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HEDDENS, Claus H., Dr. 1869-1930


Posted By: Tammy (email)
Date: 10/16/2012 at 11:18:01

Wellsburg Doctor Takes Own Life With A Shotgun

Dr. C. H. Heddens, Despondent Over Ill Health, Commits Suicide

Left No Message Giving Cause For Act

Had Been Practicing Medicine in Wellsburg For Thirty-Four Years

Dr. C. H. Heddens, widely known and popular doctor at Wellsburg, committed suicide at his home about 4:30 Thursday afternoon. He pressed the muzzle of a 12 gauge shotgun against his body at a point directly below the lower end of the breastbone. The entire charge of the shell entered the body and was embedded there. Death was instantaneous. The muzzle of the gun singed the clothing. It was so tightly pressed against the body that the report of the discharge of the gun was not heard by the doctor's wife, who was downstairs. Mrs. Heddens, who was at home alone at the time and who was at work in the kitchen, heard the body fall to the floor. She went upstairs at once and found the doctor lying on the floor in the hall near the door of the bathroom. She thought he had fainted or had suffered a stroke and she tried to revive him by applying cold water to his face. She saw the gun lying on the floor but thought it had fallen there from the jar resulting from the doctor's fall. Mrs. Heddens summoned neighbors at once and it was not until the body was examined more carefully that the gunshot wound was discovered.

County Coroner L. D. Coffman of Grundy Center was called. The evidence was conclusive that the doctor had committed suicide and no inquest was held.

Dr. Heddens' health had been below normal since he submitted to an operation for appendicitis last year. He expressed the fear at times that he might be afflicted with cancer. He also worried a great deal about a number of patients who died within the past month. It is believed worry over his own health and that of his patients was what lead to the suicide. He gave no other indications of his tragic intentions. Shortly before he took his own life he had made a call on a patient in the country. When he returned he put his car in the garage and went upstairs a few moments after he came into the house. He was there but a short time when Mrs. Heddens heard his body fall to the floor.

Dr. Heddens had a wide acquaintance in the northwest part of the county. He was a graduate of the Rush Medical college, Chicago. Shortly after his graduation he came to Wellsburg and engaged in the practice of his profession. That was thirty-four years ago and he continued at his post without any interruption excepting during the time he was in the hospital last year following his operation. He was engaged in the practice of medicine longer than any other physician in the county with one exception. For a number of years he had the northwest county field all to himself and his practice was sufficient to keep him continually occupied. During the many years he resided at Wellsburg he occupied several places of public trust and filled them all capably. He served as a member of the school board and as mayor of the town.

Dr. Heddens was 61 years old. He was married at Wellsburg to Evelyn Eells Sept. 4, 1901. There are four children: John, who is a graduate of the state university of Iowa and who has occupied a good position in a Chicago bank since his graduation; Gladys, who is a teacher of history and English in the Junior high school at Marshalltown; and Claude and Harry, who are students of the Wellsburg high school. There are three surviving brothers and one sister. The brothers are John F., Ralph and Jonse. The sister is Mrs. John Cook. The brothers and the sister reside at Charles City, Dr. Heddens' former home before coming to Wellsburg.

Funeral services were held at Wellsburg Monday afternoon and they were very largely attended.

Funeral services were held at the home at Wellsburg and later in the Reformed church with Rev. Landsiedel officiating. There was not room enough in the large church to seat the neighbors and friends who wished to attend the last rites. The Grundy County Medical Society of which Dr. Heddens had been a member for several years attended the last services in a body. All business in town was suspended during the funeral hours.

--The Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 5 June 1930, pg 1


Grundy Obituaries maintained by Tammy D. Mount.
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