By KYLE LOVERN
KERMIT - There are not many people who give back to their community like Dr. J.W. Endicott has done.
As a youngster he ran the streets of Kermit, dribbling a basketball, riding his bicycle and playing with his friends.
Endicott grew up in Kermit where he went on to help lead the Blue Devils to the Class A state championship back in 1975 as the point guard. He was an all-state performer and played for the late John Preece.
He walked on at Marshall University and made the squad, but decided he needed to concentrate on his studies and his goal to become a doctor.
After graduating from Marshall, he was accepted into one of the first classes of the university’s new medical school. He went on to graduate and then came back home and set up his practice in his little hometown.
“I was always interested in science, but when I was in junior high, my first love was Archaeology,” Endicott recalls. “Then in high school, I really got interested in medicine and started planning to try to go to medical school. Dr. Russell Salton and Dr. Evans (a general practitioner in Grey Eagle, WV) were role models that I aspired to be like and practice good, rural medicine in order to make a difference in the lives of the people in our area.”
The local boy came back to set up shop on the main street of Kermit. “In August it will be 25 years,” Endicott said of his practice. “I Started in 1986 at Guthrie Memorial Hospital in Huntington and opened my practice in Kermit, my home town, in 1987.”
Endicott married his high school girl friend, Elaine Thornton, whose family ran a department store on the main street in Kermit for many years. She now helps him run his medical office.
“We did not date until we were about to graduate from Kermit High School in 1975,” Endicott said. “We were classmates from first grade on. We married my second year of medical school in 1981. We had a long courtship. In July we will be married 31 years.”
The Endicott’s have two daughters, both played basketball at Kermit Middle School and Tug Valley High School. Elizabeth 24, will be attending the West Virginia School Of Osteopathic Medicine in August, and Katherine 21, who will be a senior at Marshall, is majoring in History. She wants to get her doctorate and teach at the college level.
He also coached middle school and high school girls’ basketball for almost 10 years and is still helping with the Kermit teams. His middle school teams have won two county championships. He assisted with Tug Valley and they made two state tournament appearances. The Lady Panthers won three sectional titles and two regional championships with his guidance.
“I love the game of basketball. When it is played the right way, it is a beautiful game,” Endicott said. “When five players play as one, unselfishly, sharing the ball, knowing their roles and playing hard with a shared goal, there is no other sport that even comes close.”
His Kermit High School teams did just that in the mid 1970’s and he has tried to instill that same passion to the players he has coached today. “The Tug Valley Panther team this year was a good example of what it takes to win a state championship. They were the best ‘team’ I have seen in many years, and they were rewarded for their hard work and unselfish play with memories that will last for a lifetime,” Endicott stated.
Endicott also served on the Mingo County Board of Education for 12 years. He says there were good times and bad times with that experience.
“The last four years were very difficult. Overall, it was a great experience,” Endcott said. “I served with some very good board members and administrators who put education above politics and tried to do what was right for the children in order to provide the best education we could for the students of Mingo County.”
Not only has he treated hundreds of local citizens at his medical practice in Kermit, but he is also a community leader. He spearheaded two different committees, one to help build a trophy case for Kermit K-8 to help them display trophies of what they have achieved, and the other to preserve the history and memories of the old Kermit High School athletics.
“I want future generations to see what a proud heritage we have and what it means to wear a Blue Devil uniform. I am proud and honored to have played a small part in helping to preserve the history of Kermit High School and contributed, along with other teammates,” Endicott said proudly.
“Kermit graduates and Blue Devil fans old and young know just what it means to be a Kermit Blue Devil,” he added. “We have had some great teams and players over the years and I wanted the younger generation of kids to be proud of their heritage, and the old timers, like me, to be able to reminisce about the good old days when looking at the trophies of our accomplishments of by gone days.”
“I could not have made it through college and medical school without the love and support of my mother, Lois Endicott Booth, my grandparents, Jim and Stella Preston, and my stepfather, Bill Booth,” Endicott added.
There is no doubt that Dr. J.W. Endicott is a big part of Kermit, past and present. But it is also quite obvious that Kermit is a big part of him.
(Kyle Lovern is the sports editor for the Williamson Daily News. Comments or story ideas can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org)