Phyllis Montellese

Phyllis MontelleseWhere do you live?
I live with my husband, Tom Pratley, on Central Plains Road in a wonderful 100-year-old farmhouse on 12 acres of what was the original homestead of a much larger farm.
How long have you lived in Fluvanna? What brought you here?
We moved here in 2008, pursuing our dream to own a small farm and for me to work in a more rural setting as a family doc. We looked in this area because, at that time, my son, Eric, and his family lived at Lake Monticello. Unfortunately they subsequently moved to Delaware, but we are here to stay.
Tell us about your work.
I am a family physician and am currently employed by Sentara, Martha Jefferson. I have boards in family medicine, sports medicine and geriatric medicine. My office is at Spring Creek Family Medicine in Zion Crossroads.
After years as faculty in Pittsburgh, I thoroughly enjoy returning to full-time patient care. The majority of my practice is providing care for adults of all ages, including well into their 90s. As a family physician, I continue to care for children as well, but the largest need in the community is for geriatrics.
At home, I help my husband run our small farm. He does most of the day-to-day work, but I help when I can with weeding, planting, and harvesting in our market garden. In addition we raise Boer goats. I find I am learning a great deal about the health care of goats, including delivering kids. Kidding time is exciting and exhausting.
Tell us about your family.
Tom and I met in 2001 and married in 2003. He used to work as a surveyor. Other than farming, he is a Fluvanna County representative to the Thomas Jefferson soil and water district.
I have two adult children: Eric, 33, and Julia, 30.
Eric is a software engineer. Julia continues to live in Pittsburgh. She has a degree in biology and I am always looking for a job to bring her to Virginia.
I also have two wonderful grandchildren (Ethan, 7, and Talia, 4) who, sadly, live in Delaware.
Tell us about a hobby you have.
Other than gardening and goat care, I love to knit and read mostly novels.
Describe one of the highlights of your life.
The biggest was the birth of my children; then, having the opportunity to watch them develop and grow. Another was getting accepted to medical school – especially to my first choice.
Describe one of the biggest surprises of your life.
I grew up in New York City. After attending medical school in Rochester, New York, and residency in Massachusetts and working for 22 years in Pittsburgh, Tom and I own a farm in Virginia!
And then, one of my former residents in family medicine in Pittsburgh just happened to call Martha Jefferson to inquire about opportunities in the Charlottesville area to be closer to his family. To his and my surprise, it was to work with me! It has been a wonderful reunion to again work together now as peers.
Describe one of the tragedies/struggles of your life.
I have had three surgeries on my spine. The last one was much more extensive and took a very long time to recover from. I continue to require intermittent physical therapy. I find my limitations to be a source of frustration daily.
Describe a dream you have for your future.
I wish to be as healthy, alert and active as many of my 90-year-old patients. I wish for Tom and I to have many more years together. And, like most moms, I want to see my children be happy and successful as adults. Otherwise, I am living my dream right now.
Describe a fear you have for your future.
Suffering in myself or those I love.
Here’s your chance to sound off. If you could give one public service announcement or word of advice to the public at large, what would it be?
As a family physician, I have way too many to list.

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