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Times Courier
by Dub Joiner
T-C Staff Writer -

The Cherry Lake area of the quiet Gilmer County community of Cherry Log, located less than 10 miles north of Ellijay, doesn't look anything like a place where a violent act could take place.

It's a mostly natural area of cabins and other homes nestled in the north Georgia mountains.

However, sometime on Sunday night, Oct. 7, violence took place in a home in Cherry Lake that claimed the life of 30-year-old Joann Tiesler, a much loved nurse practitioner who worked in Ellijay and Blue Ridge.

According to information released by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Gilmer County Sheriff's office, Tiesler, was found dead in her home by a co-worker on the morning of Oct. 8 after she failed to report for work.

As a nurse practictioner at Mountain Medical Center in Ellijay and also at two medical clinics in Blue Ridge, she is remembered as a very loving, helpful and spiritual person by those who knew her and worked with her.

"She was always finding good in people," said Judy Tipton a co-worker in Ellijay. "No matter who it was, she seemed to find something good in everyone she met or had as a patient."

In the Cherry Log community, she attended the Cherry Log Christian Church where she is remembered as a very active member, according to the church's minister, Rebecca Heller.

"She has been a member here about two and a half years and was very active, especially with the children's ministry. But everyone loved her," said Heller.

Altogether, in the three clinics, her co-workers estimate that Tiesler had a caseload of nearly 3,000 patients, from young children to the elderly.

As a nurse practictioner, she worked under several doctors including Ed Schwartz and Sol Prebus in Ellijay.

"I drift between sadness and being furious," said Dr Schwartz. "She was a friend to all of us here and to the community. It makes me furious to think this happened to her."

"She really cared about her patients and took lots of time with them," he said. "She would even track people down to help them. Once, she tracked a patient down at work to remind him about his medication."

Cheryl Bell, another co-worker at Mountain Medical, agrees. "She was always trying to help people including me. When I had some personal concerns she took time to talk with me at length and it really made a difference."

Bell and Tipton and others remember Tiesler also as a "health nut."

"She was always talking about healthy things, about being a vegetarian, walking and exercise," said Tipton.

"During lunch breaks, Joann would often go to the recreation park down by the river and walk the track," Tipton added. "She would also get up early in the morning and walk in her neighborhood."

Office staff in Ellijay also remember Tiesler as an educator in that she was always studying something, trying to learn something new to pass along to her patients.

"Women's health was of special interest to her," according to Tipton. "She always took care of herself and wanted others to do the same."

Tiesler is also remembered as an outdoorsperson. The rooms she used at Mountain Medical Clinic, which she decorated, were covered with large photos of the Grand Tetons in the Dakotas where she had spent time hiking in years past.

As a professional person, Tiesler excelled. She graduated from Berry College with a BS in 1992, and from Vanderbilt University in 1998 with a master's degree in nursing. She was a board certified family nurse practictioner, a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practictioners and a member of the American College of Sports Medicine Health Fitness instructors, as well as a member of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing.

Joann's Outdoor Classroom    ♦    Location: Bowie Nature Park    ♦    Bowie Lake Road    ♦    Fairview, TN 37062    ♦    615-799-5544