Skip to main content

Doc Hellams

Dr. James W. Hellams, Sr.

James W. Hellams, Sr

James W. Hellams, Sr

A Tribute To Dr. James Willams Hellams, Sr.

Update: This article was written in 2010. Doc passed away June 29, 2018. Our family cherishes all our fun memories with this very special man. He was a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, friend and doctor and is missed by many


2010 marked the 50th year that Dr. James W. Hellams (known simply as "Doc") has given medical treatment to the folks in the Pendleton Area of South Carolina. He retired (January 2013) from working two days a week at the Anderson County Detention Center and was working at his small office at the Pendleton Fire Department three mornings a week. Doc turned 83 years old in June 2014 and due to health issues, he had to close this office May 2014. He will miss going to the office and seeing his patients because he loves doctoring - that is what he does - that is who he is. Doc is most appreciative of all his patients and wishes them a healthy future.

Doc, This Is Your Life!

The Photographs and Information on this page are the property of the Hellams Family and are not to be copied in any way. Thank you.

Photo Credit: This intro photograph was made as part of his being the Medical Director for the Anderson Co Sheriff's Office Detention Center

Young Jimmy Hellams

Jimmy Hellams - Doc as a boy

Jimmy Hellams - Doc as a boy

Little Jimmy Hellams

from Gray Court, South Carolina

Little Jimmy" was born in the Dials Community Route 1, Gray Court, South Carolina. He grew up in the 1930s and 1940s in this close knit community made up of mostly kinfolk. His family was very active in Dials United Methodist Church and he attended grades 1 - 11 at Gray Court-Owings School. The 12th Grade was added for the first time in 1948, therefore he had the option to go on to college rather than the 12th grade. He jokingly says that he never graduated from high school. From these early years he never envisioned being anything other than a rural family doctor. He was very encouraged by Dr. Pace who was also the doctor that delivered him. Dr. Pace had a very positive influence on Jimmy. He always talked to Jimmy about being a doctor and kind of put him under his wings.Jimmy was the fourth child in a family of five with one older brother, two older sisters, and one younger sister. He was born in the family home five miles out of Gray Court. His dad was a farmer and during the depression he had a small grocery store that sold primarily meat that was raised on the farm. His mom stayed at home and worked on the farm and raised their family. Jimmy and all the Hellams children enjoyed dancing at Curry's Lake. He worked every summer packing peaches. In school he enjoyed all sports and also took 5 years of piano lessons.

Jim Hellams Graduates from Howard College - Birmingham, Alabama

Jim Hellams graduates from Howard College.  Doc entered Wofford out of high school and then transferred to Howard. He had a sister living in Birmingham at the time.

Jim Hellams graduates from Howard College. Doc entered Wofford out of high school and then transferred to Howard. He had a sister living in Birmingham at the time.

Jimmy Hellams Goes To College and Medical School

Jmmy attended Wofford College for one year and then transferred to Howard College (now Samford University) in Birmingham, Alabama. He graduated with a BS in Pre-Med. He was interviewed at the Medical University of South Carolina (known then as the Medical Collage) on July 4, 1952 and three days later was accepted and enrolled in September 1952. He always says that Medical School was the most fun of his educational years. He graduated in 1956 and had a rotating internship at the Medical University Hospitals. He was licensed to practice medicine or surgery in the state of South Carolina.The freshman class at the Medical University (college at that time) were herded into Baruch Auditorium for orientation. When the President of the college came in and stood before them, he said "Welcome to the Medical College. Look to your right. Look to your left. Probably one of you will not be here next year". They were then taken to the Gross Anatomy Lab and it was there that they were divided alphabetically into groups of 4. This group enjoyed being together at their 50th Reunion from MUSC in 2006. Their class marched in the graduation ceremony as the Golden Grads. The MUSC President issued them a Medallion and made the comment that when they were graduating in 1956, he was still in diapers.Photo: Jim Hellams Class of 56 MUSC

James W. Hellams MUSC Class of 56

Doc Hellams MUSC Class of 56

Doc Hellams MUSC Class of 56

Captain James W. Hellams

doc-hellams

Captain James W. Hellams, US Air Force

During his Junior year at MUSC, the draft had just been re-instated for the service. Rather than being drafted out of school, he enlisted as a Captain into the Air Force during his senior year and after his internship he completed his 2 year obligation to the Air Force. He served at Kadena Air Force Base on Okinawa and Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico.While at Holloman Air Force Base, he worked at the hospital on base as well as monitored the EKGs (Heart) on the chimps that were scheduled to go into space. However, there was no way that he could get anywhere near them as they were behind glass doors in somewhat sterile conditions.After 6 months at Halloman, he was released from Active Duty and was attached to a field hospital while on 20 years of inactive reserve. Upon being released, he practiced medicine in Fountain Inn, SC within 8 miles from where he grew up. He was still known as "Little Jimmy". He made sure that people knew that was no longer his proper name and that was when he became "Doc".

Doc Hellams Delivery at Pendleton Medical Clinic

Doc Hellams Delivery at Pendleton Medical Clinic

Doc to many in Pendleton SC

1960 to present

In May, 1960 Doc came to Pendleton SC to practice with his former Medical College roommate, Charles Griffin. They practiced together for 11 years. During those years, they did OBGYN, Family Practice and Minor Surgery and eventually they set up an outpatient delivery office in Pendleton. As far as he knows, they were the first in the area to deliver babies in the office. They both were available for deliveries with one giving the anesthesia and one doing the delivery. It was not uncommon to see over 70 patients a day plus make hospital rounds once a day.After 11 years with partnership practice, he went solo. He saw patients in his home until he moved into the St. Paul's Episcopal Church's Activity Building where he stayed until he built his own office which was located off of Mechanic Street. AnMed now has a family practice in that building."Doc" is now seeing his 5th generation of patients.

Scroll to Continue

5th Generation Patients Speak Out For Dr. Hellams - Ethan and Clay Barnette

Click the arrow to watch this video on this page or you can double click the video to be directed to YouTube where it will be larger but be sure to come back to this scroll down page. Thank you.I have to tell you that these young men brought tears to my eyes.

Papa Doc with his first grandchild

Portrait by Ammons Portrait Studio for their Angels in Pendleton window display

Portrait by Ammons Portrait Studio for their Angels in Pendleton window display

Doc Hellams Loves his family and friends

Doc and Nancy were married in 1978 at Pendleton Presbyterian Church. They both enjoy their family and friends and being involved in the Pendleton Community.During his 50 years in Pendleton SC, he has served on the Pendleton Town Council, Member of Pendleton United Methodist Church, Member of Pendleton Historic Foundation, Lifetime Member of Clemson Little Theatre, Member of Pendleton Golf Association (PGA), Delegate to Twin City in Stornoway, Scotland, Graduate of Leadership Pendleton, Member of Pendleton Merchants Guild, Member of Friends of the Park, Volunteer for the building of Barrett's Place Playground, Team Sponsor for Pendleton Recreation Association, First Golf Coach at Pendleton High School, Team Doctor for Pendleton High School Sports for several years, Clemson University IPTAY member since 1960, On site Doctor for the North Stands at Clemson University's Death Valley, and numerous other volunteer activities.Doc enjoys going to Clemson Tiger Ball Games, playing golf with our grandson, cooking, gardening, reading, eating breakfast at Granny's Grill and Dyar's Diner with friends, meeting friends at The Islander on Friday nights and living life to it's fullest.

Our Hellams Family

doc-hellams

"M.D. Means My Daddy" Cross Stitch Made For Us - By My Sister, Joan4

Cross Stitch M.D. Means My Daddy for Doc Hellams - y sister made this cross stitch for us when our son was born. We just love it and it has hung in our Breakfast Nook for 30 years.

Cross Stitch M.D. Means My Daddy for Doc Hellams - y sister made this cross stitch for us when our son was born. We just love it and it has hung in our Breakfast Nook for 30 years.

Doc Enjoys Fishing! - He even lets me go with him sometime

Doc Hellams enjoys fishing

Doc Hellams enjoys fishing

This article appeared in the Spring 2010 Inside AnMed Health Magazine - A Conversation with Dr. James W. Hellams

Inside AnMed article Spring 2010

Inside AnMed article Spring 2010

My favorite part in this article is Doc's answer to the question about the perks to being in practice in the same town for 50 years. He answered that it was the friends he has made. How wonderful is that! Doc has always known that practicing medicine is about the people and for the people. He always wants his patients to be treated with respect and caring. He also realizes his responsibility to his community and the importance of giving back to a community that has supported him.

Mayor Randy Hayes Reads Proclamation - proclaiming September 7, 2010 as Doc Hellams Day in Pendleton SC

Doc Hellams Acceptance Speech - at Pendleton Town Council Meeting on September 7. 2010

PGA Tournament Sept 25, 2010 Award Presentations

Doc receives the "Rookie Award" - Pendleton Golf Association

The Pendleton Golf Association really knows how to put on a fun tournament and party. They presented awards to all the players and Doc received the Rookie Award. You see, Doc used to be a scratch golfer but hasn't played in years and only recently took the game back up again. It has been hard for him not to be playing as well as he used to but he still enjoys all the fellowship of this fun group.

Papa Doc helps grandson with his Science Project - Which cooks fastest? Rib eye or Sirloin Steak

Papa Doc said that the next time, our grandson would have to get his topic approved by him. We had steak for 5 meals while our grandson documented everything to discover that Rib eye cooked faster.

Papa Doc said that the next time, our grandson would have to get his topic approved by him. We had steak for 5 meals while our grandson documented everything to discover that Rib eye cooked faster.

Doc is the 2010 Official Tree Lighter for Pendleton SC - Tree Lighting Ceremony in Pendleton SC

Doc Hellams Official tree Lighter for Pendleton

Doc Hellams Official tree Lighter for Pendleton

Doc Hellams enjoys participating in the Christmas Cantata - at Pendleton United Methodist Church

Doc Hellams at Pendleton United Methodist Church Christmas Cantata 2010

Doc Hellams at Pendleton United Methodist Church Christmas Cantata 2010

Doc with Bruno at Pet Smart Puppy School - Bruno graduated December 20, 2010

Bruno at Puppy School

Bruno at Puppy School

Doc Hellams with Bruno in the back alley up town in Pendleton - Doc treats his friends with his special Egg Nog

doc and bruno

doc and bruno

Doc Hellams' Black Bag - has seen lots of doctoring in the last 50 years

Doc's Black Bag Doc has no desire to get a new bag. This is the only Black Bag that he has ever carried or will carry. Callout

Doc's Black Bag Doc has no desire to get a new bag. This is the only Black Bag that he has ever carried or will carry. Callout

Doc took a bad fall on December 29, 2010 breaking his shoulder - Friends and family continue to show their love for Doc with their prayers and good deeds. Thank

doc hellams and bruno

doc hellams and bruno

The 29th of December is a date we will long remember!

Simply told, it goes like this

No frills at all but you'll get the gist

Doc takes Bruno for a walk

Bruno was happy and did not balk

Doc held the leash and out the door they went

Bruno spotted "orange cat"and wasn't a gent!

Bruno leaped, Bruno ran

Forgetting the leash was in dad's hand

Doc went flying in the air

Confirming that "Life Ain't Fair"

An ambulance ride and surgery, too

One half Doc's body was black and blue!

Recuperating is not much fun

We'll be glad when this battle is won.

The prayers, the food, the cards and all

Have helped Doc mend from this bad fall

So, Thank you is what we want to say

And to wish you and yours a Wonderful Day!

Doc and Nancy

April 2011 Update: Doc has experienced many medical problems since this fall but is getting stronger every day and looking forward to returning to work when he is able.August 2011 Update: We opened the new office and Doc is loving practicing medicine again and seeing his patients.

What's Up Doc? - Wally Hampton and Doc Hellams decorate their table for the Spring Brunch Fundraiser

Spring Brunch Fundraiser Doc and Wally

Spring Brunch Fundraiser Doc and Wally

Doc's Table for Spring Brunch 2012 - His theme was Gone Fishing and he enjoyed having some of his friends at his table

Doc Hellams Spring Brunch Doc had an aquarium in the middle of his table and inside the tank was all kinds of fun fishing stuff including 2 live fish. He had fishing poles coming out of it with a big fish balloon rising able it. He had favors for his

Doc Hellams Spring Brunch Doc had an aquarium in the middle of his table and inside the tank was all kinds of fun fishing stuff including 2 live fish. He had fishing poles coming out of it with a big fish balloon rising able it. He had favors for his

Doc purchases a new Air Force cap at Patriots Point - and wears it proudly

doc hellams

doc hellams

Friends Wish Doc Hellams A Happy 80th Birthday at The Islander!

Friends Wish Doc Hellams A Happy Birthday at The Islander!

Friends Wish Doc Hellams A Happy Birthday at The Islander!

The Official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Sept 9, 2011 at 8 am - 108 S Depot Street in Pendleton SC - in the back of the Fire Department

Ribbon Cutting for James W. Hellams M.D. LLC

Ribbon Cutting for James W. Hellams M.D. LLC

Program for The Ribbon Cutting - Dr. Hellams Office - Sept 9, Friday, at 8 am

Program for Dr. Hellams Ribbon Cutting

Program for Dr. Hellams Ribbon Cutting

Candace Gillespie and Peggy Hotchkiss of the Medical University of South Carolina came to Doc's Ribbon Cutting - They presented him with a framed composite of t

Candace Gillespie and Peggy Hotchkiss of MUSC present Doc Hellams with a gift

Candace Gillespie and Peggy Hotchkiss of MUSC present Doc Hellams with a gift

2 of the gifts that Doc received for his 81st birthday!

Bruno is a daddy's boy

I ordered Doc a set of coasters with Bruno's picture on them and also a coffee mug. He really liked his birthday presents. He had to take his coffee mug with him to breakfast at Granny's Grill and show all his friends. I must say that I was extremely impressed with the quality of both Zazzle products which was good to know since I have a Zazzle Store.

A very special gift from our friends, Hevy and Joyce Mann

Joyce is such a talented artist and Doc was so touched by this painting of Bruno.

Thank you, Joyce and Hevy! Hevy is known for his Funnel Cakes, BlueTick Cola, and Boiled Peanuts among many other things.

Painting of our Bruno by Joyce Mann

Painting of Bruno Hellams by Joyce Mann

Painting of Bruno Hellams by Joyce Mann

Bruno Pillow for Doc's 82nd Birthday - Doc loves his Bruno Pillows

Bruno Pillow

Bruno Pillow

Doc Hellams in the Pendleton Scarecrow Contest - Doc didn't win but he is always a winner in my book

This year at the Fall Harvest Festival, they will announce the winner of the Pendleton Scarecrow Contest. Will you vote for Doc?Thank you to everyone who helped put the Doc Scarecrow together and hung.

This year at the Fall Harvest Festival, they will announce the winner of the Pendleton Scarecrow Contest. Will you vote for Doc?Thank you to everyone who helped put the Doc Scarecrow together and hung.

The Doc Hellams Scarecrow - Pendleton Scarecrow Contest

doc hellams

doc hellams

Doc Enjoying Trunk or Treat and the Chili Cook Off at PUMC - Doc entered the 2013 Chili Cook Off

He made a great pot of Chili but didn't win. That's ok. He had fun and it was for a great cause.

He made a great pot of Chili but didn't win. That's ok. He had fun and it was for a great cause.

Doc and Bruno solving the world's problems

bruno and doc

bruno and doc

Bruno says "Y'all Come Back!" - Bruno is a Daddy's Boy!

Bruno the bulldog

Bruno the bulldog

Thank you for visiting this story of Doc Hellams - Please sign the Guestbook to let him know you were here.

Loretta Swaney Hendricks on June 15, 2017:

Happy 86 Birthday Doc.

Wally hampton on June 15, 2017:

Love you and miss you doc ! I learned so much from you and four kindness in treating your patients. My years working with you were The BEST !!

Jonathan Gilbert on June 15, 2017:

Happy birthday doc!!

Emma Knight on June 15, 2017:

This is an excellent tribute to a wonderful man. I really enjoyed learning about my neighbor, Doc. Happy Birthay!!

Lorelei Cohen from Canada on March 30, 2015:

I really enjoyed scrolling through the pictures of your husband and his triumphs through the years (oh and of course of Bruno)!

Susanna Duffy from Melbourne Australia on March 28, 2014:

I love this tribute to a wonderful man. I feel as if I know him personally now

burntchestnut on August 18, 2013:

What a nice tribute!

anonymous on June 16, 2013:

Happy Belated Birthday Doc!

anonymous on June 16, 2013:

Happy birthday. Hope your special day was great and that this year will be even better.