George Poehlman-1963
Bio & Pictures from 40th Reunion
Update Christmas 2009
Back from Haiti January 29, 2010
Christmas 2012

Update New Year's 2015

George's deployment to Liberia with Heart to Heart International out of Lenexa, Kansas
Does Betty look like her granddaughter Lindley?



Betty & George Poehlman
Next Picture

 Our son Jon, his wife Mary Bennett, our daughter Christin Bellian, Betty & me, our grand-daughter Lindley and Christin's husband Ken Bellian.
Cameron, Christin and Ken's younger son is asleep in bed.

Biography – George Poehlman - February 10, 2003


After graduating from David H. Hickman H.S., I, along with several others from our class, did six months of active duty with the Army National Guard.  On return from Fort Gordon, Georgia, I traveled to India to spend six months with my parents who were working there through a University of Missouri exchange program.  Returning to Columbia in the summer of ’64, I began college in the Engineering School, graduating in the summer of ’68.  I married Betty Stout that September, two days before starting Medical School at the University of Missouri School of Medicine. Betty taught English at Hickman during my medical school years. I received my MD degree in 1973.

We then moved with our two children, Christin and Jon, and I began my training in Family Medicine in Fairfax, Virginia outside of Washington, DC.  Upon completion of residency, I returned to Columbia to join the faculty at the medical school where I stayed for two years.  In 1976, we returned to Virginia, to Leesburg, also just outside of Washington, DC, where I went into private practice and where Betty and I lived for sixteen years while raising our children.

In 1993, I left private practice and returned to teaching, joining the faculty at East Carolina University School of Medicine.  At ECU, I directed the Department of Family Medicine’s medical student teaching programs for two years, then directed their residency training program for four years.  In 1999, with both of our grown children married, Betty and I accepted positions with the Mission Service of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and were assigned to eighteen months at a small mission hospital in Embangweni, Malawi, in south central Africa.  I was one of two physicians serving a population of 100,000.  Betty and I became very involved in the battle against AIDS, starvation, and poverty in this extremely friendly but destitute country.  Since our return to the US, we have continued to work towards helping those we came to know in Malawi and have returned each year to provide continued guidance and support.

Back to North Carolina, I initially worked for a Community Health Center in the Sand Hills region of the state, but since we found that we spent almost every weekend traveling to our condominium on the Atlantic Ocean beach at Pine Knoll Shores, we decided in June to leave Southern Pines and live and work at the beach.  I am doing Urgent Care / Primary Care in an office in Cape Carteret, NC and in off time, Betty and I continue to travel and look for ways to carry on the work against AIDS and poverty in Africa. I’m also into fitness – biking, kayaking, swimming, whatever is physically demanding and out of doors.

Our two children are near us. Our daughter Christin, the mother of our two “gifted, if not talented” grandchildren, lives with her physician husband in Fayetteville, NC and our son, Jon, and his wife have just returned from a year in Africa where they conducted HIV/AIDS research for his dissertation in Medical Anthropology.

Though my Dad passed away in 1995, my Mom is still enjoying life in Kirksville, Missouri, near Joyce, my sister. Until last year, we still had a “home” to visit in Columbia. Since we no longer have ties to Columbia, we look forward, instead, to seeing friends and renewing relationships at the reunion in October of this year.



January 29, 2010

Hello, all,

First, it was wonderful to arrive home to lots of messages from friends and family. It was definitely unlike any other experience and we have lived in a fouth-world environment while in Malawi. This devastation and all its resulting problems is simply unfathomable – even when you have seen it first-hand. No people should have to endure so much human tragedy.

While I would like to say we served thousands while there, our team was only able to help one person at a time. Coordination problems were inevitable; supplies were limited; transportation was a nightmare; hunger and thirst existed; and suffering was immense. And, it will be like this for too long into the future. In fact, I wonder if it can ever be restored, and if restored, can it be done more safely to prevent a similar event?

A photo attached shows the very gifted team I worked with, including Dr. Jack Allison, Asheville; George Danenberg, RN, Texas; and Livio Valenti, on loan from his job in Cambodia from the UN. The nurses and an assistants came from St. Louis. All of us together made an effective team while working under the canopy of Grace Tabernacle Mission Home's church. Interestingly, in the course of the week there, I saw it develop from an enclosed church site of 33 acres to a tent city, expected to house 15,000. Now, at home, Google Earth allowed me look, first-hand, at the new community establishing itself at Grace -- tented roofs are evident.

I visited and saw the children at an orphanage, Ryan Epps Children's Home, founded by NC congregation at Horne United Methodist Church in Clayton. The children are living outdoors between two walls in a space about 20 by 40 feet. The church emailed yesterday that tents and supplies arrived there by way of a cargo plane on Wednesday. I am grateful for that effort as these children, and the additional almost million children separated from family, are truly vulnerable. And, the social services as well as human resource required to take care of them will be an ongoing cost to Haiti for years to come. (Photo of the kids is also attached.)

Regarding the work in the field, it was “making do”, at best. Betty apparently wrote of the young child intubated before being carried on to, actually, the ship Comfort. What she didn’t know to write is that when all had failed in getting a line into this child, anywhere on its body, I went for directing the line into bone marrow. That is not an easy procedure, ever, but I feel simple amazement that it was done under such circustance. Right now, I’ve asked some of my Army colleagues to attempt to learn his status, still aboard Comfort. As I was leaving, his father, from whom he was separated, came to me to ask his whereabouts and condition. I hope Charles lived. I will attach that photo, as well.

It was quite a week and I hope to return to Haiti sometime soon – with Betty going along to hold the babies, somewhere. As she said half-heartedly, I can’t teach this time [as there are no schools].

There is nothing much to work with in Haiti. Any chance for reconstruction of this nation and rebuilding of their society must come from others. I can’t even imagine how this will come about except to wonder, like always, if it is simply “one person, one school, one church, one home at a time”.

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers,


p.s. a couple of pictures of collapsed structures.  (Scroll Down)









Home for a 2012 North Carolina Christmas, George and I are doing well. We love our townhouse, we love Durham, and we love living close to family. But the year found us traveling almost as much as we were home . . . In January, we did an Eco-tour, sponsored by the Sister Communities of San Ramon, Nicaragua, whose parent organization is here in Durham. We stayed on a coffee plantation picking and processing alongside the workers. Next, we had a home-stay with a wonderful family in San Ramon. Fast friends forever, we hope we see the Matute family again. On to the countryside, including the city of Granada. all was made even more wonderful because my sister-in-law, Cathy Smaha from Denver, came along . . . George was away for the month of March doing a relief mission near the border of Kenya and Somalia. The United Nations HCR (high commission for refugees) has stations that assist with the migratory flow out of Somalia by providing transitional housing and food. George worked at the make-shift health center in Dadaab . . . We headed to Colorado the 1st of April, driving Miss Daisy, our granddog. Christin and family finally found a house that would work well for them and we arrived with Daisy just minutes after their moving van pulled out. We helped for a few days with the shoving of boxes and hanging of pictures, then met Jon and family for a week of Spring Break (second grader Nelle’s) skiing in Breckenridge. Of course, the Bellians drove over to Breckenridge to be with us, but they had already had their Boulder Break the week before . . . Home just two weeks after the long drive back to NC (including a stop or two in Missouri), we got that call that you hate to get, but this time as grandparents: Lindley had been in a very serious mountain biking accident with facial injuries, concussion, punctured lung, and broken back. Back to Boulder, it was hard seeing her have her 16th birthday in a hospital bed – but, guess what? She is doing great and doing everything a junior in high school does, including skiing . . . In June, George and I took our turn with Little George, having him for a couple of weeks while Mary Bennett did her Constraint Therapy camp management and Nelle did the camp . . . But, before the month was over, George headed to the border of Uganda and Congo doing another UNHCR stint, this time in Mbarara.. Not nearly as dangerous or deprived as the experience in March, he was glad to have helped with training of inexperienced local health centre workers . . . In July, Christin, Cam, and Lindley came to NC for Lindley’s previously scheduled 3-week stay at Duke TIP program. Yup! She did it and it was incredibly reassuring to all of us that she would be ready to head back to school in late August. Christin and Cam and Cam’s friend Eric from Boulder spent days at the beach house on Bald Head Island . . . On the 28th, we all headed back to Denver for the wedding of our niece, Sarah Stout to Kyle Hansen. It was a wonderful Colorado wedding and since we were there, why not do the Bicycle Tour of Colorado with grandson, Cameron, who has developed into a wonderful competitive road and cyclocross biker. He and George did 515 miles of road biking in 6 days. And, fast-breaking news is that he is one of five “stagiaires” picked up by Horizon Organic / Panache Development Cycling Team for the upcoming year. . . September provided another family gathering, this time in Charleston, for great-niece Lindsey Stout to marry Bill Lindquist of KC. (We loved the Missouri connection.) The family stayed together on the beach and enjoyed Little George’s 3rd birthday, our 44th anniversary and George’s 67th all the same weekend . . . October 4 we headed to Peru for the most amazing trip we have ever taken. We did a walking holiday with an outfit out of London – simply the best as it was well organized and included spending part of every day hiking. The photo on the card is day 10 of our 20 day holiday, taken in the Sacred Valley prior to our hike up to the Sun Gate outside Machu Picchu -- all of the trip was fabulous . . . We enjoyed Thanksgiving with Mary Bennett’s family in Greensboro and we are here for Christmas with the young Santa Believers!! . . . Then we head to Boulder to celebrate the Eve as well as Christin’s big day! . . . Back home, we’ll get our things together as we are headed to South Africa and Malawi on January 30th. While there, we will visit Lillian, the young girl that we and so many others have helped through medical school and residency (her last year in Capetown), and Reg, her doctor-husband, and son Uchdami George (yes, my George is required to pay for Uchi’s education as he bears George’s name); then we will go to Embangweni to assist Ishmael, the medical officer, so that he and his family can take leave. We are not raising funds for this trip but we will be walking the “path”. If anyone has an extra $20 bill for path money -- before we Americans fall off the cliff together -- be assured we will find the best opportunity to share your gift with another, as we have done in past years . . . In closing, enjoy your family and your community, be thankful for good health and available healthcare in this country, and wish for peace all over this world. Until we write our Christmas letter again.


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Vicki Vaught & Betty - Lindley

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