GREENEVILLE, TN – More than 75 people gathered for a special reunion Sunday of Takoma Adventist Hospital retirees and former employees.
The event was the brainchild of Fern Goodson, who retired in 1998 from Takoma after more than 33 years of service in the kitchen, central supply and physical therapy departments. She also worked as a courier.
“I just thought it would be fun to get everyone together,” Goodson said, noting that Mareta Corley, Jerri Fillers and Everett Coolidge helped plan the event.
The reunion, which featured a catered lunch and door prizes, was held in the small fellowship hall at Trinity United Methodist Church. Goodson welcomed the group. Carolyn Coolidge gave the invocation.
Several retirees recalled humorous stories from their careers at Takoma. Becky Babb, a former surgery nurse at the hospital, won a prize for sharing the funniest stories. She shared one story about a phone call she received from a patient wanting to schedule some medical tests. She asked the man what kind of tests, but he couldn’t remember. Finally, after struggling to recall, he said: “Oh yeah, I need to schedule an autopsy.” His wife, yelling in the background, screamed: “A biopsy, a biopsy!”
Everett Coolidge, a former administrator at Takoma and son of Dr. L.E. Coolidge, who was the founder of Takoma, gave a brief overview of the early history. He noted that his father, Dr. Coolidge, first came to Greeneville in 1925 with Dr. Harry Miller to perform day-long surgeries during three separate trips to a medical facility run by Mr. and Mrs. Roy Bowen. Dr. Coolidge moved here later that year.
By January of 1926, he had bought the facility and named it Takoma Park Sanitarium. Dr. Coolidge also formed a nursing school for registered nurses called the Takoma School.
When they built the new hospital at its current site in 1927, they started with 40 beds. The hospital, which officially opened in 1928, was called Takoma Hospital and Sanitarium.
In 1936, the hospital changed to non-profit status and built an addition known as the Sanitarium.
By 1948, the hospital had added on again, now featuring a total of 78 beds. Additions continued steadily at Takoma, up to present day, he said.
Door prizes were awarded at the conclusion of the reunion. Norman Draper, who used to work in the X-ray department at Takoma, won a prize for traveling the farthest – 300 miles from Springfield, Tenn.
Goodson thanked everyone for attending, and said that she hopes to host another one in five to ten years.