Michael L. Graybeal, M.D.
December 16, 1954 – February 6, 2019
Michael L. Graybeal, M.D., CDE
Michael Lee Graybeal of Evans, GA, passed away on February 6th, 2019 at the age of 64 and 21 ½ years after he was diagnosed with brain cancer. Mike was born on December 16, 1954 in Honolulu, Hawaii to Dr. C. Edward Graybeal and Ruth Harshbarger Graybeal. Left to cherish his memory are his wife of 43 years Sheila; children Nathan (Leah), Lesley (Zach Smith), and Daniel (Heidi); grandchildren Evelyn and Flynn Graybeal, Milo and Violet Smith; his loving father; siblings Glenn (Judi), Linda (Vaughn) Callaway, and Casey (Susan); life-long friends Rodman Neumann and Susan Wilkins; and numerous other extended family members and friends.
Mike graduated from the Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania and went on to attend the University of Delaware, where he and Sheila met almost immediately after setting foot on campus. He studied medicine at Jefferson Medical College, then completed his internship and residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY, where his son Nathan was born. After encouraging Sheila to earn her graduate degree at the University of Chicago, Mike earned a position as an Endocrinology Fellow at the University of Chicago and then spent an additional year working in student health while Sheila began her dissertation work and their daughter Lesley was born.
Seeking warmer winters after spending 3 years in Chicago, Mike began his medical practice in Augusta, Georgia, with Internal Medicine and Endocrine Associates of Augusta. He was beloved by his patients for his thoroughness and attentive care. While practicing, Mike also served on University Hospital’s Pharmacy Review Committee and, after becoming a Certified Diabetes Educator, was active in the Greater Augusta Diabetes Educators (GADE).
When his oldest son Nathan joined Cub Scouts as a first grader, Mike agreed to serve as the pack’s Cubmaster, beginning his “2nd career” as a volunteer for the Boy Scouts of America. This career would grow and flourish through the years as Nathan and then Daniel rose through the ranks of scouting from Tiger Cubs to Eagle Scouts. Helping them along their scouting paths brought Mike great joy, as did seeing Lesley earn her Gold Award in Girl Scouts.
After being diagnosed with brain cancer in 1997, Mike retired from his medical practice, but he never retired from serving others. As he liked to say, “You have to serve somebody” … and serve he did. Mike treated every day since his diagnosis as a gift, and he was as generous with his time as he was grateful for it. The aforementioned “scouting career” moved to the forefront of his activities. Mike served in a variety of roles at the unit, district, and council levels—completing numerous adult training programs and winning multiple awards for his dedication to scouting. Above all, he loved participating in camping and hiking activities with his sons and other scouts and took great enjoyment in high adventure trips to Northern Tier (Ely, MN) and Philmont Scout Ranch (Cimarron, NM).
Mike’s retirement afforded him the opportunity to serve, too, as a long-time Greenbrier High School Band Booster, most notably taking on the role as “caretaker of the plumes” during football season. And his service didn’t stop there. Mike was an active member of Wesley United Methodist Church, where he faithfully served as an usher (often filling in for others at the last minute), helped out as a communion server and attendance pad volunteer, and participated in mission trips to Honduras. Mike was an active supporter of the arts as well, serving as an usher for productions at the Imperial Theatre (school shows were his favorite) and attending numerous local theatrical and musical productions.
Mike loved to travel—to see new sights, hike new trails, and visit far-away family and friends. Among his favorite trips were a family vacation to Hawaii (following his 50th birthday) and several waterfall adventures with Sheila in SC, NC, and GA. Yet he was just as happy driving to Delaware to visit his Dad and help with whatever tasks needed doing there.
Throughout his life, Mike was a man of many talents—just as handy with a sewing machine and cooking utensils as he was with a hammer, drill, and chainsaw. When Sheila took a job in Columbia, SC during Mike’s retirement, he would hold down the fort at home—taking care of housework and yardwork and greeting her at the end of the day with a home-cooked meal.
In 2016, Mike’s brain cancer recurred, this time inoperable and less amenable to treatment—leading Mike to travel a new path, this one to Duke Brain Tumor Center. For the next two years, he received oral chemotherapy and participated in a clinical research trial. The results were good, but not lasting. Still, Mike enjoyed another two years (and a bit more) of hiking with Sheila and other family members, playing with the grandkids, watching his favorite science fiction shows, and going to movies, plays, and concerts.
Mike truly embraced life and delighted in his family. He referred to the 18 years after his initial diagnosis as “Heaven on Earth”; and he got to enjoy more family birthdays, band concerts, graduations, weddings, and births of grandchildren than we had any reason to expect—though still not as many as any of us wanted. We will miss you—our beloved husband, father, grandpa, son, brother, friend. We will hold you close in our hearts and know that your love will live on.
A Celebration of Life will be held at Wesley United Methodist Church on March 2nd at 2:00 pm, with the Rev. Greg Porterfield officiating. The family will receive visitors one hour before the service.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Georgia-Carolina Council, Boy Scouts of America, 4132 Madeline Dr., Augusta, GA 30909; Wesley UMC, 825 N Belair Rd., Evans, GA 30809; or Imperial Theatre, PO Box 31126, Augusta, GA 30901.
Wesley United Methodist Church
825 North Belair Road
Michael L. Graybeal, M.D.
February 16, 2019
Dear Sheila and family,
Pharmaceutical representatives rarely get to see their customers outside the doctor's office or hospital. Not only did I get to see Dr. Graybeal without his lab coat, but I got to meet you and your wonderful children through my years of volunteering at the Juliet Powell Diabetes Camp. Mike loved and mentored those kids facing the challenges of diabetes and treated me like a colleague and not a rep. He was a big kid at heart and participated in every event. I fondly remember the chicken fights we had in the pool at the Girl Scout Camp and he always got the better of me...I would love one more shot at him!!!
We all want to leave a mark on this world...and I can safely say...Mike painted with a broad brush!
Until we meet again...
February 16, 2019
Dr. Graybeal was the backbone of Camp Juliet for children with diabetes. It was a joy for me to get to know him and Sheila during my years as a volunteer camp counselor. The campfire songs that we sang year after year were always led by Dr. Graybeal as he went through a litany of stanzas in the "If I Were a _______,I'd" song. The many camp memories involving Dr. Graybeal -- from walkie-talkies to name tags -- will live on forever to remind me that giving back, especially to children, is the best gift you can give.
February 16, 2019
My favorite memories of Dr. Graybeal are the first mornings arriving to Camp Juliet and sitting at the table to write and draw our name tags with this wonderful man! I attended camp for 10 years and grew a memorable bond with Dr. Graybeal! When you think of camp, you always think of him! He was a blessing to camp!
February 16, 2019
What a good picture of Dr. Graybeal! My 15 years of memories of Camp Juliet , a camp for children with diabetes, are filled with Dr. Graybeal. He was a good man, he had a big heart, and he had strong opinions, never fearing to take on battles for good causes, or to help others. Dr. Graybeal loved working with the kids and he took vacation from work for that week so he could volunteer his time, his expertise, his love, and his many talents. He meant a lot to us all. Camp Juliet wouldn’t have been possible without him. He helped so very many young children and teens with their diabetes. This camp was a blessing, and his heart was in it.
Sending my condolences to you Sheila and your family, I know he will be missed in this world.
And what about his campfire song, And if I was a bird, ____ and the limb, on the tree (nope, I don’t remember it, but he sure knew it! ) ❤️
February 13, 2019
Sending our condolences to Dr. Graybeal’s family. We met Sheila and Mike through scouting. He will be deeply missed. He was such a giving person and also shared stories that I enjoyed listening to.
I remember when my daughter had her first baby sitting job with a very active toddler. My son had scouts that night at Wesley so I had the idea of having my daughter and the toddler she was watching play in the gym for a bit. Dr. Graybeal came into the gym and played for an hour with my daughter and the small toddler. They had so much fun. I will always remember that.
Sending our love ~ Scott, Alie, Kian, & Kyra
February 9, 2019
Sending love and sympathy to you and your family.
You were blessed to have such a wonderful person in your life.
Hoping you can find comfort in many memories of happier times.
February 9, 2019
My thoughts and prayers for the Graybeal family. I cherish the wonderful memories created through the band programs at Riverside Middle School and Greenbrier High School!!
Tom and Kati Smallwood