Dr. Paul Veal was a huge man in every sense of the word.
At 6-foot-6, with “hands as big as hubcaps,” as one buddy put it, Veal's enforcing presence was allayed by a gentleness, a limitless optimism and a sweet taste of spirit that endeared him to everyone he fulfilled, including the many number of patients he saw during his 34 years as a chiropractic specialist, where patients typically became friends.
“I would go in for my back, however leave his office influenced and motivated,” said Jabari Edwards, who initially fulfilled Veal when he was a high school teammate of Veal's son, Chico, at Caldwell High School in the late 1980s. “You walked into his workplace and he ‘d smile and state, ‘Hey, Kemosabe! It's a terrific day to be alive. Now, how can I assist you?' I never satisfied anybody as favorable as Dr. Veal.”
Veal, 63, passed away Thursday from what his other half of 40 years, Dianne Veal, thinks were problems from COVID-19.
“He got ill the very first of July and went into the health center on July 12 with COVID,” she stated. “He had cycled through it, but he had issues with his lungs– pneumonia in both lungs– and had problems breathing. I consider him to be a COVID victim. He had always been in good health prior to.”
As word of Veal's death started to circulate Friday morning, colleagues, clients and good friends struggled to limit their sorrow as they discussed a big guy who leaves an even larger 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, but I knew Dr. Paul even prior to that through my father, who was likewise a chiropractic practitioner. He was a big old teddy bear, huge and soft and sweet and nice.”
Dr. David Allen, of Allen Chiropractic in Starkville, fulfilled Veal in 1995, and the two often referred clients to each other.
“One of his patients would can be found in and state Dr. Veal had sent them,” Allen said. “I ‘d say, ‘You suggest that little man with the small hands?' He was huge. I'm 6-4, 220 pounds, and he made me look small.
“He was an excellent chiropractor and helped thousands of people,” Allen added. “He was very well considered among chiropractic practitioners.”
His clients adored him, frequently ending up being friends.
That was true of Wil Colom, who met Veal when the two males's kids were playing high school sports. Colom later became a patient and has been a buddy that has covered more than 30 years.
“Paul was the kind of individual I constantly wanted to be,” the Columbus lawyer said. “He had an uncommon combination of perseverance and patience. He would see things through, no matter what. However in all the time I understood him, I was impressed at his persistence. I've never ever seen him raise his voice, never ever saw him mad.
“When my child was playing ball with his kid, 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 added. “He was as patient with other kids as he was with his own. I never saw him be in a rush with anyone. I've never ever seen anyone as client as Paul.”
Although he might have overlooked others, Veal never ever utilized his physical stature or standing in the neighborhood to get his way, said Craig Morris, the Veals' pastor at Abundant Life Church.
“He didn't throw his weight around,” Morris stated. “He had another type of weight: the weight of character. That was what drew individuals to him. He didn't press people to get his method. People were drawn to him. He wasn't a casual church member. To me, he was a mentor and an inspiration. He was household.”
That Veal would catch COVID-19 is a sobering reminder of the dangers of the infection. Unlike a number of the virus victims, Veal was in good health and was healthy, playing basketball well into his 50s, typically against much more youthful men.
“I personally remember him betting our neighborhood basketball I coached in (2015 and 2016),” Mayor Robert Smith said in a declaration. “The name of our team was the Possum Town Trotters and the earnings from our games benefited the American Cancer Society. He had a huge character and never ever sought the spotlight, but found delight in serving this neighborhood. As for me, I'll miss his relationship and assistance and the city of Columbus will miss the expert service that he provided with a personal touch.”
Veal and Colom bonded over the hardships both males encountered growing up 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 knew what that suggested as a country kid – working from ‘can' see to ‘can't' see,” Colom stated. “He really grew up in some horrible conditions, in an era where absolutely nothing was guaranteed to him and there were absolutely nothing but challenges in his way. A great deal of individuals can't conquer that, however he never ever let his situations beat him down.”
Another good friend, Dennis Irby, stated Veal informed him he was so poor that when he and Dianne were wed in 1979, he didn't have the cost to pay the pastor for the event.
“He told the pastor that if he ever got in a better position, he ‘d come back and pay him,” Irby stated. “The pastor said not to stress over it. Paul always remembered it, however. Years later, he looked up the pastor and learnt he was in the Atlanta area. So Paul and Dianne drove over to his home. The pastor didn't remember him, but Paul informed him about how he couldn't pay him. He paid the pastor the cost and a lot more.
“When he told me that story, it simply struck me that it was much like Paul,” he added. “He was a guy of his word. If he told you something, he would follow through.”
A traveler and fisherman
Veal's escape from the debilitating poverty came through signing up with the military, stated Dianne, who initially satisfied Paul when they were 2nd grade.
“He was in the Air Force and when he went out, he obtained pharmacy school at Ole Miss,” she stated. “But he satisfied a chiropractic doctor and decided that was something he wanted to pursue.”
After his chiropractic doctor training, the Veals relocated to Columbus in 1986, taking control of a practice on Gardner Boulevard.
“He had these huge hands, but he put them on you softly,” Colom stated.
Colom, Veal and Irby became close friends, often traveling together to Africa.
“South Africa, Tanzania, Ethiopia. Senegal,” Colom stated, checking off the locations the three guys visited. “The most moving minute was browsing eviction of No Return, which is where slaves saw their last view of Africa as they were placed on the slave ships throughout the Atlantic. For the past several years, Paul was always discussing retiring. I asked him what he wanted to do and he ‘d state he wanted to take a trip. Travel and fish.”
A lot of interests took a back seat to fishing, Colom stated.
“He ‘d been down in the creek and the bugs would be swarming, snakes everywhere and he wouldn't budge if the fishing was great,” Colom stated. “I was talking with Dianne one time and she stated, ‘You understand I don't fret about Paul leaving me for another woman; I fret about him leaving me to fish.'”
That exaggeration was obvious, Colom stated.
“I question you'll ever meet a more detailed, more beautiful couple,” Colom stated. “Every time you saw them together, it was apparent how much they loved each other. He loved Dianne, loved his kids and enjoyed his pals. We'll all miss him. I think the entire neighborhood will miss him. He really was a gentle giant.”