Obituary: George Harkins, 76

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George Leo Harkins, M.D., age 76, passed away on Wednesday, July 16, 2014, at his home in Douglasville, GA, after a courageous battle with esophageal cancer. He was born to George Leo Harkins, Sr., and Anne C. Balduc-Harkins in Boston, Massachusetts.

In 1955, he graduated from Newton High School in Newton, Massachusetts. After high school, he obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Philosophy from Boston College in 1959. Dr. Harkins earned his medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine in 1963. He was the only student to be recognized for outstanding performance in pediatrics. After medical school, he served in the U.S. Navy as an officer from 1964 to 1966 in Parris Island, SC. He completed his residency at Boston Children’s Hospital in Pediatrics in 1968.


During his last year of residency, he was a teaching fellow at Harvard University. Upon completion of his residency in 1968, he established Rhinebeck Pediatrics Associates in Rhinebeck, NY. Behind Dr. Harkins’ leadership and charismatic personality, Rhinebeck Pediatrics flourished until his departure in 1979.

In 1979, Dr. Harkins and his family moved to Douglasville, GA. He founded Douglas Pediatrics. Once again, due to his leadership, tireless dedication, and incredible bedside manner, Douglas Pediatrics became a huge success. At one time, it was one of the largest pediatric practices in the Atlanta area, with seven physicians and a satellite office in Carrollton.

Dr. Harkins will long be remembered and adored because of his brilliance as a clinician, and his humorous rapport with his patients and their parents. He was also a passionate sports fan, traveler, clothes horse and animal lover. Most importantly, he was a dedicated father and loving husband. He and his wife, Jo Ann, recently celebrated their 52nd wedding anniversary. He was preceded in death by his parents and two sisters, Loretta Harkins Marshall and Irene Harkins. He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Jo Ann Harkins; his daughter, Erin Harkins-Silliman; his son-in-law, Scott Burnett Silliman; and grandsons, Collin Michael Silliman and Brennan Patrick Silliman.

The family received friends at the funeral home on Friday, July 18, 2014 from 5:00 PM until 8:00 PM. The funeral service was held Saturday, July 19, 2014 at 2:00 PM at the Holy Spirit Catholic Church, 4465 Northside Drive, NW, Atlanta, GA. Interment followed at Arlington Memorial Park in Sandy Springs, GA. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Dr. Harkins to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Foundation, 1577 NE Expressway, Suite A, Atlanta, GA 30329 or online at

Those who wish to express condolences or share a special memory may do so online at Arrangements by: Whitley-Garner at Rosehaven Funeral Home, Douglasville, GA 30134, 770-942-4246.

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