Dr. Wilbert Louis Chetty was born on Jan. 18, 1950, in Williston, South Carolina, to the late Homer and Maybelle Chitty. During his childhood, Wilbert’s family moved to Washington, D.C. As luck would have it, during French class his junior year at Western High
School the class seating arrangement was alphabetical order based on last name. It was there that he met his future wife — Joyce Elaine Chambers. After dating for more than a decade, they married July 28, 1979. This union was blessed with four wonderful children.
Wilbert had a strong work ethic evident from the very beginning. As a youngster, he held numerous jobs ranging from delivering newspapers to construction to restaurant manager.
However, his ultimate goal was to become a doctor. After completing his undergraduate degree at Howard University, he went on to graduate from Howard Medical School in 1984.
In 1987 he completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Howard and shortly after graduation moved to Roanoke Rapids to begin practicing medicine. He was especially drawn to the Roanoke Valley because of the friendly people and the allure of Lake Gaston — vowing that he would one day own a house on the water.
After a few short years in Roanoke Rapids, Wilbert opened a solo medical practice, Halifax-Northampton Internal Medicine. He took great pride in his practice and the medical care he provided to the community. He could often be found at the office or hospital long after patients were gone and many patients can recount visits to their home or hospital room “just to say hello.” The drive to work and serve that begin in his youth was evident in the way he practiced medicine. Joyce always said, “he’ll probably die at the office.” While it did not happen quite that way, he continued practicing medicine until a stroke (at the office while working, no less!) forced him to retire in 2018.
In addition to his work, Wilbert enjoyed playing golf. It was not unusual for him to be the last one on the golf course, trying to perfect his swing. He was also a Civil War history buff, always ready to regale you with obscure facts about generals and battles. Each of his children vividly recall a family trip to Carowinds, when Dad sat on a bench and read an Abraham Lincoln biography while everyone else explored the park for hours. In the early 1990s he and Joyce bought a home on Lake Gaston. The home served as a retreat for Wilbert as well as a gathering place for the family’s annual Pig Pickin’ for almost 25 years.
Dr. Wilbert Louis Chetty, 71, died on Sunday, Sept. 26,
2021, at Spring Arbor Assisted Living in Rocky Mount. He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Joyce Chetty; and his granddaughter, Kanayla Aireona Chetty.
Left to celebrate his life and legacy are his children: Dr. Vanessa Novella Chetty, her husband Willie J. Hilliard Jr., and grandchildren, Avery, Maxton and Piper; son, Lawrence Alexander Chetty; son, Louis Anthony Chetty; daughter, Victoria Elaine Chetty, her husband, Elton Lewis, and grandchildren, Valerian and Zola-Leigh; sister, Catherine Lewis and brother Clarence Chitty; as well as a host of nieces, nephews and friends.