A Pioneering Visionary
Mavis Parrott Kelsey, MD, was born in Deport, Texas, on October 7, 1912. His early years in rural Texas had a profound effect on his future career.
Dr. Kelsey’s parents owned a hardware store in Deport, and his grandfather was a physician who inspired Dr. Kelsey to go into medicine. Although Deport had no electricity, water, or sewers until the mid-1920s, Dr. Kelsey credits these early hardships with giving him the “toughness” to persevere during the hard times in his life and career.
In 1939, he married Beaumont native Mary Randolph Wilson. That same year, he accepted a three-year fellowship in Internal Medicine at the world-renowned Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. While at Mayo Clinic, Dr. Kelsey strengthened his friendships with future partners Drs. William D. Seybold and William V. Leary.
World War II interrupted Dr. Kelsey’s medical training as he proudly served in the U.S. Army Air Force Medical Corps from 1941 to 1945. He completed his residency at Mayo Clinic, but in 1948, after much contemplation, the Kelseys decided to return to their native Texas.
Dr. Kelsey brought with him his young family and his dream of establishing a premier medical group that would offer the Mayo Clinic model of medical care. His dream became a reality when he founded Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in the Texas Medical Center in 1949.
Dr. Kelsey brought innovative ideas to the medical field, pioneered “company medicine” plans that provided healthcare for workers, and in 1966 won a contract to serve the medical needs of NASA employees, including the astronauts. The clinic’s role at NASA expanded over the years, bringing recognition and prestige to the space agency, as well as to Kelsey-Seybold.
Today, Kelsey-Seybold Clinic is on the cutting edge of medical technology with a state-of-the-art computer information system that includes electronic medical records. All this was inspired by a man who studied by the light of a kerosene lantern as a child.