After a remarkable 42-year career with George Regional Health System, Joyce Rutherford now plans to spend some well-deserved retirement time with her family. “I’m a little scared,” she admits, “I’ve worked all my life.” But she’s also looking forward to spending more quality time with her husband as well as her ailing mother.
“Joyce has been a very integral part of this health system and we are all grateful for her countless contributions to the hospital over the years,” states Greg Havard, CEO, George Regional Health System. “We invite the community to celebrate Joyce’s service to the community with a retirement reception in her honor.”
The reception is set for Thursday, October 1 at 2:00 p.m. in the George Regional Hospital Front Lobby.
Having dedicated her entire professional career to the community hospital and the town where she calls home, Joyce is a virtual history lesson on the hospital. And her ties to the hospital began even before she started her career here; she was also one of the first babies to be born at George County Hospital—as it was called then. “I tell people I was born here and just never left,” she laughs.
Currently the Lab Director at George Regional, Joyce began working in the lab while going to undergrad school at Perk (Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College-Perkinston Campus). All through high school she worked at a local pharmacy (Al’s Pharmacy) and thought she wanted to make Pharmacy her career choice. But her job in the lab changed her career goals. “I loved chemistry in high school, so ‘lab things’ really interested me,” she says.
After graduating from the University of Southern Mississippi, she came home and married Lucedale-native, John Rutherford. And after completing an internship at Singing River Hospital, she joined the George Regional family. “And it WAS truly a family. Everyone helped everyone else out—it didn’t matter if you worked in that department or not. If the ER was busy and the Lab wasn’t, I worked in the ER. Things are very different now. Not that it doesn’t have the family feel; the departments are just more specialized now,” she adds.
“I have seen many things changes over the past 40 years. Back then we were more extravagant—for lack of a better word. If a family was going on vacation and couldn’t take care of Grandma while they were gone, they would admit her to the hospital and we would take care of her,” she describes.
Technology changes have, of course, been the most dramatic. It’s allowed lab work to be completed more quickly and more accurately over the years. “We’ve been very fortunate to have great technology at this hospital. We’ve never been ‘behind’ the times, especially for the size of our facility,” she notes.
“This place has been a blessing to me,” Joyce expresses. And although I’m nervous about the change, I’m looking forward to taking better care of myself; taking some classes at the Wellness Center and traveling more. I see a trip to London in my future!”
A life-long resident of the Lucedale community, Joyce and her husband John have two sons, Matthew who is pursuing a medical degree and Russell who is a lawyer.