Carroll County Memorial Hospital employees, from left, Lori Boswell, Jill Sachleben and Mitzy Gassert talk about working with Joe Marlette. Marlette, who worked at CCMH from 1963 to 1999, was honored posthumously by the hospital with a plaque in the radiology department this week. (Staff photos by Ken Ritchie)
Carroll County Memorial Hospital employees, from left, Lori Boswell, Jill Sachleben and Mitzy Gassert talk about working with Joe Marlette. Marlette, who worked at CCMH from 1963 to 1999, was honored posthumously by the hospital with a plaque in the radiology department this week. (Staff photos by Ken Ritchie)
A plaque was hung near the radiology department at Carroll County Memorial Hospital this week honoring a man many patients continue to ask about nearly 15 years after his retirement.

Joe Marlette, who died in February 2009, was more than an X-ray technician to many patients during his more than three decades on the job. He was also a friendly smile during X-rays for broken bones and other medical procedures.

Co-workers remember Marlette as a comical person who always had compassion for patients. Lori Boswell, who worked with Marlette for about four years, remembered his fun outlook during the slow days at the hospital, as well as stressful ones.

"He always had a joke," Boswell said.

Jill Sachleben worked with Marlette for just about three years before his retirement in 1999. Still, she saw his unique way of calming patients in pain, she said, and many patients continue to remember that. Patients still continue to ask where Marlette is during procedures, she said.

"Joe was a character," Sachleben said. "He had this way of soothing."

Marlette was born in 1927, one of Planet and Mildred Robbins Marlette's 14 children. He began working early in his life, delivering newspapers while he attended Carrollton schools. Before graduating from high school, he joined the United States Army in December 1945 and was sent to Austria. He served as a supply clerk and reached the rank of corporal before his discharge in June 1947.

Returning to his hometown of Carrollton, Marlette married Betty Jean Breeden in December 1948. Marlette worked several jobs after returning from his service in the Army, including the Butter McCrackin Coal Yard, Keith's Grocery and O.K. Supply Company. Yet it was at the hospital that Marlette spent 36 years helping others and gaining many friends throughout Carroll County, first beginning work there as an orderly.

Marlette began working at the hospital to earn his General Education Diploma. He went on to further his education at the University of Louisville - earning an associate's degree in radiology - and worked his way from lab technician to chief X-ray technologist at the hospital.

He also earned a degree from the Kentucky Society of American Registry of Clinical Radiography Technologists, where he served three consecutive terms as president of the organization. He also served as the vice president of the Kentucky State Society of X-ray Technologists.

Marlette also partnered with the national registry to establish three x-ray schools throughout Kentucky - one school at the Hunter Foundation in Lexington and schools in Corbin and Barbourville.

Marlette received several awards during his career at the hospital - including a distinguished service award for outstanding achievements and proficiency in his profession and a citation honor for his services to the profession from the American Registry of Clinical Radiography Technologists - the plaque displayed at the hospital serves as an honor all of the his work and accomplishments throughout the county and the state.

Even though Carroll County Memorial Hospital Chief Executive Officer Kanute Rarey never worked with Marlette, he still hears stories from patients and coworkers alike about the X-ray technician that made such an impact at the hospital.

"He was an exemplary person," Rarey said. "You hardly find any one person that worked at one place over three decades."