Rucker and Nettie Staggers

Meet your Neighbors, Nettie and Rucker Staggers, M.D. (retired)

Nettie Simpson Mayo was in 9th grade and Rucker Staggers was in 10th when they met in Latin class at high school in Selma, Alabama. After graduation from high school in 1948, Rucker enlisted in the U. S. Army for a one year tour of duty. The two had dated others during the high school years, but upon his discharge from the Army in 1951, Rucker decided it was time to settle down, and Nettie Mayo became Mrs. Nettie Staggers! The duty assignments while in the Army put Rucker in the motor pool at Camp Hood before it became a fort, where he excelled as an expert in military transportation. Later at Auburn he took advanced ROTC and became a 2nd Lieutenant in Field Artillery. After one year in active Reserve he was put Inactive Reserve due to medical requirements.

Rucker’s aspiration to become a doctor was influenced by his family for several generations. His great, great grandfather practiced medicine in Massachusetts, and Rucker’s father was an eye, ear, nose and throat specialist in Benton, Alabama. Rucker’s grandfather on his mother’s side of the family was also a physician.

Rucker and Nettie both graduated from Auburn University in 1953, and Rucker was assigned to an Army Reserve unit in Opelika, Alabama where he completed his duty assignment in 5 years, separating from the military with the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. Soon after, Rucker enrolled at the Medical College of Alabama, Birmingham, and completed medical school in 1957, which included an internship at Carroway Methodist Medial Center, Birmingham. Rucker’s goal was to serve the rural communities as a Family Practice specialist. He developed that skill and knowledge while working for his father for 4 years in Benton. His reputation as a highly skilled “Family Doc” led to him Eutaw, Alabama to practice family medicine, and as a staff physician at the local hospital. He and Nettie built their home across the street from the hospital, as his practice included “birthing babies” at all hours of the day and night. Rucker’s most challenging delivery was in the back seat of a Volkswagen, the most memorable of the 1,500 to 2,000 babies that he has delivered in his 50 year career!

The Staggers had visited the Gulf Shores/ Orange Beach resorts over the years, but had no knowledge of the Josephine Metropolis. Charles Lokey was a friend and dental practitioner whose wife had passed away. Charles inquired about the Staggers interest in the “glorified fish camp” that was for sale, and they traveled to the shores of Perdido Bay, and quickly developed a positive interest in the waterfront dwelling…that needed a LOT OF WORK! Leaving the Eutaw Family Practice Program was not easy, as Rucker enjoyed the challenges of a rural medical practice, and close friendships built during that time frame. He was involved in College of Community Health Sciences, and received honors and awards for support of the medical community in Eutaw and Alabama statewide. But he decided to retire in 1998, although he kept his license active for some time.

The Staggers moved to Josephine in December 1998, and set upon renovation of their prized fish camp, and soon became involved in the local community organizations. Rucker currently serves as an officer on the JVFD, and the Perdido Bay Water Board. He served on the Josephine Homeowners Association board, and the Staggers are very active in the Josephine Baptist Church. Rucker and Nettie have 4 children, one of which (you guessed it!) practices medicine in Fairhope, and they have 5 grandchildren. Rucker enjoys wood working and the challenging skill of flying radio controlled airplanes, trained by 83 year old Bill Haywood, and has flown with Bob Hanft. The Staggers “love life” and are a positive influence in the Josephine “family community!”


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