Dr. George Vaiden Roberson, Jr., M.D., FACS, 77, passed away Wednesday, May 22, 2013, at home. He was born on February 17, 1936 in Jonesboro, Arkansas to George Vaiden Roberson and Juanita Pitts Roberson. He is preceded in death by his parents and Robert Dunn of Pine Bluff. He is survived by his wife of 32 years, Sara Davidson Roberson, and the following family: Scott and Tamara Roberson of Jonesboro and their children Drew and Ashley; Matthew Roberson of Jonesboro; Whitley and Wendy Dunn of Fayetteville and their children Lauren Grace and Jake; and, John and Grace Dunn of Rogers and their children Simone, Luke and Veronica.
Dr. Roberson spent his early years playing football and basketball with summers at Scout Camp, first as a camper then as a counselor. He achieved the designation of Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts of America and was later inducted as the first Vigil Member of the Order of the Arrow in Arkansas. He was the last living member of the original group of Vigil Members of the Order of the Arrow in Arkansas.
Dr. Roberson graduated from Jonesboro High School in 1954. He attended college at Arkansas State University from 1954 to 1958 where he was a member of the ROTC. In September 1961, he graduated from medical school at the University of Tennessee where he was the first in his class and a member of the AOA Honor Society. He completed his internship at City of Memphis Hospital on September 30, 1962. He conducted his residency at St. Johns Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma from October 1, 1962 to June 30, 1963 and the University of Tennessee at City of Memphis Hospital from July 1, 1963 through June 30, 1967. In July 1967, he moved to Pine Bluff, Ark., where he practiced general, thoracic, and vascular surgery, including laparoscopic and endoscopic surgery for approximately forty-five years.
Dr. Roberson was a Diplomate of the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Quality Assurance and Utilization Review. In addition, he was a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, Member of the Southwestern Surgical Congress and Southern Medical Association, and an Associate Professor of Surgery for the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences (UAMS).
He served on the medical staff at Jefferson Regional Medical Center (JRMC) from 1967 through 2013. During his tenure he held numerous leadership positions. From 1988 through 1990 he was Chief of Staff and as such served on the Board of Directors. He was later elected to the Board of Directors, serving for 12 years from 1999 through 2011. Throughout his career at JRMC, he lent his expertise to many and served on various committees such as Credentialing, Quality Assurance, Utilization Review, Surgery Control, Corporate Compliance, Performance Improvement and Risk Management. In 2008, he was appointed JRMC’s Medical Director and served in that capacity until April 30, 2013.
Dr. Roberson’s service was not limited to JRMC. He was a member of the Founding Committee of Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care (AFMC) in 1972 and served on its Board of Directors from 1980 through 1988, where he served as Chairman of the Board from 1984 through 1988. He was president of the Jefferson County Medical Society from 1974 through 1976. In 1986 he served on the Founding Committee of Arkansas Preferred Provider Organization (APPO) and as a member of its Board of Directors from 1987 through 1988. From 1992 through 1998 he served on the Board of Directors for the Area Agency on Aging Hospice, where he also served as Medical Director during the same time period. Dr. Roberson also served as Medical Director for Hospice Home Care of Pine Bluff from 1998 through 2011.
Over the years, Dr. Roberson developed an expertise in the areas of quality assurance, utilization management and medical review. He served in the Medical Services Review Section of Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield in the 1980’s and for over two decades provided similar professional review services for AFMC and Arkansas Medicaid. He also authored many articles throughout his career, which were published in various professional journals. Throughout Southeast Arkansas he was noted for his weekly column in the Pine Bluff Commercial where he provided medical information on topics of importance to its readers. He started this column in 1988 and wrote articles for over 20 years. He was an early pioneer in this area, before medical information was commonly provided in newspapers, magazines and other periodicals. He loved to share his knowledge with people throughout the community and was a frequent presenter at community and civic organizations. While Pine Bluff, Arkansas was home to his surgical medical practice, Dr. Roberson was also licensed to practice medicine in Tennessee, North Carolina and Oklahoma.
Graveside services will be 11:00 Friday, May 24, 2013 at Oaklawn Cemetery in Jonesboro with Reverend Pam Estes officiating and Emerson Funeral Home in charge of arrangements. A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 30, 2013 at Lakeside Methodist Church, Pine Bluff, Ark. To sign an online guestbook, go to emersonfuneralhome.com.