By Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Employees at IMA-Tupelo don’t normally have office birthday parties, but they made an exception for Dr. Eugene M. Murphey III on Thursday when he turned 90.
They decorated their break room with Mardi Gras beads, an alligator head and plenty of purple, gold and green streamers in honor of the doctor who graduated from Tulane’s medical school in 1944.
The employees even had a Mardi Gras-style king’s crown for Murphey to wear at the party.
“We love him,” said Debbie Word, a certified X-ray technician at the Tupelo clinic. “He’s an amazing man. We learn something from him every day.”
Murphey has been practicing medicine for 60 years.
He was inspired by his grandfather, who was a doctor in Macon.
“I knew from an early age that I wanted to study medicine,” Murphey said. “I’ve never been sorry.”
Instead of retiring, he continues to work because he likes “just being with people.”
“Feeling like I’m helping some,” he said.
He was one of the founders of the IMA clinic, which the North Mississippi Medical Center later bought. The clinic specializes in internal medicine.
“I’ve seen the hospital grow from 500 beds to, what is it now, 700,” he said.
He’s cut back his working hours in his golden years, but he still works four days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the clinic.
“My health is still good,” Murphey said. “I passed my physical. I passed my psychological test.”
He spends his free time with Margaret Anne Murphey, his wife of 65 years. He’s also a member of the Southern Light Collaborative Photography Club, which kicked off its exhibit Thursday night at the Lee County Library.
He doesn’t have any plans to immediately retire, “unless they make me quit,” he said with a smile.
IMA employees like Jennifer Watts hope he sticks around for many more years.
“He’s like everybody’s pawpaw,” Watts said. “At our Christmas party, he sits next to the tree in the rocking chair and reads the Christmas story out of the Bible.”
Contact Carlie Kollath at (662) 678-1598 or firstname.lastname@example.org.