Nanticoke names road after Seaford's Dr. Jack Rawlins

By Lynn R. Parks

Sixty years ago, Nanticoke Health Services CEO Steve Rose said during a dedication of the newly-named Rawlins Drive, a quiet storm hit Seaford. That quiet storm was our own Jack Rawlins, the long-time physician for whom the street is named. Storms often leave behind a path of destruction, Rose added. But this storm left us with a lot of good things. Dr. Rawlins was a competent physician, a good family man and a good community leader, and he was instrumental in getting our hospital started. Naming this street for him is a good way to thank him and to keep him in our thoughts. Rawlins, 90, and his wife, June, 88, attended the dedication ceremony, held last Wednesday evening. Rawlins said that it was appropriate for the ceremony to be held in the hospitals Mears Campus facility, as his sixth-grade teacher, someone who inspired him to pursue higher education, was named Mrs. Mears. I think that what we have here is a combination of local talents, he said. The new Rawlins Drive winds through the Mears Campus, connecting alternate U.S. 13 and Herring Run Road. When [Seaford city manager] Dolores Slatcher called [Nanticoke senior vice president] Tom Brown to ask if we had any ideas for a name for the road, Tom said that he had the perfect idea, Rose said. Right away, he thought of Dr. Rawlins. Rawlins was born in Georgetown and moved with his family to Seaford when he was 9-years-old. He graduated from Seaford High School in 1939. He graduated from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1946 and returned to Delmarva, setting up a practice in Federalsburg, Md. He moved back to Seaford in 1952 to become one of the first physicians with Nanticoke Memorial Hospital, which was founded that same year.

Rawlins worked as a family physician in Seaford for more than 40 years. In 2005, he was inducted into the Nanticoke Health Services Physicians Hall of Fame. He and June have four sons, John Jr., Ron, Bill and Terry. Ron and Terry, with their families, were at the street dedication.

Also attending the ceremony was Rawlins niece Pat Shannon, Seaford. Shannon said that when she was a teenager and wondering what to do with her life, Rawlins, whose brother was her father, James, advised her to go to nursing school. She went to the school of nursing at Milford Memorial Hospital and when she returned to Seaford, went to work at Nanticoke Memorial. She also worked part-time at her uncles office. In the last few years of his practice, she worked there full-time. He was a wonderful doctor, she said. His patients loved him.

Shannon said that Rawlins could do all kinds of treatment. Many times, Ive seen him get a call in his office, leave to go deliver a baby and then come back to the office to resume seeing patients again, she said. Nanticoke board chairman Kent Peterson, whose father, Oscar, also graduated from Seaford High in 1939, said that he grew up just blocks away from the Rawlins family. Visiting them, I realized how Dr. Rawlins life was geared around his patients, he said. When patients needed him, Dr. Rawlins was up and on the road. Peterson also praised June Rawlins. What a partner, he said. She kept those four boys straight, and that wasnt the easiest job at times.

I thank you both, Peterson added. I thank you for all you've done for the city of Seaford and for Nanticoke Health Services. We are a better place as a result of it.

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