BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) – Two long-time Beckley ARH doctors have retired after many years with the clinic.

Dr. Richard Wisman, a physician at the ARH Southern West Virginia Clinic, retired after 42 years in practice and Dr. Syed Zahir, an orthopedic surgeon, retired after 51 years with ARH.

After more than four decades in practice, ARH Southern West Virginia Clinic physician Richard Wisman, MD, said good bye to his patients for the final time on Dec. 29, 2022.

The Milton, W.V, native, who originally had his sights set on becoming a lawyer, received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., and his medical degree from West Virginia University. After he completed his residency in Morgantown, Dr. Wisman first worked at Montgomery General Hospital before opening his own practice in Beckley in 1987 and joining the staff at Raleigh General Hospital full-time.

Just four years later, Dr. Wisman, by then a member of the Beckley-based Med-Surg Group, joined the Beckley ARH Hospital Medical staff.

Dr. Wisman, who has served in various capacities including Beckley ARH Hospital Chief of Staff, has worked at the ARH Southern West Virginia Clinic since 2013.

Although Dr. Wisman says he’ll miss both the hospital and his patients, the 68-year-old says it’s time to step away.

“ARH has always been good and loyal to me and I’ve tried to be good to them. There’s a lot of good, friendly people here and it’s kind of sad to leave them. I’ve enjoyed (the work) and I’ve worked with a lot of great people through the years but it’s time to spend a little bit of time on myself.”

Dr. Richard Whisman

The father of three and grandfather of four, who recently moved to Charleston with his wife Deanna, doesn’t have immediate plans for how he will spend his new free time. Trips to Florida to visit his parents and maybe even a longer adventure to Morocco – Deanna’s request – are possibilities.

For now, however, he says he wants to relax.

Dr. Syed Zahir had never been to West Virginia, let alone heard of Beckley, when he moved with his wife Amna and their 4-year-old son Khalique in 1971.

Though unfamiliar with West Virginia, he was in nearby Louisville, KY. He was completing hand surgery training under Dr. Harold Kleinert, a pioneer in hand surgery, when he was contacted by the chief of staff at Beckley ARH Hospital. He explains of the call from former Beckley ARH Chief of Staff Dr. Clifford Stevenson.

“I was looking for a place to go and he asked if I would come to Appalachian,”

Dr. Syed Zahir

In addition to his work at Beckley ARH, Dr. Zahir worked for nearly 30 years with Raleigh General Hospital, the Beckley VA Medical Center, the federal prison in Beaver, the now-closed Beckley Hospital, and what was known as the Crippled Children’s Clinic, where he provided free care and surgery for disabled children.

His work has ranged from hours-long trauma cases and total knee and hip replacements to 20-minute carpal tunnel surgeries.

But in recent years, with his energy waning but desire and know-how as strong as ever, he has slowed down to office visits and shorter wrist surgeries.

A few years back, Dr. Zahir, returned to the now ARH-owned Southern West Virginia Clinic.

Dr. Zahir’s wife Amna credits both her husband’s influence – her strong encouragement – and their Beckley upbringing for their success. Amna says her husband never told their children what they needed to do with their lives. She took care of that.

“He never said look at me, you have to follow me. I pushed them. I said, ‘He came here from India and you have to follow him because you’re second generation. They all became doctors because of West Virginia. I’m happy to have raised four very good children here.”

Amna Zahir