After completing medical school, but two days prior to my graduation, I was married in Galveston to Reva Hackney, a 1953 graduate from U.T. School of Nursing in the B.S. Degree program. John Hutchinson, Charles Chamberlain, and John King served as groomsmen and Bob Lauderdale, Charles Williams, V.C. Saied and Earl Griffey were ushers.
After graduation on June 4th, with only a few short weeks of free time, I started a rotating internship at Robert B. Green City-County Hospital in San Antonio on July 1st, 1954. It was a very challenging internship with twelve other interns serving in rotation with only a few residents and attending staff physicians. I certainly received the experience in each area of medicine without "The Tiger," Poth, Jarvis, Blocker or any other professor directing my decisions or procedures. I couldn't have been more rewarded for that experience and training to start my career in medicine.
Immediately upon completion of my internship, I entered the U.S. Air Force as many of you did. I served two years as flight surgeon at Stewart Air Force Base in Newburgh, New York. Previous to reporting to Stewart AFB, I attended Flight Surgeon's School at Randolph AFB for two months where classmates Vic Schultze, L.E. Richey and Jack Norman were also making preparations to become flight surgeons. Reva and I lived directly above Vic and Peggy in an apartment complex, which made those two months more enjoyable.
I must say the drive through the states to NY was a special experience with our baby boy, but we enjoyed it and visited many points of interest. The autumn leaves were as beautiful as the tours suggest.
Upon arriving at Stewart AFB, I was on the flight line each day and took many scrambles in fighter jets (T-33) monthly. I treated pilots and dependants with two other doctors who reported the same day to treat the military and dependants. While we were stationed there, we had many visitors including Charles Chamberlain and V. C. Saied, who were both in Philadelphia. Many of our relatives visited, and we went into New York City almost every third weekend so that we felt we knew the city tour and river cruise well enough to be the tour director. But each time, we enjoyed a different scene, Broadway plays, or famous restaurant we had only heard about through others' travels.
Then, in July of 1957, I traveled back to Texas with my wife, son, and daughter feeling the temperature rise each mile south to our destination of Vernon, Texas. I was born and raised in Vernon where I graduated from Vernon High School before attending the University of Texas in Austin for Pre-Med.
I opened my general practice in Vernon on Aug. 2nd, 1957, in the Herring Building where I still practice going on 47 years. During the early years, I did surgery and deliveries. In fact, I have the distinction of having delivered more babies in Vernon than any other doctor who has ever practiced here.
I served in most every capacity where there is a need in a small town of 12,000 in population. I have served as city health officer, county health officer and every position on the Wilbarger General Hospital staff from president to medical director. I also was the president of the county medical society and Vernon High School Varsity Sports doctor for a number of years where I had the on-field advantage watching my son play football games at home and traveling with the team for out of town games. I belonged to TMA and AMA for many years, but never chose to become politically involved in either. I did complete the necessary hours and requirements to become a family practitioner in the American Academy of Family Practice and still attend medical meetings and seminars to meet the required number of CME hours. I also became the FFA medical director for the multi-county region and local surgeon for the Burlington-Northern Railroad Co. Through classmate Manly Bryan, I served as the Medicare-Medicaid physician director for TMF quality assurance at Wichita General Hospital and Bethania Regional Hospital in Wichita Falls, Texas, for a number of years.
Currently, I am practicing medicine daily at the same location (after several remodelings) with an office staff that all have long tenures with me. Although I have cut my office hours down and no longer take ER call, I continue to have a hospital practice and serve two nursing homes. I am still the medical director on the hospital staff and supervise the health care for my geriatric patients at convalescent centers. I also currently am the medical director at our local college where my son is the Dean of Student Services. Is this not the epitome of a small-town physician?
As far as my family life, Reva is still my right arm, my best friend, and my wife of 50 years. She even fills in at the office in all positions when we need her. We have both been active in practically every community activity and organization and social event. I've been a member of the Lions Club, past president and member of the Rotary Club, president of the Community Concert Association, Also I enjoy membership of the Masonic Lodge as a 32nd degree Mason, the Shriners, and the Jesters. I am an active member in our church, First Presbyterian of Vernon, as a deacon and an elder and have chaired and served on many committees within the church.
With our son and daughter both residing in Vernon, not only has my life been involved with my children, but also my grandchildren. Our son who graduated from the University of Texas is a Dean at the Vernon College. He and his wife of 26 years have two children, a daughter who is a junior at Texas Tech and a son who is a sophomore at Vernon High School. Our daughter is also a graduate of the University of Texas. She and her husband of 22 years have a daughter who is a freshman at the University of Texas, another daughter who is a sophomore at Vernon High School, and a son who is an 8th grader. We attended UT football games for about 6 years while our children were there and now we are repeating that pattern with grandchildren at UT and Texas Tech. It is really like reliving our lives watching the grandchildren's kid league baseball, basketball, soccer games and school tennis, volleyball, basketball and football games.
My family enjoys our close bonds, and we have taken many family trips together to enjoy the beach and snow ski. Reva and I have taken many trips across the U.S., Hawaii, Mexico, the Caribbean, South America, Europe, Scandinavia, and the Orient.
My hobbies are hunting and fishing and working on our ranch and farm about 25 miles northwest of Vernon.
We know that we have been blessed with a wonderful life and hope our fate remains positive. I still think of the many days in college and med school and regret that I haven't stayed in better touch with many of you. I am a very poor correspondent and will try to do better in the future. I am grateful for the enrichment of my family and my friends. I really am looking forward to our class reunion in Galveston.
John B. Hardin, Jr.
After graduation I interned with 107 others at Philadelphia General Hospital. A lot of hard work, but a great experience, medically. Then, came two years as a flight surgeon with the USAF. This was a great time, but terrible medically. I visited officers clubs in over 50 countries. Then came a year of general practice in Hillsboro, Texas, which I enjoyed but decided I wanted to specialize.
I returned to John Sealy in 1958 for 4 years of Residency, accidentally making a great decision to go into radiology. Radiology was all x-ray, then, with other modalities coming later. After a year in San Antonio in private practice, I returned to Houston where I've been ever since. My practice consisted of several small hospitals and a private office in the medical center. I was part-time staff at Baylor for about 5 years.
I bought Westbury Hospital in 1965 and operated it until 1970 when I sold to a public company, later merging with HCA. I discovered I liked entrepreneurial projects and started a development company, building multiple office buildings and shopping centers. I was director of radiology at Polly Ryon Hospital in Richmond for 25 years, leaving in 1989 to start outpatient imaging centers.
I developed out-patient centers in Houston and San Antonio and in 1996 sold to a public company, later becoming Chairman of the Board for about two years. In 1999, I bought all of our centers back. This was like taking our children back after they had been mistreated. We (my family) now have 10 centers in Houston, San Antonio and Beaumont, as well as two licensed ambulatory surgery centers and four pain centers. Please visit our website, www.usitexas.com.
Most of my family works with me to run the company (I have seven children and seventeen grandchildren). One son is CEO, another is COO, another is heat of IT, one of my daughters is Director of Billing & Collections and her husband is Director of Business Development. My oldest daughter is a CPA who worked in the company for many years but is now in California where she has developed five imaging centers in the last three years. Two other sons are in the Houston area; one is a chiropractor, and the other, a CPA.
Overall, my health is good. I still have some hair and most of my teeth! My wife and I play golf, tennis, we fish and hunt occasionally. We love to travel, mostly in Mexico and Belize. I have no plans or intentions of ever retiring.
In 2000, my wife and I started Caroline Creek Christian Camp 450 beautiful acres on the north end of Lake Livingston. Last year we hosted over 3,700 campers and anticipate 5,000 in 2004. Certainly our hope for the future is with our youth. Please visit our website, www.carolinacreek.org, or call if you want additional information about our ministry. I have been greatly blessed. My greatest assets are my wife and family (we have 9 children together), and most importantly, my relationship with God. The journey continues. I look forward to seeing you all in Galveston.
L.E. Richey '54
Billy Bob Trotter
After medical school I did a rotating internship at Denver General Hospital and while there, met and married Peggy. Peggy was a flight attendant for Continental Airlines. You may remember her roommate, Fannie Taylor. Peggy and I will celebrate our 49th year this May. We have four children, none of whom were interested in medicine. Katherine, an MFA. lives in San Antonio (2 children); Kristine, an excellent hausfrau, lives in Tulsa (2 children); Karole, a histotech, lives in Midland (one child); and Robert, who is trying to sell Macs in Dallas.
My residency in pathology began at UTMB. At that time I was still in the USNR and they called my up in late 1956. I managed to switch to the USAF, because they allowed me to do pathology at the Histopathology Center , Lackland AFB, in 1957 and 1958. I happened to run into L.E. Ritchey and John Saunders while I was there. After this stint, I finished my last year of residency at Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. Drs. Stembridge and Fallis had moved there from Galveston. A.B.C. Dowdey, a graduate student at UTMB when we knew him, was at that time also there doing a residency in pathology..
I began and have now ended my active pathology career here in Abilene. For many years I flew light aircraft to scattered cities and hospitals in West Texas. I still do a little photography and artwork, but Peggy and I have been very fortunate to travel all over this globe, including the Antarctic.. Our most recent trip was to the Amazon in Peru. I have only a limited professional position, Alternate Medical Authority of the Abilene-Taylor Heath Unit. I haven't done anything in this exalted position... yet.
I have had the opportunity to be the secretary and the president of my County Medical Society. I was for eight years on the Abilene Independent School District Board of Trustees, two years as president. I have been a delegate to the College of American Pathologists. Recently I've enjoyed being a member of The Association of Former Intelligence Officers. Yes, you wonder how. I was in a crypto unit in the USNR while I was in college. I have enjoyed going to the CIA and NRO for briefings. Obviously not very secret, but interesting.
Besides family and friends, one of the best things to happen to me was induction into The Philosophical Society of Texas. This society was started by Mirabeau B. Lamar, Sam Houston, et al. I see Dr. Bill Levin and Dr. Chester Burns at the meetings. I don't get to see enough of my old (!) UTMB buddies.
In McKinney, I became a family physician in a hospital with the only specialist an EENT and a surgeon. I delivered babies until the year both of my children were to graduate from college, and I wanted to be free to be there with them. My son became an Internal Medicine Specialist, a Hospitalist. My daughter became a Professor at Texas A & M IU in Laredo.
My last two years in practice were fun, as I traveled Texas and Colorado as a locum tenems.
My wife Jane and I live in our home of 35 years. I enjoy gardening, oil painting, playing hymns at church and on my organ and piano at home. At age 45, I took seven teenagers to learn scuba dive, and I jumped with them. Everyone in my family has been in the ocean with the fish and sting rays.
At the TAFP meeting in San Antonio I heard Ken Cooper speak on jogging, so at 40 ,I started running and I had fun jogging in 5 K races at Muenster for 20 years. Since surgery on my left foot, I exercise on the treadmill.
Greetings to all the fine graduates of UTMB of 1954. Thanks for your work in bringing better health to Texans.
Tom E. Linstrum, M D
After deciding I did not want to make the military a career, I left the service in 1963 to return to Emory University where I did an Internal Medicine residency and Cardiology fellowship. Following that I returned to my home in San Angelo and went into private practice with my father. He died rather suddenly in 1970 and then I had my practice plus his practice for the next 6 years. Although I took on a partner during this time, I was quite busy and can't say I enjoyed it a lot. I did take some time to go deer hunting in the Big Bend with classmate Bill Womack, however. Long days, 25-30 telephone calls a day, skipped meals, patients in 2 hospitals and more in nursing homes, many night calls and emergency room visits, plus I was on the San Angelo school board for 8 years.
In 1976, I was offered a position as Associate Professor of Medicine at Texas Tech School of Medicine in Lubbock. That was different and enjoyable, but my wife and I didn't really like the isolation and dust storms in Lubbock. After a year there I was offered a position at the VA Hospital in Temple to set up the Internal Medicine clerkships for the new Texas A & M College of Medicine. So we moved to Temple and for the next 16 years I was in charge of the Internal Medicine teaching service at the VA Hospital. When I retired in November 1993, I was the Associate Chief of Staff for Education at the VA and Professor of Medicine at Texas A & M College of Medicine. Classmate John T. Davis was a radiologist at the VA where I worked, and Bill Wagner was Chief of Staff at the Waco VA, and I would see them both frequently.
Since then I have played quite a bit of golf (made a hole in one in April 2000 at the Wildflower Country Club in Temple), done considerable yard work, served as president of Emeritus Medicus (a club of retired doctors in Temple), served as president of the Temple Library Board, cooked for Meals on Wheels, and done a lot of traveling with my wife. We frequently get together with classmates Stuart Nemir, K.P. Adams, Frank Dingwerth, Jim Rosborough, as well as Werner Stork and John Sessums before they died.
I suppose my major accomplishments would have to include my time on the school board in San Angelo, being president of the Tom Green County Medical Society (San Angelo), president of the Texas Club of Internists, receiving the Harriett Cunningham Award of the TMA for the best paper in Texas Medicine in 1982, being elected an Alumnus Member of Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society at UTMB in 1987, and receiving the Distinguished Teaching Award from Texas A & M University in 1986.
Peggy and I were married in Galveston in July 1952 (Irv Schweppe was my best man) and will celebrate our 52nd Anniversary this summer. We have 3 children; a daughter, Kim, who is an attorney in Oklahoma; a son, "Trey" (Victor III) who is a radiologist in San Angelo: and a younger son, Dowd, who is a CPA in Austin. We have 6 grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.
I am very thankful for the opportunity of attending UTMB and the start it gave me in my professional life. I have many connections to Galveston as my father was a 1928 graduate of UTMB, my mother was president of her UT Nursing School class, I as well as our two oldest children were born in John Sealy Hospital, and my wife is a long time Galvestonian.
Richard Bourgois & Family
Ina Yana Kin
In 1976, Joanne and I stayed in a casita of a patient of mine in a place south of Cancun called Akumal ("place of the turtle" in Maya). In March of that year, we bought one of the little casitas (880 sq. ft.) and began a love affair with the primitive, right-out-of-the-jungle, little fishing village of Akumal. Our casita is some 30 feet from Akumal bay.
From snorkling, we moved to scuba diving, and I, of course, fished a lot. In 1978, we bought a typical Mexican boat of 25 feet and an outboard manual start-motor. Now we don't dive but do read a lot, and we have a boat captain who takes care of the boat and does most of the labor in return for using the boat when we are not here. Capt. Luis - and now his two sons - have prospered as charter fisheremen.
Today, 28 years later, the entire coast has developed and we have good water, electricity most of the time. The 18 little casitas are larger, more modern, and we even have phones. Just two weeks ago, DSL lines for computers were added in each casita. Despite the evolution, Akumal remains the best "chill out" spot we have found on the earth.
Enough for now, I need to go fishing as my boat captain caught two Dorado mahi-mahi to 50 lbs and one sail fish yesterday - and it ain't even season for them!
Robert A and Joanne W. Lauderdale
Hi, 1954 Classmates!
Robert N. McClelland
Our oldest son Tim followed me as a urologist and is Chairman of Urology at Baylor Medical School in Houston.
I no longer do surgery but see old patients and do urology research for
a large GU group based in Fort Worth and Arlington.
Vilma asked "Are you going to write an X'mas note? Well, you know the answer. I didn't just start out doing it, however, but looked over several old newsletters. Then I noted the X'mas paper: "Winter Twilight Design" theme. That started me thinking.
I usually start with something way out there and, even at times, philosophical. Once in a speech, I showed a slide of a bottle of scotch. It was exactly half empty, but it was also half full. In keeping with the "Winter Twilight" thought, I now think more in terms of that bottle being half empty. Indeed it is way down. But we are blessed.
There are a lot of road signs showing that much time has passed, especially as we look at our children, Rod and Marlene. Rod's son is now a man, Conan. Marlene's son, Nicholas, has become a man too and is in the U.S. Air Force. Her daughter, Christina, hasn't finished high school (two years to go), but has distinguished herself as a marathon runner in Oklahoma. The Navy may sponsor her.
Well, we continue to live the good life. Mother's Day tomorrow at the City Club will be an eating frenzy [except for us with elevated Cholesterol and me with Diabetes]. There will be enough variety there, however, so that our Low Carb diet will be gourmet. At our age, medical news is important so here are the high points. (And it was fantastic, calories and all).
I was ready for my back operation (for my legs); scheduled to go Stateside. Vilma was star gazing and fell (actually watching fireworks). Her fractured tibia necessitated a change in venue. We decide to go to Oklahoma, rather than Miami, so as to rehab under my daughter's care. The fun was the two of us racing thru Houston Airport in wheelchairs, pushed at high speed. The down side was the two months in Oklahoma City counting icicles on the eves next door. We did have a good time with the family.
We are very active. Vilma is on the Board of Directors for Who's New in Panama. I am on the Board of The Association of the United States Army. We are retired from all other Board work but still remain active in the Elks, American Society, Navy League, Audubon and City Club. We have had the privilege of meeting and knowing three Ambassadors to Panama, as part of this spin-off. The American Society made me a Life member, presenting me a Silver Plaque. As well, Vilma and I enjoy a lot of events with our friends and family in Panama. Still, we miss our friends and family in the distant USA.
Panama remains and interesting and beautiful place and we are always hoping for your visit. The City is well seen from our 12th floor. It is growing and changing even as we speak. It is now a modern metropolis with many high rises, but we can see the green forest in the mountains to our North, East, and West. We see the ocean and islands looking South. We travel to the Interior regularly. The Canal is in view from our window and is alive and well.
Merry X'mas and Happy Reunion - we'll be there!
- Wallace M. Snyder
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