Killelea did all for everyone

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 17, 2009

With a wide smile, a brilliant mind and an incredibly large heart, Dr. Donald Killelea helped rear three generations of Natchez children.

His pediatrician work alone makes his life notable. Decades of soothing youngsters’ aches and pains and achieving a number of medical “firsts” in our small river city all prove Killelea’s impact on Natchez was great.

From creating Mississippi’s first neonatal intensive care unit to organizing the state’s first polio vaccine distribution, Killelea created cutting edge medicine. But he also shared his great knowledge as an instructor for decades at Tulane University’s Medical School.

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But Killelea wasn’t just a great doctor; he was a great husband, father and citizen of our community.

Reading his life’s accomplishments is a history of medical greatness, but it’s also peppered with amazing community projects, too.

As Killelea’s long-time friend, Richard Durkin said recently, “He’s done everything.”

And that’s far from an exaggeration.

He helped establish Pleasant Acre Day School as well as the Natchez Opera Festival. He has been involved in countless community events ranging from work with his church, St. Mary Basilica, to the Children’s Christmas Tree Fund.

Killelea was always willing to help a person or group in need and he was a truly one-of-a-kind man.

He will be missed here in Natchez, but his kind, caring ways and gentle manners will live on through the thousands of lives he’s touched.