Dr. J. Tim Fulenwider's plan was always to succeed in life.
The 1967 Gainesville High graduate has always had big dreams.
He has seen them come to fruition.
For the Red Elephants, he flourished in football, wrestling and baseball.
However, his contribution to the school and medical community is where he’s made the biggest impact.
Tonight, Dr. Fulenwider will be inducted into the Gainesville Athletics Hall of Fame with a banquet at The Chair Factory in Gainesville.
“Sports gave me the incentive to win and the attitude of durability,” Dr. Fulenwider said.
Also being inducted are Patrick Hamilton, Stephanie (Yarem) Ransom, Billy Lothridge and Tommy Valentine. The Gainesville High three-peat baseball state championship teams from 1996-98 will receive team induction.
This is the class slated for recognition in 2020, but was pushed back one year, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Dr. Fulenwider’s medical expertise as a vascular surgeon positively impacted thousands of lives. Dr. Fulenwider permanently returned to Gainesville to practice medicine in 1995 and retired in 2016.
Over the years, Dr. Fulenwider graced the Gainesville sidelines as a faithful supporter and medical-services provider.
In 2016, the 72-year-old Fulenwider retired, but stays busy with gardening and spending time with family and friends.
“It gives me a feeling of success,” Dr. Fulenwider said. “Growing plants, spending time in the garden gives you the feeling of purpose and being successful.”
Dr. Fulenwider said he was pointed toward the medical field by an uncle, Dr. Brown McClendon, who was a successful surgeon in Alabama.
“He made a favorable impression on me,” said Dr. Fulenwider. “He was always real calm and cool.”
Being part of the winning tradition at Gainesville High gives Dr. Fulenwider plenty of pride.
It propelled him to achieve success academically.
He wants to leave today’s student-athletes with a message.
“Stay in school,” Dr. Fulenwider said. “Go as far as you can go. Prepare yourself for the future. Don’t short circuit your education because your job is going to depend on your level of your education.”