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SOUTHERN VIRGINIA REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER HONORS PRINCE, SQUIRE AND WALKER

EMPORIA, VA – Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center (SVRMC) recently held a dedication reception to formally name each of the three classrooms located within the facility after a founding member of the Greensville Memorial Hospital medical staff who also practiced at SVRMC.  On Sunday, January 25 2015, SVRMC unveiled markers in each classroom officially naming them The John S. Prince, Sr., MD Classroom, The Peter W. Squire, MD Classroom and The Thomas A. Walker, MD Classroom in the company of more than 100 family, friends and invited guests.

Those assembled were welcomed by Joseph D. Wilkins, Interim Chief Executive Officer at SVRMC.  He opened by thanking the honorees for their contributions to healthcare in Emporia/Greensville, and contemplated that SVRMC would not be in this community today were it not for visionaries such as themselves who were compelled to pursue the establishment of a hospital late in the 1950’s. 

After the welcoming address, a son of each of the honorees, all of whom followed their fathers into the practice of medicine, addressed the crowd with a brief history of his father’s education, military service, medical training and family stories about growing up with a physician father, and how that impacted their decisions to go into healthcare.

John S. Prince, Jr., MD spoke of his father, John S. Prince, MD, who explained that his father never earned the Sr. behind his name until he, John Prince, Jr., came back to Emporia to practice medicine, and the office and hospital staff needed a way to distinguish one from the other.  At that time, they became Prince, Sr. and Prince, Jr.  Dr. Prince, Jr. said that his father was born and raised in Stony Creek.  In 1940, he entered Virginia Polytechnic Institute where he earned a starting position on the baseball team.  After the United States entered World War II, Dr. Prince, Sr. entered the Navy where he served until 1946 earning the rank of lieutenant.  He returned to Virginia Tech. for his post graduate and pre-medical training before entering the Medical College of Virginia where he earned his Doctor of Medicine and completed his internship.  In 1953, Dr. Prince and Dr. Peter Squire established a general private practice in Emporia, where they worked together until their retirement in August 2013. Dr. Prince was among the local physicians who spearheaded the initiative for a hospital in the community.  Through his efforts, in part, Greensville Memorial Hospital opened its doors in 1961.  Dr. Prince was a Charter Member of the GMH Medical Staff and served three terms as Chief of Staff.  After the hospital moved in 2003, he continued as an active member of the medical staff.  Dr. Prince had been married the former Jane Holland for 60 years, and together they have four children and five grandchildren. 

R. Hall Squire, MD began his remarks by saying that Peter W. Squire, MD is affectionately known by, pretty much everyone including his patients, as Peter.  He went on to say that his dad was born in 1926 in Fairmont, West Virginia.  His family moved to Greensville County, Virginia when he was five years old, and he attended and graduated from Greensville County High School where he was the President of his class during both is Junior and Senior years.  In 1943, he entered Hampden Sydney College where he was captain of the football team and a member of Theta Chi Fraternity.  During World War II, Dr. Squire earned the rank of Ensign in the Amphibious Forces Pacific Theater, and continued to support the war effort as a member of the U.S. Naval Reserve after returning to Hampden Sydney in 1946.  In 1948, Dr. Squire began his medical school training at the Medical College of Virginia where he later received his Doctor of Medicine.  After completing his internship at Stuart Circle Hospital in 1953, Dr. Squire joined Dr. John Prince, Sr. in opening Prince Squire Medical Center.  At that time, Family Practice was not an officially recognized ‘specialty’.  Doctors who provided general care were called General Practitioners and there was no Board that governed these providers.  In 1969, The American Board of Family Practice was born and officially recognized as the 20th primary medical specialty.  Having met the requirements to sit for this Board during his training, Dr. Squire successfully completed and earned his status as a Diplomat of the American Board of Family Practice in 1971, eighteen years after completing his medical training.  When GMH opened its doors in 1961, Dr. Squire was a founding member of the medical staff and the hospital’s first ever Chief of Staff.  Dr. Squire made the transition to the SVRMC medical staff in 2003.  Dr. Squire and his wife, Nancy, married in 1953 and have four sons and ten grandchildren.

Tributes to the honorees were concluded by Stephen T. Walker, MD, son of Thomas A. Walker MD.  Dr. Stephen Walker said that his father was born and raised on a tobacco farm in Mecklenburg County, VA.  His first job was as a clerk at the five and dime.  Times being what they were, he used the income from this job to pay his way to Lynchburg College and to get back and forth, he hitch hiked.  In his final year at Lynchburg College, his boss at the five and dime encouraged him to pursue a career in medicine.  Knowing that Dr. Walker did not have the financial means continue his education, his boss offered to co-signed Dr. Walker’s student loans so that he could attend medical school.  This being resolved, Dr. Walker then faced his final semester crammed with the usual courses along with all the required course work needed to be eligible to attend medical school the following year.  He persevered and graduated Lynchburg College in 1953 where he received the highest alumni award, the T. Gibson Hobbs Memorial Award for service to church, community and alma mater.  Dr. Walker attended Medical College of Virginia, where he completed his medical school education in 1957 and his internship in 1958.  His first practice after completing this training was in Stony Creek, VA.  In March of 1961, Dr. Walker received an invitation from J. B. Kiser, MD to join the medical staff of Greensville Memorial Hospital.  He joined a practice in Emporia with J. B. Adams, MD and Avis Adams, MD, and later helped form Emporia Medical Associated where he practiced until his retirement in December of 2012.  Like his peer, Dr. Walker continued to be a vital member of the medical staff of Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center for the remainder of his career.   Dr. Walker and his wife, Barbara, have two daughters and one son, all of which followed their father into the medical field, and five grandchildren. 

In closing, Joe Wilkins thanked the three honorees for their contributions to healthcare in the community, as well as the active roles they each have played in their families, churches and various volunteer organizations.  Those assembled were invited to share refreshments and join Southern Virginia Regional Medical Center in celebrating these great men.

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