Jacksonville loses one of its finest

We lost a friend and neighbor Monday, and Jacksonville lost one of its finest citizens, Dr. Floyd Verheyden.

Dr. Verheyden was the first physician I saw after I moved here in 1981. Within minutes of our meeting, without speaking a word, he removed the cigarettes from my shirt pocket, crushed the pack and dropped it in the waste basket. Of course, cigarettes then only cost about $1.25, but this was a bedside manner that took getting used to.

From then on, I listened carefully to his every word. I always felt that if I ever told him I wanted a second opinion he would be quick to give me one.

Dr. Verheyden was a man of few words, but had the driest humor I’ve ever known. The closest thing to a compliment on my writing that he ever gave me was when he once told me that he read my weekly column regularly. “Sometimes,” he said, “I can even understand one.”

There will be plenty in the paper about Dr. Verheyden’s contributions to Jacksonville and his accomplishments, so I won’t dwell on that.

What I would like to say about this man is that he was unique.

Here’s how Webster’s New World Dictionary defines the word:

Unique: From the French, unicus; One and only; single; sole; Having no like or equal; unparalleled; Highly unusual; extraordinary, rare.

Dr. Verheyden was that. He will be missed.

Hugh Neeld,


‘Blunt and honest, I like that.’

In reference to the column, ‘A night among Republicans,’ Sunday, Feb. 26.

So do I; especially the honest part.

Thanks for another good, and progressive, editorial. I regret that I could not be at the panel discussion, as I had a previous commitment for a dinner to honor a local citizen for outstanding service to the community animal shelter.

I particularly like your focus on solutions to citizen concerns, whether it be roads, litter, taxes or whatever. Complaining alone does not get the job done. It takes creative work by elected officials, city/county employees, and the citizenry. It is true, as you say, that we cannot just “stay” where we are. Our city and county has too many reactionaries who suffer from “inertia at rest.” The “way it has always been” is not working. It keeps power in the wrong hands and promotes, even rewards, inefficiency.

I tip my hat to informed and responsible citizen activists who have the courage to step up to challenge the status quo. We need more people to come forward to question the actions of public entities, like the JISD, and public officials, like the Pct. 3 Constable, and others who ignore concerns of the citizens and taxpayers.

All we ask is for elected and appointed public officials to do their jobs in an honest and efficient manner. Stop the smokescreens and patronizing, and instead seek economic and moral progress. Is that too much to ask?

Rick Moscicki,


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