Dr. Paul Veal was a huge male in every sense of the word.
At 6-foot-6, with “hands as huge as hubcaps,” as one good friend put it, Veal's imposing presence was allayed by a gentleness, a boundless optimism and a sweet taste of spirit that endeared him to everybody he fulfilled, including the numerous variety of clients he saw during his 34 years as a chiropractic practitioner, where patients often became good friends.
“I would embrace my back, however leave his workplace influenced and encouraged,” said Jabari Edwards, who first met Veal when he was a high school colleague of Veal's boy, Chico, at Caldwell High School in the late 1980s. “You walked into his office and he ‘d smile and say, ‘Hey, Kemosabe! It's a great day to be alive. Now, how can I assist you?' I never satisfied anybody as favorable as Dr. Veal.”
Veal, 63, died Thursday from what his wife of 40 years, Dianne Veal, believes were problems from COVID-19.
“He got sick the very first of July and went into the medical facility on July 12 with COVID,” she said. “He had cycled through it, however he had problems with his lungs– pneumonia in both lungs– and had problems breathing. I consider him to be a COVID victim. He had actually constantly remained in good health before.”
As word of Veal's death began to circulate Friday early morning, associates, patients and buddies struggled to limit their sorrow as they discussed a big man who leaves behind an even bigger void.
“I'm in a state of shock, just sad,” said Dr. Susie Johnson of Chiropractic Health Center in Columbus. “I've been in practice for 23 years, however I knew Dr. Paul even prior to that through my daddy, who was likewise a chiropractic physician. He was a huge old teddy bear, huge and soft and sweet and nice.”
Dr. David Allen, of Allen Chiropractic in Starkville, satisfied Veal in 1995, and the two frequently referred clients to each other.
“One of his clients would be available in and state Dr. Veal had actually sent them,” Allen stated. “I ‘d state, ‘You mean that little person with the small hands?' He was big. I'm 6-4, 220 pounds, and he made me look small.
“He was an excellent chiropractic specialist and helped countless individuals,” Allen added. “He was extremely well thought of among chiropractors.”
His patients adored him, frequently becoming close friends.
That was true of Wil Colom, who fulfilled Veal when the 2 males's kids were playing high school sports. Colom later on became a client and has actually been a pal that has covered more than 30 years.
“Paul was the kind of individual I constantly wished to be,” the Columbus attorney said. “He had a rare combination of perseverance and persistence. He would see things through, no matter what. But in all the time I understood him, I was surprised at his persistence. I've never ever seen him raise his voice, never ever saw him angry.
“When my kid was playing ball with his child, you would see him at the games and he would be cheering for other kids just as much as he would be cheering for his own,” Colom included. “He was as patient with other kids as he was with his own. I never ever saw him be in a hurry with any person. I've never ever seen anybody as client as Paul.”
Although he might have overlooked others, Veal never ever used his physical stature or standing in the community to get his way, said Craig Morris, the Veals' pastor at Abundant Life Church.
“He didn't throw his weight around,” Morris said. “He had another sort of weight: the weight of character. That was what drew individuals to him. He didn't push people to get his method. People were drawn to him. He wasn't a casual church member. To me, he was a coach and a motivation. He was household.”
That Veal would succumb to COVID-19 is a sobering tip of the dangers of the virus. Unlike a number of the infection victims, Veal remained in good health and was healthy, playing basketball well into his 50s, often versus much more youthful guys.
“I personally remember him betting our community basketball I coached in (2015 and 2016),” Mayor Robert Smith stated in a declaration. “The name of our team was the Possum Town Trotters and the earnings from our video games benefited the American Cancer Society. He had a giant character and never sought the spotlight, but found pleasure in serving this neighborhood. As for me, I'll miss his relationship and assistance and the city of Columbus will miss out on the professional service that he gave with a personal touch.”
Veal and Colom bonded over the challenges both guys experienced maturing in rural Mississippi– Colom in Tippah County, Veal in Tunica County.
“I ‘d ask him how it was going and he ‘d laugh and state, ‘I kin to kint,' and I understood what that implied as a country young boy – working from ‘can' see to ‘can't' see,” Colom stated. “He actually grew up in some horrible conditions, in an age where absolutely nothing was assured to him and there were absolutely nothing but obstacles in his method. A lot of individuals can't conquer that, but he never ever let his circumstances beat him down.”
Another good friend, Dennis Irby, said Veal told him he was so bad that when he and Dianne were wed in 1979, he didn't have the fee to pay the pastor for the ceremony.
“He informed the pastor that if he ever got in a better position, he ‘d return and pay him,” Irby said. “The pastor stated not to worry about it. Paul always remembered it, however. Years later, he looked up the pastor and found out he was in the Atlanta area. So Paul and Dianne drove over to his house. The pastor didn't remember him, however Paul informed him about how he couldn't pay him. He paid the pastor the cost and a lot more.
“When he informed me that story, it just struck me that it was just like Paul,” he added. “He was a male of his word. If he told you something, he would follow through.”
A traveler and angler
Veal's escape from the crippling poverty came through signing up with the military, stated Dianne, who first met Paul when they were 2nd grade.
“He was in the Air Force and when he went out, he applied for pharmacy school at Ole Miss,” she said. “But he fulfilled a chiropractic specialist and decided that was something he wished to pursue.”
After his chiropractor training, the Veals transferred to Columbus in 1986, taking control of a practice on Gardner Boulevard.
“He had these big hands, however he put them on you gently,” Colom stated.
Colom, Veal and Irby became friends, often taking a trip together to Africa.
“South Africa, Tanzania, Ethiopia. Senegal,” Colom said, ticking off the locations the 3 guys went to. “The most moving minute was browsing the Gate of No Return, which is where slaves saw their last view of Africa as they were placed on the servant ships across the Atlantic. For the past numerous years, Paul was constantly discussing retiring. I asked him what he wished to do and he ‘d state he wished to travel. Travel and fish.”
A lot of interests took a rear seats to fishing, Colom said.
“He ‘d been down in the creek and the bugs would be swarming, snakes all over and he would not budge if the fishing was excellent,” Colom stated. “I was talking with Dianne one time and she said, ‘You know I don't worry about Paul leaving me for another female; I worry about him leaving me to fish.'”
That exaggeration was obvious, Colom stated.
“I doubt you'll ever satisfy a better, more gorgeous couple,” Colom stated. “Every time you saw them together, it was apparent how much they enjoyed each other. He enjoyed Dianne, loved his kids and liked his pals. We'll all miss him. I believe the whole neighborhood will miss him. He really was a mild giant.”