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BY MIKE AVITT
Phil Freeland emailed me and wondered if his maternal grandfather, Dr. J. W. Hill, was ever the only physician in Mt. Ayr. No, but it did get a little thin for a while.
Dr. Hill came to Mt. Ayr in 1923 after practicing medicine in Ellston the four previous years. At this time, Dr. Ahren was operating a private hospital at 201 W. Jefferson. There was also at this time, Dr. F. C. Smith (not a dentist, as I reported in an earlier article), Dr. J. H. White, Dr. Sam Bailey, and Dr, C. T. Lesan. Dr. Wm. Horne had retired in 1924 and Dr. Hannelly had passed away in 1922.
Dr. Ahrens left in 1925, Dr. Sam Bailey passed in 1928, and Dr. C. T. Lesan passed in 1932. But, three more doctors arrived on the scene: Dr. F. H. Landes (1925), Dr. T. I. Moffet (1928), and Dr. James Stanton (1931). Dr. Seaman replaced Dr. Stanton in 1936. Dr. Seaman left in 1941.
In 1948, Dr. F. H. Landes died leaving Mt. Ayr with Dr. Moffet, Dr. F. C. Smith, and Dr. Hill for physicians.
When Ringgold County committed to the establishment of a county hospital in 1949, Dr. Moffet, Dr. Hill, Dr. Matteson, of Grant City, and dentist, Dr. Charles Lawhead were leading the charge. Dr. Smith passed in 1953 and I don’t know when he retired. Dr. Hill passed away in 1961 and by that time, Dr. Duane Mitchell (1953) and Dr. Roy Fell (1955) had arrived.
Did you know Ringgold County Hospital administrator, Gordon Winkler, was hired June 1, 1987? That’s thirty-three years. Let’s compare his record with other administrators.
Our first administrator was Genevieve Greene and she lasted six months. She was making $4,800 annually and Decatur County Hospital offered her $6.300. She bailed in September 1951. Thanks, Genevieve.
Here is a partial list of administrators that followed: Sada Scott (1951), Helen Chase (1953), Louise Weisshaar, Charles Butterick (1958), William Johnstone (1960), Russell Boyd (1962), David Speer (1965), Delbert Wells (1969), Joe Rivera (1977), Jim Luft (1977), and Ken Reger (1985). Remember, this was a PARTIAL list!