thompson has been practicing internal medicine in Newberry since the late 1970’s and has been at the Little Mountain Family Health Center for the past six years.
“I’ve enjoyed working down here, I really have,” he said. “You know for a small town it’s unusual to have this nice of a facility.”
Lauren Powell, a nurse practitioner at the clinic, has worked with Thompson for the past two years and described him as relaxed and knowledgeable.
“He is an amazing colleague and mentor,” she said.
Powell said she was inspired by Thompson’s compassion and respect for each patient he saw – no matter who or how difficult they were.
“We’re going to miss him tremendously,” she said.
Newberry County Memorial Hospital CEO Bruce Baldwin likewise spoke highly of Thompson, saying he is “a gentleman, he is a giver, he is dedicated to his patients and he’s very well respected by the medical community as well as the local community.”
Thompson attended medical school at George Washington University and went on to specialize in internal medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.
When it was time for Thompson to begin practicing, he and his wife, Carol, had a decision to make.
Thomson grew up in Tennessee and Carol was from Virginia and they were unsure where they wanted to settle down.
“We thought about it and said, ‘South Carolina, we like it here. Let’s stay here,’” Thompson said.
Knowing they didn’t want to stay on the coast they set out looking for a small town and Newberry just “clicked.”
“We always said we didn’t want to live anywhere that didn’t have a college,” he said. “A college makes a big difference – arts, athletics, that type of thing.”
Another major draw was the fact that just a year prior Newberry had built a new hospital that happened to have a need for internal medicine, Thompson’s field of expertise.
In 1978 he opened an office behind the hospital and practiced there until 2010.
“I decided I wanted to slow down a little bit,” he said. “I was looking for the chance to kind of ease back a little bit from a 60-hour week to maybe a 30-hour week.”
And though Thompson is now handing over the reins of the Little Mountain practice to Dr. Michelle Archer, he’ll still be spending a few hours each week at the hospital and said he may contribute some of his time at Newberry’s free clinic as well.
As for what he plans to do in his semi-retirement, Thompson said he plans to exercise more frequently and maybe even take up golf.
And he said he and Carol will spend time traveling – mainly to North Carolina and Greenville to visit their grand kids.
Additionally Thompson has served as a judge for the competition circuit of the South Carolina Barbecue Association for the better part of the last decade.
He said being a judge has given him a greater appreciation for barbecue as a whole but has also made it harder to just go to barbecue restaurants after tasting the meticulously crafted fare entered into competitions.
And naturally the top-question on the minds of all the barbecue aficionados out there reading this is mustard, tomato or vinegar base?
“I like mustard-base barbecue,” Thompson said.
Reach Carson Lambert at 803-276-0625, ext. 1868, or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.