Cover photo for Dr. Roy Wesley Vandiver's Obituary
Dr. Roy Wesley Vandiver Profile Photo
1935 Dr. Roy 2020

Dr. Roy Wesley Vandiver

October 21, 1935 — April 15, 2020

Roy Wesley Vandiver, 84, of Decatur, GA lost his battle with cancer on Wednesday, April 15, 2020.

Roy was born in Edison, GA as the younger of two sons raised by a single, strong and loving mother Mildred Rogers Vandiver. Roy played basketball and baseball at Edison High School where he developed a lifelong passion for team sports. His love of serving others began at a young age working behind the fountain counter at Lane Drugstore. He maintained lifelong friendships, a deep empathy for others and small-town sensibilities from his childhood. He always liked to joke that if you were not in the top 10 of your class in his high school you were in trouble…because there were only 11 students in the class.

Roy attended Mercer University where he focused on premedical studies and was an active member of the Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity. His goal was to get accepted to medical school, so he concentrated on the pre-med classes he needed to make that happen. Although he lacked three classes necessary to get his undergraduate degree, due to his exemplary grades, Roy was accepted at the Medical College of Georgia and graduated in 1959. He continued his medical internship at Grady Memorial Hospital. While at Grady, Roy met Maureen Turner who was volunteering in the emergency room. They were married in 1961 and Maureen was his partner and confidant for 58 years. Upon completion of his internship, he and Maureen moved to Lubbock, Texas where Roy served in the U.S. Air Force for two years as captain and base physician at Reese Air Force Base. Leaving the Air Force in 1963, Roy moved on to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for his neurosurgical residency training where he also served as chief resident. In 1967, he returned to Georgia and joined Atlanta Neurosurgical Associates where he practiced neurosurgery for the next 32 years at Emory Decatur Hospital (then DeKalb General and later DeKalb Medical) and Eastside Medical Center.

While Dr. Vandiver touched countless lives as a neurosurgeon, his sense of service extended beyond his medical practice and he was extremely active in the broader medical community. He served DeKalb Medical in several leadership roles including chairman of the department of surgery (1984 – 1986) and chief of staff (1988 – 1990). Roy served as President of the DeKalb Medical Society (1986 – 1987), chairman of the Georgia Neurosurgical Society (1987 - 1992), member of the DeKalb Hospital Authority (1991 – 2006), president of Medical Association of Georgia (1993 – 1994) and chairman of the board for the American Medical Association Political Action Committee (2000-2002). In addition to these numerous official capacities, Roy was always willing to serve as a confidant and coach and touched countless lives, selflessly taking the time to listen and support others in times of need.

Upon retirement from neurosurgery in 1999, Dr. Vandiver started a new career as chairman of MagMutual Insurance Co., a physician-owned business in Atlanta that represents approximately 17,000 doctors. Roy served as a diligent steward of Mag Mutual until he retired for a second time in 2011. However, he still had unfinished goals. When he left Mercer University for medical school, he was three credits shy of a degree. In 2011 he reenrolled in Mercer and commuted from his home in Decatur to Macon taking classes in the Old Testament, the New Testament and Geology. The other students joked as he dutifully scribed his notes on a yellow legal pad while they tapped away on their laptops. Fifty-nine years after starting his journey, Roy proudly walked the aisle with his cap and gown as part of the Mercer University Class of 2012 and the school’s second oldest ever graduate. Upon graduation, Roy was quoted in The Macon Telegraph, “It was something I had started and had not completed,” he said. “I wanted to say I had graduated from Mercer.” Roy went on to serve on the College of Liberal Arts and Science Alumni Advisory Board.

While Roy was a dedicated professional, he will be most remembered by his commitment and love of his family and friends. He was the proud father of three sons and taught them the value of hard work, integrity and a sense of humor. He was always active in supporting their sports endeavors and served as team physician for Tucker High School Football (1972 -1986). He was an avid golfer and did his best to keep up with Maureen on the tennis court but had no illusions about her athletic superiority. He and Maureen loved traveling and saw much of the world together with a group of lifelong friends. Roy is survived by his wife Maureen; three sons; Mike (Denise) of Duluth, GA, Ross (Evelin) of San Jose, CA and Scott (Stacey) of Baltimore, MD; six grandchildren, Kylie, Nathan, Cole, Benjamin, Anna Lee and Colette and his devoted Boykin Spaniel, Snicket, who never left his side during the last few months of his life.

Due to the COVID-19 social distancing restrictions, a memorial service will be held to honor Roy and celebrate his life at a date in the near future. Roy and Maureen contributed generously to support cancer services at Emory Decatur Hospital and the reception area of the Diagnostic Breast Center was named in their honor. They also supported the Global Village Project at Decatur Presbyterian Church. In lieu of flowers, contributions to help support services provided at the Breast Center at Emory Decatur may be made to the DeKalb Medical - Oncology Fund www.supportmedicine.emory.edu/Vandiver and contributions to support the Global Village Project at www.globalvillageproject.org

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dr. Roy Wesley Vandiver, please visit our flower store.

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Church Service

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

Decatur Presbyterian Church

205 Sycamore Street, Decatur, GA 30030

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