Published on December 30, 2021

Watts Retires after 43 Years with NMMC

Terri Kay WattsHealth Link customer service representative Terri Kay Watts retired after 43 years with North Mississippi Health Services. Her coworkers held a reception in her honor on Dec. 29. 

TUPELO, Mississippi - Over 43 years, Terri Kay Stegall Watts has seen a lot of changes at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo.

Her first position was with the Medical Records Department, now Health Information Management. Her next job was with the Medical Information Department, a forerunner of the current Clinical Quality department. Her position for the last 24 years has been with Health Link, which now falls under the Managed Care umbrella.

“There’s been a lot of changes,” said Watts, who is retiring on Jan. 7 as a Health Link customer service representative. “It was big when I started there, but nothing like it is now.”

Her own name changed while at NMMC. She married Charles Watts three years after she joined the hospital team; the couple celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary in September. They continue to make their home in the Troy community of Pontotoc County.

“I grew up with that place; I got married, had children (Shane and Cory),” said Watts, who was newly graduated from South Pontotoc High School when she started her NMMC career on June 5, 1978.

“I never dreamed I’d be here forever,” Watts said.

TK, as her Health Link teammates call her, is an MVP for her expertise and her sunny disposition, said Wally Davis, vice president of Managed Care for North Mississippi Health Services.

“Her light-hearted approach to life has been uplifting for everyone around her,” Davis said. “The fact that she has worked for NMHS for 43 years is a testament to her commitment, dedication, attitude and effort to do her job to the best of her ability each and every day.”

For Watts, her colleagues became family. When she and her husband lost their oldest child, Shane, in 2006, they were her circle of support along with their extended family and church family.

“They’ve been with me through thick and thin,” Watts said. “I’ve worked with and for a lot of great folks.”

Watts is looking forward to retirement, but she doesn’t expect to be bored.

She is excited about having more time to camp, fish, work in her yard and take on home improvement projects. She will continue to teach the adult Sunday School class at Troy First Baptist Church as she has done for the last 15 years.

The best part will be more time with Charles, Cory and their great-niece, Alyssa, 7, who the couple adopted in July 2020.

“I’ve got to admit, I’m getting a little excited,” Watts said. 

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