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Grady County and the surrounding area is mourning the death of a beloved local physician.
Dr. Andrew (Andy) Dekle was killed Friday night, July 10, in a tragic accident at his Mitchell County farm.
Mitchell County Coroner Stedderick Thomas told The Messenger that Dr. Dekle was killed while mowing his pecan grove near the intersection of Spence Road and County Line Road around 7:30 p.m. Friday.
According to Coroner Thomas, Dr. Dekle apparently was knocked off his tractor by a tree limb and authorities were contacted by a passerby.
Dr. Dekle, 69, was pronounced dead at the scene.
A private family graveside service was held this week with the Rev. Marvin Snipes officiating.
A makeshift memorial was quickly established outside of his medical practice, Grady Primary Care, 235 First Ave. N.E., with patients and friends filling the porch of the building with flowers, balloons, and even written messages of condolence.
News of Dr. Dekle’s untimely death quickly spread on social media and soon the well wishes of his many patients and friends began to be posted and shared.
Comments shared on The Messenger website ranged from patients to former employees.
All of the posts, both to the newspaper and on social media, shared similar themes—that of a doctor who was accomplished and highly skilled, but compassionate and kind, as well.
“My prayers for his family, staff and all his patients including myself. My brother had a massive heart attack in 1985 and Dr. Dekle would not leave him all night until he was stable enough to be transferred to Tallahassee the following day. I could name so many other similar cases,” posted Evelyn Taylor.
Lew Hege posted on The Messenger website, “We are heartbroken. Dr. Dekle was a wonderful and caring man. The last patient he saw was Paula (Hege). And this tragedy occurred near our home. We loved Dr. Dekle and no words are sufficient to express our sorrow.”
“He took excellent care of my parents, Herbert and Hazel Logue, for many years. He and his staff were wonderful,” posted Debbie Logue Price.
Cathy Cook Abbot Sanders shared, “My prayers for Dr. Dekle’s family, staff and the many patients he helped through the years. He was one of the most knowledgeable and good hearted physicians I have ever known. I credit him for saving my eldest son’s life when my son was only 7 years old. Both of my sons and I are so sad at this tragic news. He will be missed.”
Glenda Temples, who formerly worked with Dr. Dekle, posted, “Dr. Dekle was an excellent physician. I worked with him several years in Bainbridge. His patients loved him. He will be missed by many. Prayers for his family and friends.”
These are just some of the many, many condolences shared, but are representative of them all.
He is survived by: his sons, Travis Dekle ( Kelley) of Athens; Brian Dekle (Katelyn) of Cairo; grandson, Butler Andrew Dekle of Athens; brothers, Mike Dekle of Meigs; Pat Dekle of Pelham and Cary Dekle of Cairo; and a sister, Jeri Couch of Calhoun, Ga.
Speaking on behalf of the family, his sister Jeri Dekle Couch said, ” In respect of the wishes of Dr. Andy Dekle, there will be no public funeral service. We can’t express our gratitude at the outpouring of love from the community. It’s a testament to the man he was. We know you mourn with us. The family encourages you to find a way to honor and memorialize him in your own way. Keep it simple. Just as he was. Listen to a John Denver song. Get outside and enjoy the beauty of south Georgia, gnats and all. But most importantly, do something kind for someone expecting nothing in return.”
A complete obituary for Dr. Dekle appears on Page A8 of this issue of The Messenger. Willis-Jamerson-Braswell Funeral Home of Pelham assisted the Dekle family with the funeral arrangements.