Moonlight on the Bay to honor Dr. Rutherford
By Echo Staff
Aug 13, 2014, 08:51
Geraldine and J.D. Rutherford
The First Family of Health Care in Hancock County will be in the spotlight to celebrate family patriarch and retired physician Dr. J.D. Rutherford III at the 18th Annual Moonlight on the Bay, on Sept. 5 at the Hollywood Casino Ballroom.
Dr. Rutherford began his work in medicine in the late sixties and practiced medicine over a period covering five decades. He began his career as a family practice physician, worked in the Emergency Department, and retired as a pathologist. He touched the lives of thousands of patients in Hancock County and the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
The Rutherford family has a long history in Hancock County and family members have long been active in health care throughout the hospital’s history as a county-owned facility. Dr. Rutherford’s father, “Big John” Rutherford, was one of the first members of the hospital’s Board of Trustees and he was the Moonlight gala’s first honoree when the event started back in the 1990s.
Dr. Rutherford’s daughter Julie is an ultrasound technologist in radiology at Hancock Medical and daughter-in-law Jami is a nurse practitioner at the newly opened “Family Medicine – Bay St. Louis” on the second floor of the hospital. Dr. Rutherford’s sister, Jeanie, was a one-time department director in Radiology and has been a member of the Hancock Medical Center Foundation Board since she retired.
J.D. and his wife Geraldine will celebrate 48 years of marriage on Aug. 20. The Rutherfords have three children, Julie, Johnny and Jill.
Long-time nurse Virginia Kenny, manager of the Surgery Department at Hancock Medical, said Dr. Rutherford was as devoted as a physician can be to the practice of medicine.
“He was always there for anyone who needed help,” Kenny said. “We could call him anytime of the day or night if we needed something in surgery and he always responded with a smile. He treated everyone like family.”
Kenny said that Dr. Rutherford also spent time mentoring others.
“He was very knowledgeable and a terrific teacher,” she said. “He was very patient and kind with everyone he worked with.”
Helen Gaines, a nurse who works for ENT Ted Willis, M.D., remembers fondly working with Dr. Rutherford when she was a nurse starting out in the emergency department at Hancock Medical.
“Everyone loved working with Dr. Rutherford,” she said. “He was always available to help. If we had a question about anything, we knew we could call Dr. Rutherford anytime.”
Dr. Rutherford was chief of staff at Hancock Medical for three terms over his long career which began in 1970. He was on the teaching faculty at the University of Mississippi and Louisiana State University.
Many admirers of Dr. Rutherford will be on hand at Moonlight on the Bay to celebrate his health care legacy. Seats can be reserved for as low as $75 by calling (228) 467-8790. There are patron and non-patron rates and funds raised by the HMC Foundation will help purchase an important fetal monitoring system for the hospital. Moonlight on the Bay features a patron reception from 6-7 p.m., dinner at 7:30 p.m., the honoree program, a community-oriented silent auction, live music and more.
The HMC Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization that raises funds in support of the hospital, invites everyone to come out and celebrate Dr. Rutherford and the health care community in Hancock County.