Dr. Clem Melton Doxey, founder of Marietta Dermatology & The Skin Cancer Center — one of the largest private practice dermatology groups in Georgia — has the caring heart of a physician. Though he retires from the practice today after 43 years, his love of medicine remains.
“Medicine is changing, but what’s not changing is the relationship you have. When you’re doing something good for somebody and they realize that and you realize that, it makes a bond and a relationship that’s tough — that’s really good,” Doxey said.
Doxey, a Louisiana native who received his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering as well as a medical degree from Louisiana State University, has enjoyed an esteemed career. After completing his internship at Oaknoll Naval Hospital, he graduated from Pensacola School of Medicine as a flight surgeon in 1963. He served in the First Marine Brigade in Vietnam. In 1970, he completed his dermatology residency at Tulane University.
Though Doxey had an offer to join the largest dermatology practice in Baton Rouge, his life took a turn when he came through Atlanta with his wife, Carolyn, while on vacation.
“I called my friend, (Dr.) Goodman Espy, who invited me to come to Marietta to visit,” Doxey said.
Espy introduced Doxey to Bill Smith of Little & Smith Inc., an insurance company.
“We talked to Goodman for five minutes, and Bill Smith grabbed us and gave Caroline and me a tour of Cobb County,” he said. “We were nice, but didn’t want any part of it.”
Following the tour, the Doxeys met Dr. Lou Fortson, who told Doxey that Cobb County was in serious need of a dermatologist. With the seed planted, the Doxeys discussed the potential opportunity throughout the remainder of their trip.
“I had an idealistic future that I had conceived to myself. I wanted to start a practice by myself. I wanted to run it by myself. I wanted to teach. All this was here in Marietta and that’s how we got here,” said Doxey, who taught residents at Emory University for 22 years.
Doxey came to Marietta knowing no one but Espy, and business was slow when he started practicing.
“I saw the handwriting on the wall in order to make a living. I had a whole family here to support,” Doxey said. His has three grown children — Cappy Gratwick, Melanie Speed and Dr. Clem Melton Doxey III and 10 grandchildren.
Doxey visited Dr. Bob Coggins of Coggins, Holiday & Mims who suggested that he go to Canton, Ellijay, Blue Ridge, Blairsville and Murphy and meet other area physicians.
“I did it. I met every one of those doctors. It took me three full days to do it,” he said.
Through the relationships he nurtured, Doxey grew his practice. In 1975, Dr. Paul Espy joined Doxey as his first partner, followed by Dr. Bob Harper in 1983.
The practice continued to expand and today has 11 doctors, seven practicing assistants and a total of 80 employees at three locations including Marietta, Canton and west Cobb. They are also partnered with Marietta Facial Plastic Surgery & Aesthetics Center.
Over his 43 years, Doxey has seen an average of between 40 to 50 patients per day for 4.5 days per week. His medical assistant has worked with him for 30 years.
Not only has he built lasting relationships with his patients, Doxey has earned the respect of his peers. Among his numerous accomplishments, Doxey is distinguished as one of the few dermatologists to hold the position of chief of staff of a major medical center. In 1986, Doxey served in that position at Kennestone Hospital.
Though he will miss the people, Doxey said he is looking forward to retiring.
His bucket list includes cleaning his office at home, playing golf, traveling, writing a history of the practice and enjoying his children and grandchildren.
“I have never hugged so many people as I have in the past six weeks. So many of these people I’ve been seeing for 40 years. I have loved every bit of it,” Doxey said.
To learn more about Marietta Dermatology visit mariettadermatologyassociates.com.