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Bulloch County Black History Month 2024
The incredible legacy of the Clemons family
Dr. Amy Clemons, right, with sister and nurse practitioner Kimberly Clemons, left, and nurse practitioner Sibyl Kirkland lead Clemons Family Practice. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/file

The apples surely didn't fall far from these two trees — Dr. Thurman Clemons, MD, and his wife Ammie Clemons, RN.  Amazingly, all three daughters followed in their parents’ footsteps, each pursuing medical careers.  What a passel of professionals!

Originally from Cataula, Ga., the late Dr. Clemons graduated Valedictorian from Spencer High in Columbus, Ga.   In 1959, he graduated from Tuskegee Institute with Honors, obtaining a B.S. in Chemistry and Math.  After two years in the U. S. Army, in 1966, he graduated from Meharry Medical College. 

Historically, he is the second Black doctor employed in Bulloch County.  Beginning his career as the medical director for the Georgia Grace Nursing Home, Dr. Clemons became the first Black doctor to serve on staff at Bulloch Memorial Hospital (now East Georgia Regional Medical Center).  From 1987-1991 at Pecan Manor Nursing Home (now Westwood), he also served as medical director while running his own Clemons Family Practice from 1972-2009. 

Retiring in 2009 and slipping away in 2012, Dr. Clemons is remembered as a health field trailblazer. His accolades include Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Beta Chemical Society, and membership on both the Georgia Southern Foundation Board and the American Medical Association. As a philanthropist, he mentored high school youths, providing financial support when needed. With caring and diligence, he conducted community home health visits.  As a Dean Day Smith Award recipient, a NAACP Lifetime member, and deacon at St. Mary’s Missionary Baptist Church, he exuded professionalism and unfailing love. 

Dr. Thurman Clemons, MD, and his wife Ammie Clemons, RN

In fact, it was love that kept him in Bulloch County.  On Feb. 17, 1972, in Statesboro, Dr. Clemons married the registered nurse who won his heart, the late Ammie Milsap from Arcola, Miss., and for 40 years they shared the same vision, inspiring medically-inclined children.

His wife Ammie Clemons was a registered nurse.  In 1957, she graduated from Mound Bayou Consolidated High in Mississippi. Later, she attended Tennessee A & I State University, majoring in chemistry and taking pre-nursing courses.  As an alumna from Meharry Medical College, she earned her B.S. in Nursing.    

From 1962-1970, she worked as both director of Nursing and school nurse at Alcorn University.  In 1966, she received her certificate in College Health from the University of Colorado School of Nursing.  

In 1970, she worked as assistant director of Nursing for the Mound Bayou Community Hospital (now Taborian Hospital).  In 1971, Clemons came to Bulloch County, serving one year as a nursing consultant and later as a staff nurse at Bulloch Memorial Hospital.  

Also, she served as a nursing consultant and director of Nursing for the Georgia Grace Memorial Care Home.  Alongside her husband, she worked as both registered nurse and office manager at his private practice.

Passing at age 85, Ammie Clemons left a long range of accomplishments:  Founder of the Rural Southeast Georgia Black Nurses Association, member of Negro and Professional Women’s Club, Lifetime member of NAACP, service on the Statesboro Library Board, Girl Scouts of America Leader, and a dedicated Deaconess at St. Mary’s Missionary Baptist Church.  

As a beacon, she, along with Dr. Clemons, illuminated the pathway for their daughters.

The late Yvette Clemons

First came Tammy Yvette. Podiatry was her field. In 1991, she graduated from Statesboro High School with Honors. Next, in 1995, she graduated from Spelman College cum laude with her B.S in Biology. She was also a member of Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society.

Sadly, in 2000, at the young age of 27, her life ended. She was a senior at the Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine in Pennsylvania, and she was scheduled to graduate with her Class of 2001. Still, her headstone reminds us of her purpose. It reads: “Doctor of Podiatry.”  

Next, following in her mother’s footsteps is Kimberly Ann, FNP-BC, a board-certified nurse practitioner. A 1993 honor graduate from Statesboro High, she attended Xavier University of Louisiana, earning her B.S. in Psychology.  Counseling for a while, she later attended Georgia Southern University where she earned both her B.S. in Nursing and Master of Science in Nursing.

Kimberly Ann Clemons has received numerous honors and recognitions. First, she is a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and is currently a member of AAN (American Association of Nurses), AANC, Sigma Theta Tau, and the International Honor Society of Nursing.  She has received the Em Olivia Bevis Spirit of Nursing Award along with a Certificate in Interprofessional Collaboration for Multiple Chronic Conditions.  

Who prompted Kimberly Ann to become a nurse?  It was her mother who told her to “go back and get [your] RN!”  She admits, “I finally listened” and now adds — “I love it!”

Currently, she works alongside her sister Amy Dawn Clemons at Clemons Family Practice in Statesboro.  She is an “experienced primary care provider” and her interest lies in “treating and managing chronic medical conditions.”  

Like dad, like daughter!  Amy Dawn Clemons, MD, is the youngest daughter. The Statesboro High School Class of 1997 Valedictorian, she attended Spelman College, earning her B.S. in Science, and then she attended Morehouse School of Medicine. Her residency program was completed at the Memorial Health University Medical Center Family Medicine in Savannah.  In 2006, she received her Board certification.

Amy Dawn Clemons memberships include the American Academy of Family Physicians and the Medical Association of Georgia.  She has been practicing medicine for more than 21 years at both Amy Candler County Hospital and Victoria Family Practice. Her medical interests include hypertension (her father’s interest as well), diabetes mellitus, and hyperlipidemia; however, she is also involved in women’s heart and preventive medicine. 

She opened up Clemons Family Practice with her sister Kimberly Ann.  The practice officially opened Jan. 27, 2023, is a part of the Southeast Medical Group on 1555 Brampton Avenue. 

Both sisters advocate for the Black community and for their beloved patients since some patients were their dad’s. 

“It’s humbling,” Amy Clemons shared, giving God praise for their success.  Their practice “is the only one owned by Black women who are Georgia natives in Bulloch County.”  

For two generations, we have witnessed and benefitted from the Clemons’ service to our town. The sisters are now established. But wait! We have yet to see what path Kim’s Camille or Thurman’s Jasmin will take. Three generations? It could happen. It’s in their DNA, for sure.   

Yes, three peas in a Clemons pod, no four; count brother Thurman, Jr., in.  He was a Statesboro High School honor graduate and has a B.S. in Psychology, too. 

Wholeheartedly, they all agree that their parents would be “truly pleased” with their accomplishments and would “be happy that we’re carrying on.”  

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