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SWALE, Clarence M., M.D. (ca. 1916)


Posted By: Jennifer Gunderson (email)
Date: 3/21/2021 at 20:03:54


Dr. Clarence M. Swale, who died on the 21st of March, 1915, was a physician of Mason City whose life was crowned with the honor and respect of all who knew him. He won prominence in his profession in northern Iowa and made his life of great benefit to his fellowmen. His birth occurred in Fayette county, this state, July 5, 1871, and he came of English and Scotch ancestry. His father, Thomas Swale, had a family of nine children who reached adult age. The early experiences of Dr. Swale were such as usually fall to the farm-bred boy and after mastering the branches of learning taught in the district schools he went to West Union, where he pursued a high-school course. Subsequently he taught in the country schools for two years and later attended the Upper Iowa University at Fayette. His professional ability and the worth of his character were early shown forth.

In young manhood he decided to make the practice of medicine his life work and he allowed nothing to swerve him from the course that he had marked out. He believed that what others had done he could do if he made the proper effort, and in his vocabulary there was no such word as fail. He early came to a recognition of the fact that industry wins and he made industry the beacon light of his life. Under the direction of Dr. S. E. Robinson, of West Union, he began reading medicine and in the spring of 1891 he matriculated in Rush Medical College of Chicago, while during the summer seasons he went to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, where he did hospital work under the direction of Dr. C. W. Oviatt. He completed his course of study in the Rush Medical College, from which institution he was graduated in 1895 with the degree of M. D. His ability was recognized by Dr. J. B. Murphy, one of the most eminent practitioners of Chicago, who made him an intern at the Alexian Brothers Hospital, where he remained for two years, during which time he was first assistant to Dr. Murphy for a period of eighteen months, and at the same time he also engaged to some extent in general medical practice in Chicago.

Dr. Swale opened an office in the Times building of Mason City in connection with Dr. C. L. Marston and as the years went on gained distinction among the eminent physicians and surgeons of northern Iowa, constantly enhancing his skill by his broad study and investigation. In 1899 he went to Europe and spent several months in the leading hospitals of London, Paris, Berlin and Copenhagen. He became associated with several other physicians in establishing and conducting the City Park Hospital, occupying the second and third floors of the Times building in Mason City. He was elected president of the Park Hospital Building Association and continued in that position to the time of his death. He belonged to the Cerro Gordo County, the Iowa State, the Austin Flint Cedar Valley and the American Medical Associations. In his fraternal relations he was a Knight of Pythias, an Elk and also a representative of the Modern Brotherhood of America and the Yeomen.

On the 27th of January, 1904, Dr. Swale was united in marriage to Miss Lillian Gamidge and they became parents of two sons, Douglas Gamidge and Clarence Milton, but the latter died in infancy. Dr. Swale was most devoted to his family and he regarded the ties of friendship as inviolable.

Of him it was written: “Dr. Swale had little use for petty thoughts that occupy small minds concerning the non-essentials of creed and doctrine. In the essentials of a clean, honest life he was true as steel. Cant and conformity for the sake of conformity he despised. In thought, in conduct and in affection he was true to the Saviour's teachings, and he was broadly tolerant of other people's honest views, as all great souls are.” At the time of his demise one of the local papers said editorially: “A keen and genuine sorrow visited Mason City when the announcement was made at the various churches of the city yesterday that Dr. Clarence M. Swale had passed away. Mason City is in mourning because a man, a true man, a man of exceptional ability in his chosen profession and a man who was loved and respected by the people of the entire community, has said goodbye to his friends and has passed en to his long home. While Dr. Swale had been dangerously ill, there was the hope that he would be able to master the disease and recover. His friends were hardly ready for the shock which came when the announcement was made. Everywhere in the city yesterday practically the conversation was concerning Dr. Swale. A man would have to be above the ordinary in great qualities to have deserved the tributes which were paid in practically every home, every place of meeting and on the street, where two or more passed. The news seemed to be upon every lip and the man in every heart. In addition to his skill in the sick room or on the operating table Dr. Swale had the qualifications of good fellowship. He was well versed in current affairs and in the topics in which people are interested.

He was a genuine believer in clean sports and the students of the high school had no better champion for their athletic events than Dr. Swale. He was broad-minded in his beliefs and his practices. He made friends because he liked to have friends and he understood the secret of keeping them.”

Dr. Swale did not display that quality which leads the individual to greet everyone as a valued friend, but he had the keenest desire for the welfare and happiness of others and put forth his efforts for good where assistance was most needed. He had many traits admirable and worthy of all praise, and the universality of his friendships interprets for us his intellectual hospitality and the breadth of his sympathy, for nothing was foreign to him that concerned his fellowmen.

Source: Brigham, Johnson. Iowa : its history and its foremost citizens. Chicago : S.J. Clarke Pub. Co., 1916. Transcribed by Jennifer Gunderson (Mar 2021).


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