In 1952 Stanley had a new doctor in town. Joseph Claude "Jake" Fesperman had finished his tour of
duty in the Navy during World War II and his educational requirements and settled in Stanley in 1952 to
practice medicine. He and his wife, the former Kathleen Trexler, were from Faith, North Carolina.
He was a pre-med student in Duke University when World War II began, and entered the U. S. Navy as
a pharmacist's mate from 1941 until 1946, After the war he completed his medical training at Bowman Gray
and was approached by some business people from Stanley to bring his medical practice here.
Dr. Fesperman was, like Dr. Weathers, a family physician, who handled all kinds of ailments and
delivered babies as well. For several years after he first arrived in Stanley he, too, made house
calls and brought
into the world around 2,500 babies. Fees for office visits in those days were $2 or $3 and he saw everyone in
the family from babies to grandparents.
His first office was on the corner of Thompson and West Chestnut Streets, but later in 1961 he moved
his office to West College Street where he had previously resided. The Fesperman family moved out on the
Lucia Road near the 1799 Rhyne house.
Dr. J. C. "Jake" and Kathleen Trexler Fesperman had two sons, Joseph Claude Fesperman, Jr. and
William Mark Fesperman. Son, Joe followed in his father's footsteps into the medical profession and has a
practice in North Wilkesboro, NC. Mark lives in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Bill Williams, with the Gastonia Gazette, grew up in Faith, NC with Dr. Fesperman and his First wife.
Kathleen. He once stated in an article in the Gazette, "Everybody in the Stanley area, and elsewhere, knows
what a Fine doctor Jake Fesperman is. He is good for the body, and he is good for the soul. Just to talk to him
Kathleen Fesperman died at age 41 on 27 February 1966.
Dr. Fesperman suffered some health problems which necessitated the amputation of one leg. He had by
this time married a second time - this time to Naomi Kirby Hoffman, a registered nurse. His medical practice
had waned and he was seeing a few patients in his home.
His caring manner, matter-of-fact way of dispensing advice, and his sense of humor all endeared him to
the people of Stanley. Because of their fondness for this doctor, the townspeople went all out to help him by
establishing a "Doc Fesperman Day" on May 20, 1977. Raffles and drawings were staged and money was
contributed privately to a fund which grew to over $15,000 for the beloved
doctor. Presented to Dr. Fesperman sometime later, through the Rescue
Squad, was a much needed wheelchair.
In 1988, after the death of Naomi, and further health problems,
his friends in town again held raffles and raised money to help with his
medical bills. At that time the Charlotte Observer of 23 Mar. 1988 quoted
Dr. Fesperman as saying, "they share life with you, just like I share with
them." It was also stated at that time "he'd be a richer man if he hadn't let
bills slide when patients were short on cash."
He was married a third time - to Jane Moore McCready.
Dr. Fesperman died on 7 October 1993 at
the age of 69 and is buried in Hillcrest Gardens Cemetery.
"Doc" Fesperman was the last of the old fashioned family doctors in
Stanley. He delivered many babies in the early days of his practice, and
continued to see them as patients up to and through their adult life.
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