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McDOWELL, William O., Dr. 1876-1956


Posted By: Tammy (email)
Date: 11/13/2016 at 21:17:00

Practiced Medicine For 55 Years--Dr. W. O. McDowell Dies

Dr. W. O. McDowell, who had been a practicing physician in Grundy Center 53 years, died suddenly at his home in Grundy Center about 8:30 Thursday evening. He had been in apparent good health and was visiting with his family when he was suddenly taken ill and death came within less than a half-hour from a heart seizure. He was 80 years old on November 23.

Dr. McDowell was born in Waterloo, Nov. 23, 1876, and he grew up there. After graduating from the high school he attended the State University of Iowa for two years. From the Iowa University he went to Chicago where he entered Rush Medical College where he received his Doctor's degree.

He began the practice of medicine in Shell Rock, Iowa, where he remained for two years. At the end of that time he purchased the interest of Dr. McAlvin in the firm of McAlvin & Thielen, practicing physicians in Grundy Center. The partnership of Thielen & McDowell continued until the death of Dr. Thielen, ten years ago. The doctor firm remained in the same offices during all the years of the partnership.

No other doctor in Grundy county's history has been engaged in the practice of his profession for as many years as Dr. McDowell. During the early years and during the horse and buggy days a country doctor often had to do much of his sleeping in his vehicle, as there were not enough hours during the day and the night for resting in his bed. Much of a country doctor's time during those early years was spent on the roads.

While he kept no accurate record of the number of babies he helped to bring into the world, the number would make a town about the size of Grundy Center. More than one-half of the number of babies attended by Dr. McDowell are no longer living.

For a number of years Drs. Thielen & McDowell maintained a small hospital in one of the large homes in Grundy Center. It was the first and the only hospital in the county. Since the death of his partner, Dr. McDowell carried on the practice alone. He had plans made for semi-retirement by moving his office to his home which he recently purchased.

Active in Civic Matters
Dr. McDowell was active in civic matters during most of the years he resided in Grundy Center. He was very much interested in our schools and served on the school board for 18 years. He helped to establish the library in Grundy Center, and was a member of the library board for 12 years. He was very active in church work and for a number of years was an elder in the First Presbyterian church. He was a member of the Grundy Center city council a number of years. He was past president of the Grundy Community club and was a charter member and one of the organizers of the Grundy Rotary club, and he assisted in the organization of the Grundy Golf & Country Club. Dr. McDowell was a lover of outdoor life and devoted as much of his time as he could spare from his practice in maintaining a large yard and garden and he spent several of his summer vacations fishing on Minnesota lakes.

Dr. McDowell lived a long and active and useful life. He was a credit to his profession and no one could give more of his time and energy to make his community a good place to live and to bring up a family.

Funeral Services Saturday
Funeral services were held Saturday afternoon at two o'clock in First Presbyterian church in Grundy Center. Rev. Gerben Van Putten officiated at the service. Burial was in the Grundy Center cemetery.

Surviving are the widow, three sons and one daughter. The sons are: William, Evanston, Ill.; James, Northbrook, Ill., and Robert of Cincinnati. The daughter Harriette, Mrs. Louis Long, resides in Los Angeles. There are six surviving grandchildren.

--The Grundy Register (Grundy Center, Iowa), 3 January 1957, pg 1, 8


Grundy Obituaries maintained by Tammy D. Mount.
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