Dr. Blackerby opens Columbiana Eye Care
By PHOEBE DONALD ROBINSON / Community Columnist
The ribbon cutting of Columbiana Eye Clinic on April 2, 2014, marked the passing of ownership of Dr. Stancil Handley’s optometry business to Dr. Johnna Blackerby, who is no stranger to Columbiana.
Johnna Headley, daughter of Johnnie and Jane Headley of Shelby, was a rising junior at Jemison High School and wanted a summer job in the health field. Her grandfather, Harold Scott, was a patient of Handley’s and went for an eye exam.
“I need some help here,” said Handley.
Scott suggested his granddaughter, and the rest is history.
“Dr. Handley suggested a two-week trial, and I never left,” said Blackerby. “Fourteen years later, I am still here. I worked that summer and fell in love with optometry. I knew that this is what I wanted to do with my life. It is so rewarding to help someone see.”
Blackerby worked part time during her high school and college years at Handley’s. She was valedictorian of Jemison High School and graduated cum laude at the University of Montevallo earning her bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry. The only time she did not work with Handley was when she went to optometry school at UAB because of the demanding schedule.
After graduation from professional school, Blackerby married husband Joshua and worked part time with Handley and other eye clinics. In January 2014, she came back to work full time after talking to Handley last August about buying his business.
The April 2 ribbon cutting was the official date of the transition. Handley will continue to work half days on Tuesday morning and all day Thursdays. His wife, Somsup Ann, will work Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
“I want to keep the tradition of a small town practice with great personal service where we know your name,” said Blackerby. “I will transition the records to paperless. I want to take care of our current customers and appeal to a younger generation, for we are the future of Columbiana. Columbiana Eye Care has a Facebook Page and will soon have a website. I am nervous, but so excited to be here.”