Remembering Dr. Peak

Dr. Latham Peak, right, with his friend and partner, Dr. John Nance, during their earlier years. Peak, like Nance before him, was remembered by many as a great physician.

As a pillar in the community, Dr. Latham Conrad “Bill” Peak left an impressionable mark after serving the residents of Sampson County for nearly 40 years, many of those in the community said. Peak, who is well remembered by all that knew him, died peacefully at his home June 13.

Peak was one of the founders of the Clinton Medical Clinic, after beginning practice in Newton Grove in 1954. According to Bob Williams, CMC administrator, Peak, along with Dr. John Nance, Dr. William Owens and Dr. Don Wells, established the medical clinic in 1969.

“Dr. Peak delivered a lot of babies here in Clinton,” Williams said when contacted about Peak’s history with Clinton Medical Clinic. “Not only was he very involved in the medical community, but he was very active in his church and throughout the community as a whole.”

During his years of service at the clinic, Peak worked with many physicians, all having been left with a remarkable impression of the gentleman. Dr. R.M. Herring says he began working with the good doctor in 1974, just a young man out of college himself.

Having known Peak all his life, Herring said he talked with the doctor about returning to Clinton and working at CMC as a pediatrician. The relationship between Peak and Herring was one of the first established family practices and pediatric practices in the state at the time.

“I was also very pleased with how up-to-date Dr. Peak and the clinic were,” Herring stated. “Dr. Peak was always adamant about having the best technology for his patients, and I admired that.”

Herring described Peak as a very hard worker, who was great with all his patients.

“Sampson County owes him a great deal of gratitude,” Herring attested. “When I think of Clinton Medical Clinic, I think of Dr. Peak. He was a good man and physician and an asset to our community.”

Fellow physician Dr. Tommy Newton, not only worked with Peak for nearly 10 years, but had the pleasure of attending church at Grave Memorial Presbyterian Church with the doctor as well.

“It was an honor and privilege to work with Dr. Peak from 1984 until his retirement,” Newton said. “When I came to Clinton in 1984, I had been recruited to help take care of many of his patients as he transitioned to work in our satellite office in Roseboro. He was very kind to me, and would often offer insight on his patients as I was assuming their care.”

Newton said Peak had a dry wit about him, offering a humor that was a trademark. Peak, Newton said, was also a strong man of faith, helping out in many ways at church.

“He was a true student of the Bible and an excellent Sunday School teacher,” Newton added. “He and my mother engaged in many conversations over the meaning of different Bible passages.”

Like Herring, Newton said Peak and Nance had a close relationship — almost a team, even though there were other members in the group, the two just seemed to intertwine.

“They started Clinton Medical Clinic in the late 60s, and their personalities and philosophies about the practice and business of medicine were not only unique, but innovative, helping our group to become one of the leaders in our field not only across the state, but even winning national awards,” Newton said. “It was and is a blessing that I was able to be associated with Dr. Peak, both professionally and personally.”

Peak was a native of Lynchburg, Va. and High Point and served in the United States Navy from 1944-1946. He attended Wake Forest College and Bowman Gray School of Medicine on the GI Bill graduating in 1951. He served again as a flight surgeon in the Navy from 1952-1954.

Following his service, Peak began his medical practice in Newton Grove in 1954 and moved to Clinton in 1955. With a passion for medicine, Peak decided to begin the family medicine practice, delivering three generations of babies in Sampson County.

As an avid golfer and runner, Peak enjoyed being active in his church, where he served as a deacon, elder and Sunday school teacher.

Peak is survived by his children and a host of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.