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Hospital leader, Lakeview Academy co-founder dies at 84

Services are scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday

POSTED: July 29, 2013 12:07 a.m.

A surgeon, former chief of staff at Northeast Georgia Medical Center and a co-founder of Lakeview Academy, Dr. Robert S. Tether Jr., died Wednesday. He was 84.

Tether practiced medicine for more than 25 years in the Gainesville area.

Born in Englewood, N.J., Tether was a graduate of the University of Oregon Medical School.

After medical school, he served in the U.S. Navy as a lieutenant commander, from 1962-1964.

Sheri Pouch, Tether’s daughter, said a friend from the Navy helped her father relocate to Gainesville. Once here, he began his work.

“Growing up, he always made time to spend with us, even though his work demanded a lot of his time” she said. “He loved people and took a genuine interest in them. Everyone loved him.

“He said, ‘If you don’t like something, don’t just complain about it. Come up with ideas on how to improve it,’” Pouch said. That explains why he helped start Lakeview Academy and why he was so active in the development of the hospital, she added.

“He loved the hospital experience and helping it grow,” she said. “He would help train nurses from Brenau University. He felt like he had to make a commitment to the community.”

Tether also started a practice with Dr. Robert H. Anderson, later adding Dr. Jim Leigh and Dr. Greg Delong. He retired from medicine in 1987.

According to Rusty Tether, Robert Tether’s son, Lakeview went from a dream to reality in 1971, after a meeting between several groups of parents. He said they wanted to form a new school that could give their kids a chance to be accepted into the college of their choice.

“My memories of my dad were to work hard,” Rusty Tether said. “It’s not about how much you take, but it is (about) how much (you) give. Dad appreciated integrity.

“The hours he would work were all over the board. He was all about family. He’d sleep for two hours, get up and play with us kids. My goal is to try and live in the same manner.”

Rusty Tether said two of his father’s passions were yard work and steam trains, the latter being the more prominent of the two.

“Dad loved old steam trains (sets). He had 50 locomotives,” he said. He built the trains in his spare time, and while he was on call for the hospital.

In December 2011, Northeast Georgia Medical dedicated Bob’s Trains, a train exhibit in the pediatric unit of the hospital. Rusty Tether said the family donated the trains to the hospital because they wanted to give back to the place his dad once worked for.

“By the grace of God he was able to be at the hospital for the dedication,” he said. “We wanted to do something to give back (to the community). It was the way we felt he would want to give back.”

Services for Tether are 11 a.m. Tuesday at Alta Vista Cemetery.


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