It would seem that Jim Mobleys career course was set in place when he received a full scholarship in electrical engineering to Clemson University, but that was not to be. Along the way, his attention turned to medicine and caring for people instead of electrical systems, and that resulted in a career in family practice.
His education, military service, and medical practice have taken him many places – Frankfort, Germany; Tacoma, Washington; and Anchorage, Alaska, for example – but eventually brought him back home to an area where he feels as native as the pine tree. For 20 years now, he has practiced medicine in west Augusta and feels fortunate to be living and working near his family roots and having the privilege of caring for several generations of some families.
The only child of Thomas Mobley, a mill worker and part-time farmer, and his wife, Gerrell, a homemaker, of Anderson, S.C., Jim had always been a bright student. High school came easily to him, requiring little of his free time. So at age 14, he started working in the cotton mills in Anderson, where he says he learned a great deal about people.
Working in the mill gave Jim enough fun money to indulge his fascination with sports cars. I was infected with this bug in early childhood, he recalls. One of our neighbors had bought a new 1954 Corvette that I thought was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life. That began a lifelong love affair with automobiles that led him that led to his owning an array of sports cars, including Jaguars, Ferraris, MGs, Austin Healys, a Lotus, and a Dodge Viper. Not all at the same time, of course. Mostly sequential monogamy, he explains.
Restoring cars to their original splendor is a particular pleasure for Dr. Mobley. He has breathed life back into a 1932 Ford and a 1956 Corvette, and currently, is resurrecting a Triumph TR8. He says restoring cars involves problem solving, not totally unlike caring for patients who are sick. His hobby also creates opportunities for adventure. One of his all-time favorites was, as a young man in his late-20s, driving a light blue Ferrari from London to Naples across France, Germany, Austria and Italy.
After high school, Jim left his hometown for Clemson University, where he began his studies in electrical engineering. It was not until his junior year that he realized he was destined for medicine instead. The switch is not such a broad leap of interests as one might think. Medicine and engineering are both problem-solving disciplines, he explains. Many people in medicine have engineering backgrounds.
Having finished his medical education early at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, Dr. Mobley was midway through a pathology residency when he was called into active military service. Despite his training in pathology, the Army had another path in mind for him. They brought me in to be a general medicine officer, Dr. Mobley explains, and so he was. After serving in this capacity, Dr. Mobley had a change of heart. Pathology, the study of disease, is a broad, good background for family practice because family physicians have to know about disease processes in the entire body, he explains, but family practice enabled him to work with people, which he had come to enjoy immensely. He eventually completed a family practice residency at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Washington.
While in the Army, Dr. Mobley served as head of the largest emergency room in Europe in a military hospital there and provided emergency medical services to the Cuban boatlift people in 1980. He appreciates how his Army experiences broadened him as a physician. The Army Medical Corps at that time had very experienced people and I was able to do things that would be unimaginable in the private world, he says. It was an excellent extension of my education.
Eventually, young Dr. Mobleys service to the military brought him to Augusta to be a teacher in the family practice department at Fort Gordon. By this time, he was married and had two sons, Rhett and Tom, now aged 31 and 26, respectively. When he resigned from the Army in 1980, Dr. Mobley settled in Columbia County and set about establishing a family practice at a time when the area was much less developed, he recalls. I was probably the first residency-trained family physician on the staff of Doctors Hospital.
When Dr. Mobley says he built a practice in the Augusta community, he means not only growing a patient population but also building of the brick-and-mortar type. I am proud of having built two offices much of it with my own hands, he says. His first private practice office was in a house on Columbia Road which he extensively renovated. His second, where he practiced for 10 years, was an even greater challenge. I tore off the roof and added an upper story, he says, and also became proficient in hanging sheet rock and framing treatment rooms.
From his Washington Road private practice, Dr. Mobley next joined Paul Fischers practice group in 1995, where he continues to serve patients of his former private practice as well as newcomers. Describing it as the nicest working environment he has ever had, bar none, Dr. Mobley says, While I did not hammer a single nail on this one, I feel I have been a part of bringing the finest in primary care to this area, he says.
Dr. Mobleys life is a broad and colorful tapestry of experiences, but his conversation always comes back home and medicine. My greatest honor is the trust implied by caring for three to four generations of many Columbia County families and my greatest pleasure is being a part of my surroundings, he says. I will continue enjoying what I always have: I love my job and I love seeing patients