Sunday, July 17, 2011

Eulogies for Drs. Squires, Ray, Lassiter, Sadelson, and Walker, 1919

Eulogies were offered for five physicians at the April, 1919, meeting of the State Medical Society. James Williamson Squires and John Edwin Ray Jr., died in the war; Edgar W. Lassiter and George Heman Sadelson, died of the flu; and Dr. Charles E. Walker, died unexpectedly. In all, North Carolina lost seven doctors in World War I and 17 during the flu pandemic.
James Williamson Squires
By Dr. Robert H. Lafferty, Charlotte
“Captain Squires fulfilled my ideal of the Southern gentleman” was the remark made to me a few weeks ago in New York by a young roentgenologist who was associated with him “over there.”
Born of a stock of fighters, James Williamson Squires throughout his life was a fighter. First, since, like most Southern boys, he had little money, he fought for his education, and he won. Then he fought with unlimited energy and enthusiasm for success and a reputation as a roentgenologist, and he won. Then he fought to save the lives of our boys injured in the terrible war, and no one knows how often he won. He fought a brave fight in his last illness and, at first, he won. Even in the relapse the last thing he said to his Colonel was, “We will win out yet,” and we pause to ask, Did he not win? His reward? “Well done, good and faithful servant”; “Soldier, rest, thy warfare’s o’er.” But while he won, we have lost—lost a friend, an ardent and enthusiastic member and physician and roentgenologist, who was always interested in the advancement of medicine and the progress of science.
Dr. Squires was born at Matthews, N.C., November 2, 1888. He graduated from the Charlotte High School in May, 1906, and although he spent most of his afternoons at work, he led his class. In 1911 he graduated with the degree of Doctor of Medicine from the North Carolina Medical College, and after additional work at Johns Hopkins and Rockefeller Institute, he became associated with his uncle, Dr. A.J. Crowell, in Charlotte. He was married in 1912 to Miss Eunice Jeffries of the same city.
In 1913, after special work under some of the best roentgenologists in this country, he decided to give his entire time to this specialty, and it was as roentgenologist for the Yale Mobile Hospital No. 39 that he was serving his country in France at the time of his death, December 16, 1918.
As a roentgenologist, he ranked with the best men of his country, and he spared no energy in working and developing his line of work in this section of the south. When the call came to arms he was ready, and having received his commission as captain, he left for Fort Oglethorpe June 16, 1917. From there he was transferred to the X-ray school in New York, and sailed for Europe the 21st of August, the very day his second son was born.
Many and glowing reports came to us of his work overseas. His ceaseless activity, his unlimited energy, his enthusiasm, and withal, his gentlemanly bearing, made him a favorite with the unit with which he worked.
Far away in the sunny land of France, still desolate from savage hordes, there are many graves tended by the grateful hands of the maids of old France in recognition of the great service rendered them. But there is one mound upon which we would to-day shed a tear, for our friend was there laid to rest.
Edgar W. Lassiter
By Dr. Mahlon Bolton, Rich Square
Dr. Edgar W. Lassiter was born at Rich Square, N.C., November 9, 1880. He was educated in the local schools and Trinity College, Durham, from which institute he graduated June 1901, with the degree of A.B. In the fall of 1901 he entered the Medical Department of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, where he pursued his medical course for two years. On account of the failing health of his father he was detained at home to look after his extensive business and did not return to college in the fall of 1903.
On February 10, 1904, he was married to Miss Mary Vann, of Rich Square, who, with two bright little girls, survives him. His mother, for many years an invalid, is still living.
After his father’s death he decided to finish his medical course, and January, 1906, he went to the University Medical School, Richmond, Virginia, and graduated there in June, 1908. He passed the State Board the same year and joined the State Society. He located in his home town for the practice of his profession, where he enjoyed the confidence and esteem of all the people.
On October 5, 1918, he was stricken with influenza, which was soon complicated by pneumonia, and he died October 12th. The epidemic was on in his community and he was untiring in his attention to his patients, and it can be truly said that he was a martyr to his fidelity to duty.
He was a useful, public-spirited citizen, as well as a kind, cultured and progressive physician, and no man has died in this community whose going was more universally mourned than Dr. Lassiter’s.
George Heman Sadelson
By Dr. J.G. Johnston, Charlotte
George Heman Sadelson was born May 3, 1854, at Lockport, N.Y. His parents were Samuel and Sophronia Sadelson. His preliminary education was obtained in the Lockport Union High School, and his medical education was at Buffalo Medical College, from which he graduated in 1877 with high honors. Following his graduation, he located at Charlotte, Niagara County, N.Y., where he practiced for three years. At this time, 1880, he moved to Wilson, N.Y., where he remained one year. During his last year in college his health was not good, and under the urgent demands of a large general practice it broke down completely, making it necessary for him to seek a change of climate in search of health. With this end in view he came south, stopping in the section now known as Southern Pines, arriving there in February, 1881. Although quite frail at this time he soon began to improve, and in the following November was joined by his wife, who ever cheered him on and encouraged him in his fight for life and health. He lived in this vicinity for about 17 years, when his health was sufficiently restored for him to begin work again. So far as we know, Dr. Sadelson was among the very first of those going into this region in search of health, and to him more than to any other man belongs the credit of first bringing into prominence the Southern Pines vicinity as a health resort. Going there as he did, with health shattered, he regained his strength in this salubrious climate to such an extent as to enable him to do his full share in the world’s work. As a health resort, Southern Pines is, in reality, a memorial to Dr. G.H. Sandelson.
In 1907 he moved to Charlotte, N.C., and again resumed the practice of medicine having in the meantime made a special study of skin diseases, and from that time to the date of his death, in February, 1919, his whole time was devoted to dermatology. Being of a naturally bright mind he made quite a success of his work, and if he was more interested in one phase of it than another, the favored part must have been prevention. Often have I known him, in prescribing and treating patients, to notice some small thing that to them appeared quite insignificant, but to his trained eye was a forerunner of trouble, and spend much time in explaining this condition and advising them to have it attended to at once.
Dr. Sadelson was a home man, if I may use the expression. He was fond of his home and enjoyed spending as much time there as he could. Being a great reader, as well as a liberal buyer of books, he had much at home to make the time pass pleasantly. His home life was ideal. He was married the year after graduation to Miss Estelle Skinner, who, with three children, two boys and one girl, survives him.
Dr. Sadelson was an upright, conscientious, Christian man, ever ready to do his part for the common good, whether in church or State. At the time of his death he was a teacher in his Sunday school, teaching a class of young ladies—a Philathea class.
He was devoted to his profession and when it was possible always attended the meetings of the medical society, both county and State, and at various times contributed papers to these bodies that commanded attention and showed deep and thorough work in their preparation.
Modest and retiring, one was apt to overlook his true worth, but to the person who would take the trouble to look for it the worth was always there and, once discovered, he had made a lasting friend.
As a friend, Dr. Sandelson was genial, devoted, and always ready and willing to do all that he lay in his power to help, and when the Angel of Death beckoned him to the other shore, those of us who had the privilege of knowing him well felt indeed that we had lost a friend. During the early part of February he had an attack of influenza, and on the 10th quietly passed away, in the bosom of his family.
Kind friend, we bid you a last, a long farewell, and hope that when we have served oru time here we may be deemed worthy to greet you in a fairer and happier land.
Dr. Charles E. Walker
By Dr. R.L. Gibbon, Charlotte
In these latter years the world has become accustomed to the destruction of human life, whether by war, disease, or accident, on a scale never known before to this generation, and no doubt unknown for many previous generations. There have been times of late when the life or death of the individual has been held lightly in comparison with the attainment of a great purpose, and in the general misery and anxiety of mankind, a mere man sank beneath the surface with hardly a ripple to mark his absence from the theatre of world activities. This was and is probably much more true of other countries than of ourselves, who have been spared by a beneficent Providence the full weight of a world calamity.
Nevertheless, as medical men, we still uphold the sanctity of human life, and fail not in our loyalty to the memory of beloved friends and confreres who have preceded us to that mysterious retreat whence no traveler returns. We would acclaim the life-conserver rather than the life-destroyer, although it is not infrequently happens that the latter received far more of popular appreciation.
The subject of these remarks, Dr. Charles Edgar Walker of Charlotte, North Carolina, the memory of whose life and deeds we would affectionately preserve in the records of this Society, was one of the large class of general practitioners in our State who, of quiet and unassuming manner, labor unceasingly in the interests of their communities; of robust physique, he was prodigious in his ministrations. Patient and sympathetic toward every class of society, he was essentially human in his viewpoint and never forgot the man in his interest in the disease. An extensive practice and the affection of a multitude of people attest the success of his efforts.
In his professional relations he was always “fair and square,” and was particularly considerate in his association with the younger men of his profession.
Dr. Walker was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, on July 3, 1867, his parents later moving to Huntersville, where his boyhood was passed. He attended the academic department of Davidson College two years, and then began the study of medicine under Dr. Paul Barringer, who at that time had a preparatory medical school at Davidson. He later received his diploma in medicine from the University of Maryland.
From the time of his graduation until the year 1901, when he moved to Charlotte, he practiced his profession in Huntersville and the adjacent country.
He was married in 1894 to Miss Minnie Harry, who, with three daughters, survives, to mourn the loss of an affectionate husband and father.
Dr. Walker died suddenly, on November 8, 1918, while in attendance upon a joint meeting of the Medical Advisory boards which was being addressed by Dr. A.W. Knox of Raleigh, the cause of death most probably being acute dilation of the heart, some symptoms of which he had previously exhibited.
During the greater part of the war, he served faithfully on the District Advisory Board, and while just and considerate, always, he permitted no slackers or trivialities to interfere with the interests of the Government.
It was fitting, however shocking to relatives and friends, that his transition should come quickly, in the midst of the activities and labors which he loved so well, and while serving his country in her hour of distress.
John Edwin Ray Jr.
John Edwin Ray Jr., second son of John E. and Finie Carter Ray, was born at Hendersonville, N.C., on November 29, 1888. His boyhood education was received at the public schools of Raleigh and the Raleigh Male Academy. He graduated at Wake Forest College with the degree of A.B. in 1908; and in September 1909, entered the Medical Department of the University of North Carolina, took the two years course there and then went to Cornell Medical School, from which he was graduated with high honors in June, 1912.
In a competitive examination of graduates of the leading medical schools of the country, he won first honors and his choice of internship at Bellevue Hospital, New York city. He spent two years in that institution, during the last six months of which he was house surgeon—a most valuable experience and training for his future career.
In 1914 he returned to Raleigh for the practice of his profession, specializing in general surgery, and quickly won the confidence, respect, and esteem of his professional brethren and the general public. He was a member of the Raleigh Academy of Medicine, the Wake County Medical Society, and the State Medical Society, and later was appointed as visiting surgeon on the staff of Rex Hospital.
In May, 1916, he received his commission as first lieutenant of the North Carolina National Guard and six weeks later reported for active duty, going with his organization to Camp Glenn, N.C. In the following September they were ordered to the Mexican border, being quartered at Camp Stewart, Texas. While there he acted as chief surgeon in the hospital established at Fort Bliss. He was transferred to the Second North Carolina Regiment, which was not mustered out of service but was stationed in eastern Carolina, with headquarters at New Bern. In August, 1917, they were sent to Camp Sevier, Greenville, S.C., where they became the 119th U.S. Infantry. In the following spring (1918) he was made captain and was transferred to the 105th Field Signal Battalion, with which organization he sailed for France last May. Later, at his own request, he was transferred to his old unit, the 119th Infantry, and it was while serving his men on the old Hindenburg line that he was wounded, September 30th, by a fragment of high explosive shell which struck him on the region of the upper thigh. He was carried to the 74th General Hospital, A.E.F., at Trouville, France, and passed away five days later on Saturday, October 5, 1918, at 4:20 a.m. He was buried at Trouville on Monday, October 7th, with full military honors.
The following citation for acts of meritorious conduct described was published to the command:
John E. Ray, Medical Corps 119th Infantry
During the attack on the Bellecourt area, 29th September, 1918, Captain Ray administered first aid to many of our own and the enemy wounded, helpless under heavy shell and machine gun fire. He established his aid post in the front line trench and maintained it with the front line troops on their advance. It was during this time that he was severely wounded and died a few hours later. His exceptional bravery and devotion to duty are worthy of utmost praise.
Captain Ray was awarded, posthumously, the British military medal and the Distinguished Service Cross. He was descended from a line of noble ancestors, who fought to establish the freedom of our own country. Modest, manly, unswerving in devotion to his high ideal of duty, he made the supreme sacrifice for his country and laid down his life in the cause of humanity and righteousness. To his family and friends and to this Society of his professional brethren he left the high heritage of unselfish courage and untarnished name. He sleeps in France among the heroic thousands of his countrymen who fell, as he fell, fighting for the triumph of right against might.
Let us not mourn for him but stand erect with uplifted head when we speak his name, and a smile of pride for the manly part he bore.
From Transactions: Medical Society of the State of North Carolina, 1919, published by the Medical Society of the State of N.C. and online at

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