It’s a family affair for new LaGrange doctor
LaGRANGE — It is an understatement when people say practicing medicine runs in the Major family – it practically courses through their veins.
Ralston Major said he knew as a young boy he would follow in his father’s, grandfather’s and uncle’s footsteps.
“My desire to go into medicine developed at a young age,” Major said. “My uncle Paul and my grandfather, whom we called ‘Papa Doc,’ I always saw the satisfaction of seeing them help their patients. As a young boy, I always wanted to be like my dad. I guess I never grew out of that.”
Dr. Cecil Major, Ralston’s grandfather, was a general practitioner with Clark Holder Clinic on Smith Street. He was known to see up to 100 patients a day, some even on Sunday mornings before church. He retired from the clinic in 2001 after 43 years.
Dr. Grant Major, Ralston’s dad, is a general surgeon and still practices medicine at Emory Clark Holder Clinic.
Ralston’s uncle, Dr. Paul Major, is a surgeon specializing in laparoscopic surgery at West Georgia Medical Center.
Ralston Major said he remembered making the announcement he would continue the family legacy at his graduation from LaGrange High School in 2002. He did it through song.
“It said, ‘I always do what my daddy said, looks like I’m going to Lipscomb (University) and going into pre-med,’” Major said. “Later, an older gentleman, who probably knew my grandfather, came up to me and shook my hand and said, ‘Son, we’re proud of you. You hurry and come back and take care of us.’ And that always stuck with me.”
The young Major continued the family tradition, as the the three men before him, and attended Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee, for his undergraduate studies. He then went on to the Medical College of Georgia for medical school.
When it came time to do his surgical residency, Ralston chose to go to Erlanger Health System in Chattanooga, Tennessee. It is the same hospital where his father, Grant, and uncle, Paul, did their residencies. Ralston said all three men were trained by the same chairman of the surgery department at Erlanger, a man named Phillip Burns.
“While very few people in LaGrange have ever heard of Dr. Burns, through his training he has impacted thousands of lives in Troup County over the last 26 years,” said Ralston.
The youngest Major said going to Erlanger also gave him the chance to pattern his medical training after his father’s career at the Emory Clinic at LaGrange.
“You can come here and be a general surgeon. You don’t have to be a specialist,” Ralston explained. “You can practice a variety of medicine and that, for me, was important.”
With a new career, title and family, Dr. Ralston Major has returned to LaGrange on June 22. He jumped in feet first into his first job as a general surgeon, working alongside his dad at Emory Clark Holder Clinic.
“I grew up here. I loved growing up here. It’s a nice town,” the young doctor said. “Coming back to practice in the same office with my dad is pretty cool … coming back here to LaGrange to help patients is like a dream come true for me.”
The two physicians will practice general surgeries: performing medical procedures that include surgeries on thyroids, breast and colon cancers, and colonoscopies.
Sadly, his grandfather will not get to see his sons and grandson working together in a field for which they all share a passion. Dr. Cecil Major passed away in 2003 from Alzheimer’s disease.
“It’s pretty amazing all the lives that have been touched, especially by my grandfather,” said Ralston. “He’d see at least 100 patients a day. I take a lot of pride in the legacy and reputation they’ve set over the years.”
Ralston added that while it is still very early in his career, he has no plans to leave LaGrange or the Emory clinic.
He and his wife, Amanda, have a daughter, Lilly Dale, 2, and are expecting their second child, a son, Grant Ralston Major III, in early August.
“I want to permanently live here and raise a family here,” he said. “I want to practice medicine here and practice with my dad and uncle for a very long time.”
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