Sara Mayhew (left) and Mary Catherine Moree, M.D., pose with a
donated portrait of longtime family physician John Vetter, M.D.
ROCKINGHAM — John Stanley Vetter, M.D., served the health care needs of generations of Richmond County residents from 1957 until his death in 2009. To honor the time and talents he gave to improving the health of the community during his time in Richmond County, his family has donated a portrait of Dr. Vetter to FirstHealth of the Carolinas.
“He gave so much of himself and to others during his practice of medicine in Richmond County,” said Sara Mayhew, Dr. Vetter’s daughter. “My sister, Martha Vetter, and I decided there’s no better place to display his portrait than in the FirstHealth family medicine clinic, since my dad started that clinic many years ago as Richmond Medical Center.”
The portrait of Dr. Vetter was painted in 1993 and is an illustration of the physician standing at his desk in his medical office. “I think the painting is a very good likeness of my dad,” said Mayhew. “Our family photos and many of his books are displayed in the background within the portrait.”
Following her dad’s death in 2009 and her mom’s in 2010, the portrait has been in Mayhew’s home in Boone, N.C. “I’ve had a hard time deciding the best place for Daddy’s portrait, and then I had the idea that FirstHealth may want to have it,” she said. “I’m very excited to have it displayed at an office where my dad worked for a long time.”
The portrait is now on display in the lobby at FirstHealth Family Medicine in Rockingham. According to Mary Catherine Moree, M.D., who now practices at the family medicine clinic, patients have commented how much it means to them to have Dr. Vetter’s portrait in the office. Many patients who come to the clinic and their families were once cared for by Dr. Vetter.
It means a lot to Dr. Moree, too. Not only is Dr. Moree a former patient of Dr. Vetter’s, but she credits him for her decision to pursue a career in medicine.
“Dr. Vetter was my mom’s physician, and he took care of me when I was a child,” she recalled. “He is the reason I chose to become a family medicine physician, and if I’m half the physician that Dr. Vetter was, then I will consider myself to have had a successful career.”
Dr. Vetter submitted a medical school letter of recommendation on Dr. Moree’s behalf. In it, he wrote:
“I have known Mary Catharine Knight since she was a small child. My association with her and her family includes being the family doctor for many years. She is extremely interested in the pursuit of medicine as a career, and I feel she is the type of person we so desperately need in the field of medicine. I feel she will be a very sympathetic, caring, knowledgeable physician.”
“Daddy was really good to help striving medical students,” said Mayhew. “It meant a lot to him. I’m sure he would be so pleased that Dr. Moree is now at FirstHealth Family Medicine. I’m so very pleased with how this has turned out.”
Dr. Moree said it is an honor to have the portrait in the office. “Dr. Vetter made such an impact on this community. This is and always will be Dr. Vetter’s office.”