50YearswithMee Sep12.indd 1
9/14/12 2:19 PM
FINANCIAL SOLUTIONS “Congratulations on 50 years.
Buttgereit-Pettitt & Davis Agency
Thank you to all the doctors, nurses, employees, volunteers, board of directors, and community supporters who made it possible!”
www.bpdrealestate.com DRE# 00457349
“Congratulations to the Medical Staff and the Employees of George L. Mee Memorial for 50 years of providing excellent healthcare to Southern Monterey County.”
Insurance and Financial Services Agent 121 N. Vanderhurst Ave. King City, CA 93930 CA Ins Lic No: 0F10041
Residential • Commercial Agriculture Sales • Foreclosures Short Sale & Property Management 121 N. Vanderhurst Ave. King City, CA 93930
PH: 385-4831 FX: 385-3950
Member: Monterey County MLS Not associated with the government, and our service is not approved by the government or your lender. Even if you accept this offer and use our service, your lender may not agree to change your loan.
831-385-4831 Offering: Mutual Funds, Variable Universal Life, Variable Annuities, IRAs, 401(k)s, Roth IRAs, 401(k) Rollovers, College Savings, Estate Protection
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Board of Trustees
Janet Buttgereit Chairwoman, Board of Trustees
Roy Schindelheim M.D. Vice Chairman
ear Friends and Neighbors, Can it be 50 years? Yes, this year we are celebrating and commemorating Mee Memorial Hospital’s golden anniversary. We have been celebrating this anniversary with the people who helped to bring it to life and who contributed to its invaluable presence in our community, culminating with our Gala Saturday, Oct. 6. I hope you can be there. Dr. L. M. Andrus was a long-time and wellrespected physician in King City. His son, Dr. L. H. Andrus, had returned to the community after schooling and practicing medicine elsewhere. The father-son team led the campaign for the new structure. The Andrus family donated the land and the fundraising began. Construction was partially secured from by the federal Hill-Burton bill. The balance of the money needed came from a community campaign headed by local newspaperman Harry Casey, James Pettitt, Emilio Pasque, Gene Rianda, Al Kaiser, Julius Trescony and countless others. Doctors from the local clinic were instrumental in supporting the new venture, not only monetarily but with their strong assistance. Drs. Duane Hyde, Thomas Elliott, William Goenne, Alan Fisher and James Nash helped open the facility and most stayed for the rest of their careers. The final $150,000 in funds was donated by mother-son Myrtle and Tom Mee, local ranchers, who sold a valuable herd of cattle to make the goal. The hospital was named in memory of Myrtle’s husband, George L. Mee.
Sarah Nash Trustee
Paulette Bumbalough Trustee
Chief Executive Officer
During the 50 years at the Canal Street site, there have been many additions to the facility – new clinic buildings, a heavily used dialysis center and the “new hospital” which was opened in 2001, with the second floor completed six years later. In addition, a new Mee Greenfield clinic opened in 1997. Many local families and our generous local organizations have given millions over the years to keep the facility moving forward. The Mee Memorial Hospital Foundation was founded in the late ‘60s to support the local hospital and two decades later, after it had lain dormant for a few years, was revitalized and today has an active and involved board. Alongside the Foundation is the Service League, formerly known as Pink Ladies, who give countless volunteer hours and tens of thousands of dollars to YOUR hospital. The hospital is a vital asset for the Southern Monterey County. It is the only hospital in a 50mile radius. The legacy of a community that knew a medical facility was a necessity lives today in the people of SoMoCo. For the gala, employees and supporters of Mee Memorial will gather for a celebration at the Salinas Valley Fairgrounds. Members of the Andrus family will be in attendance to speak about the foresight and dedication of the founders. Retired employees and doctors have generously shared memories in video histories. Story Boards outlining the progression of Mee Memorial will be on hand. This will be an evening as golden as the anniversary of George L. Mee Memorial Hospital. Janet Buttgereit Chairwoman
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Congratulations to George L. Mee Memorial Hospital On 50 Years of Service to the South Monterey County Community
KING CITY YOUNG FARMERS is Proud to Support Mee Memorial Hospital Congratulations on 50 years of service to our community.
The Soledad Community Health Care District Eden Valley Care Center The Soledad Medical Clinic Soledad, California
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Dear Mee Memorial Hospital Friends and Supporters,
The political, economic, social and healthcare environments have changed significantly during the last 50 years (1962-2012). Many of these changes have greatly impacted the operation and organization of Mee Memorial Hospital. Below are a few major events and the timeline during the last 50 years: Lex Smith
Chief Executive Officer
Throughout the major events listed (and many more not listed), Mee Memorial Hospital has provided continuous quality healthcare services to our patients, families and citizens in Southern Monterey County. In 1962, the newly opened Mee Memorial Hospital replaced the Southern Monterey County Memorial Hospital. The Pre-1962 Hospital was a 22 bed facility. The current Mee Memorial Hospital is a 119 bed, not-for–profit community hospital providing services to approximately 40,000 residents in Southern Monterey County. The hospital includes Acute Care, Skilled Nursing, Obstetrics, ICU, 24-hour emergency Department, Comprehensive Imaging Department and Surgery Suite. In addition, the hospital operates five medical clinics in Greenfield and King City, outpatient Dialysis and Rehabilitation Services. Mee Memorial Hospital has achieved the highest standard of accreditation and quality demonstration from the Joint Commission for not only the hospital but also Laboratory and Dialysis services. Mee Memorial Hospital continues to evolve with the changes in the political, economic, social and healthcare environments. The hospital is positioned to continuously meet the healthcare needs of the communities we serve. Thank you for your support over the last 50 years and we look forward to your continued support. Lex Smith, FACHE Chief Executive Officer
1963 1964 1965 1967 1969 1971 1972 1973 1981 1988 1991 1992 1994 2001 2003
2007 2008-2009 2010 2012 Nov. 6, 2012
John F. Kennedy inaugurated as President Cuban Missile Crisis John F. Kennedy assassinated Dr. Martin Luther King gives “I Have a Dream” speech Civil Rights Act signed US begins military presence in Vietnam Medicare and Medicaid Programs signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson with former President Harry Truman at his side CAT scan developed Neil Armstrong first human to walk on Moon Richard Nixon inaugurated as President Equal Rights Amendment passed in Congress US withdraws from Vietnam Watergate scandal and impeachment of President Nixon Ronald Reagan is inaugurated as President Berlin Wall falls World wide web developed and first web server released Bill Clinton inaugurated as President President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton’s major health care reform for national health insurance is defeated Nearly 3,000 Americans are killed in a terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York City on September 11, 2001 Scientists complete a 13-year effort to identify all human genes and determine the complete sequence at the 3 billion DNA subunits Most significant change to Medicare adding outpatient prescription drug benefit signed by President George W. Bush The American Cancer Society announces that cancer deaths have declined in the U.S. for 2 consecutive years. Healthcare issues are major emphasis at Presidential election between Barack Obama and John McCain. Barack Obama elected and inaugurated as President. Affordable Care Act signed by President Barack Obama. Law puts in place comprehensive health insurance reforms to be implemented 2012-2016. U.S. Supreme Court rules by 5-4 upholding Accountable Care Act as constitutional. Presidential election between President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney -- Medicare and Affordable Care Act become a major election issue.
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We proudly congratulate Mee Memorial Hospital and its staff, management and physicians for 50 years of quality healthcare service to Southern Monterey County.
George L. Mee Memorial Hospital on 50 years of quality medical services.
Best wishes for the next 50 years!
Duggan Smith and Heath LLP is a full service business law firm serving Central California and the coastal areas. Contact us at 805-546-2060 or visit our website: www.dshlawfirm.com.
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King City Rustler | Greenfield News | Soledad Bee | Gonzales Tribune South County Yellow Pages
We wish to congratulate George L. Mee Memorial Hospital on 50 years of serving the Community.
To everyone who plays a part in making George L. Mee Memorial Hospital a success, we thank you for all your hard work, dedication and service.
522-A Broadway, King City Ph: 831-385-4880 Fx: 831-385-4799 Page 6 | A Publication of South County Newspapers |
Mee Memorial Hospital Then and Now
50 Far Left:The first King City Hospital opened in 1941.
Left:Mee Memorial Hospital admitted patients Oct. 1, 1962 Below: The newest iteration of Mee Memorial is adjacent to the 1962 hospital and was completed in 2001.
World War II had not yet begun, when in 1941 the first full-fledged hospital opened in King City thanks to the tenacity and dedication of a small cadre of physicians, led by Dr. L.M. Andrus. This 22-bed, single-story facility on Broadway (where King City True Value Hardware is now located), was known as the Southern Monterey County Memorial Hospital. During its more than 20-year existence, it was the place where thousands of babies were born and hundreds of lives saved. A small town hospital is greatly appreciated by its residents. It is still the only hospital within 50 miles and serves an area of several thousand square miles. In 1962, community fundraising for a more modern hospital culminated when rancher Tom Mee generously gave all the proceeds from a cattle sale, more than $150,000, to put the campaign over the top. Tom Mee requested that the hospital, which was built on Canal Street on land donated by Dr. L.M. Andrus, be named after his late father, George L. Mee, hence Mee Memorial Hospital. The present hospital was built adjacent to that 1960â€™s facility and was completed in 2001 and is the core of Mee Memorial Hospital in Southern Monterey County. Also included are comprehensive and specialty medical clinics in King City and Greenfield. In 2007, the second floor of the hospital, which had been â€œroughed inâ€? during the initial construction, was finished. Throughout the changes and growth, Mee Memorial continues to provide all the residents of South County with highly personalized care, stateof-the-art medical technology and a knowledgeable professional staff. Strong community sup-
port continues led by a dedicated Service League, committed Board of Trustees and diligent Foundation that over the decades has raised several million dollars for the hospital. With an experienced and dedicated management team and progressive and responsible Board of Trustees, Mee Memorial continues to expand its physician base, augment its technology and equipment, promote the hospital and its services and continue seeking beneficial partnerships within the medical field and community-at-large. The following statistics highlight the scope and breadth of services at Mee Memorial: in 2011 the hospital staff handled more than 40,000 in-patient and out-patient admissions; enjoyed an average census of 84 patients; delivered 555 babies, and its 500 full-time employees earned more than $2.2 million per month in salary. More than 25 physicians provide primary care and health care examinations, with specialists on staff, or rotating through the clinics on a regular basis.
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How Mee Got Its name Editor’s Note: Harry Casey, then publisher of The Rustler, wrote this column in 1982, on Mee Memorial’s 20th anniversary. He was one of the instrumental people who made Mee happen and was a member of the new hospital board.
This week marks 20 years of service
to SoMoCo by George L. Mee Memorial Hospital. Establishment of the hospital here, which has served thousands of residents, aided and comforted the sick and injured, and continues to be a major asset for King City and SoMoCo, played a large role in my life and that of this newspaper two score years ago. Lately, the hospital has been much in the news and oft-time unjustly maligned. Politics completely aside, consider the value of our hospital to this area without it – as so many small rural communities must do without a hospital – and you have to appreciate Mee Memorial. I was very proud to have been involved personally in those early planning years and for The Rustler to have played a strong role in promoting the hospital. It was E.L. (Gene) Rianda who came to me first to discuss the possibilities of a new hospital here. I met with Gene and Doc Andrus and was sold. The other two early-on enthusiasts were Al Kaiser and Dr. Len Hughes Andrus. We formed an organization and made a plan. It seemed like the planning stages took several years. Raising the money was the big thing. In 1959 we applied for $573,280 in state and federal funds for hospital construction through the Hill-Burton Act, which recognized the need for hospitals to serve rural areas such as ours. But we had to raise $286,640 locally first in order to qualify. People of SoMoCo were great and voluntary contributions, donations and pledges mounted up as the fund drive progressed. But – with only a couple of weeks before the deadline – we were still $150,000 short. And that’s how George L. Mee Memorial Hospi-
tal got its name. Hughes Andrus, Jim Pettitt and I took Tom Mee to lunch at Keefer’s, then on Broadway. We hoped to convince Tom that he should contribute $25,000 to memorialize his late father, George of the Peach Tree Mee ranch. Twenty-five thousand dollars happened to be the cost of constructing a room. Hughes and Jim made eloquent pitches and Tom was very attentive. I can’t remember contributing much to the conversation because talking about anything more than a $10 bill in those days made me very nervous. Jim and Hughes explained the need for the hospital, the construction costs and suggested memorializing a room. About then Tom leaned forward and asked, “How much for the whole thing? How much to put your fund drive over the top?” Jim answered, “$150,000.” Tom answered, “You got it, buddy boy.” And that was it. He subsequently sold the purebred cattle herd and the money went into hospital construction. We were happy to meet the Hill-Burton deadline and, in gratitude, named the hospital after George Mee, one of the state’s leading cattlemen of his time. Needless to say, I shared the happiness and enthusiasm of my colleagues after that luncheon. On my way home, I stopped off to visit my grandmother and business partner of those days, Sarah Vivian. “Well, gran’ma,” I exclaimed, “We put the hospital fund drive over the top today. One man gave the entire $150,000 that we needed.” “Oh,” said gran’ma. “Who?” “Mee!” I answered. “You!” gasped gran’ma. And she passed out.
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In Memory of Leopold Graupera M.D.
King City RADIATOR Industrial Radiators Available Cleans & Repair • Rod Out • New & Rebuilt Recore • Water Pumps • Heaters
Mee Memorial Hospital Chief of the Medical Staff and member of the Board of Directors. A dedicated physician who will be missed by his Mee Memorial Family, Patients, Friends and Family
Specialist on Plastic Radiators
April 7, 1947 – Sept. 10, 2012
Mon.-Fri.: 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Saturday: 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Se Habla Español
Humerto Arenas, Owner
Congratulations Mee Memorial Hospital on Your 50th Anniversary
316-A South First Street
50 Years of Service
Mee Memorial Hospital, You are a Congratulations to George L. Mee Memorial Hospital. We extend sincere best wishes on your 50th anniversary. Manny Silva III Britt Davis Wes Foletta Mike Silva Sergio Torres Heath Latasa Max Miller Ron LaVelle Chito Soto
805-310-2000 831-229-2465 831-915-0408 831-595-0102 831-809-3117 831-970-3143 831-809-8029 831-682-6777 831-809-7727
Providing Quality Products and Superior Service to the Agricultural Community for Over 30 Years
King City 831-385-1118 • Salinas 831-455-8928 Santa Maria 805-922-5757
Congratulations from, King City Chuck, Suzanne & Staﬀ King City
600-B Broadway, King City, CA 93930 Ph. 831-385-5898 Fax 831-385-7517
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CONGRATULATIONS 50 YEARS WITH MEE
FOOTHILL LOCK & SAFE JOHN BRUEGGEMAN, CCL
SOUTH VALLEY LOCKSMITH SINCE 1994 PROFESSIONAL LOCKSMITHING BY APPOINTMENT
FAX 866-899-3966 CELL 831.320.4109 BSIS LIC# LCO4793 GRNFLD LIC# 1265
ANTIQUES, 2ND HAND & CONSIGNMENT SHOPPE
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Safe, sound and growing. Let’s grow together. Coloplast Denmark and USA sends best wishes for another 50 years in Caring for the Community Love your local Ostomy Rep Robyn Home 408.458.6676
Congratulations George L. Mee Memorial Hospital on your 50th Anniversary and thank you for your service to our community. Soledad 678-7338
King City 385-4144
Rabobank, N.A. Member FDIC www.rabobankamerica.com
The Tom Pettitt Family congratulates the George L. Mee Memorial Hospital on 50 years of service. We are proud that James V. Pettitt served as a Trustee on the original Board of Trustees and Helen Pettitt was a “Pink Lady” for many years. We are grateful for the excellent care that was provided to my parents and wish the hospital continued success.
Real Estate Appraisals
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The Andruses – The Family
It is impossible to write about a family like the Andrus family in a short space. It would be the story of achievement (some might say overachievement), and it is certainly one of people who have, in reality, affected thousands around the world. This is just a snapshot – a few snapshots actually -- of who they were and are. The family has grown and it would be impossible to list all their achievements.
Although not the first physician to serve the people of South County (Dr. Dorus Brumwell came in the 1890s and others followed), most notably was Dr. L.M. Andrus and his wife Leora, who came to stay in the early 1930s. Throughout the next several decades here greatly expanded the medical services available.
L.M. and Leora had three children, Hughes (L.H.), A.G. and Nancy. Hughes became a physician like his father, A.G. a pharmacist who owned King City Pharmacy, and Nancy, who married Bill Getris and spent most of her adult life in Salinas.
Hughes graduated from King City High School in 1937, served as class president, and headed to Stanford, where he was a good collegiate boxer, winning 12 heavyweight bouts. During summers he returned home to be on the business end of a shovel to help build L.M.’s hospital. In 1941 he started medical school at George Washington University in Washington D.C., where his father had finished his M.D., taking advantage of the military fast track to train doctors for WWII.
Hughes and Kat were married in Washington D.C. in 1944. They had four children – Dan, Jeff, Jon and Keenie, all of whom spent their childhood in King City and have gone on to live very productive lives, three in the medical field and one, Jeff, a writer, who was a trustee for Mee Memorial Hospital in the early ‘80s.
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Hughes was instrumental in convincing his father to donate the land to build the new hospital that would become Mee Memorial, an exemplary rural medical facility. He also started a national pilot program, the Rural Health Project, to serve migrant farm workers. Hughes continued his education with his internship at L.A. County Hospital and residency at Kern County Hospital in Bakersfield. He came back to King City in 1946 and stayed until 1950, when he and family headed east where Hughes became board certified in internal medicine. In the meantime, during the Korean War, he was called to active duty and assigned to the Coast Guard. He and his family came back to King City in 1957.
Hughes left King City in 1970 pursuing a career, in fact several careers, in public health, the first of which was as Chairman of the Family Practice Department at UC Davis. It was there he met Mary O’Hara-Devereaux, who developed the Family Nurse Practitioner program at UC Davis, and they began a relationship that lasted more than 40 years and covered five continents. They firmly believed in “healthcare for all.” They were married in Hawaii. Hughes passed away in 2010.
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The physicians who were there in 1962 While there have been hundreds of doctors who have worked at Mee Memorial Hospital over the past 50 years, the original group of physicians were the foundation upon which this great institution was built. These generous men gave 25% of their income to the construction and completion of the hospital and were not afraid to ask their friends and neighbors to donate to construction fund as well! In large measure the following information is compliments of their children, or in the case of Dr. Hyde, was derived from a video interview. LEN HUGHES ANDRUS: Grew up in King City and was a graduate of KCHS, Class of 1937. Earned his Doctor of Medicine from George Washington University. Practiced in King City in the late ‘40s and then 1956-70. Instrumental in vision and reality of new hospital and Rural Health Project. He had a long and distinguished career in many fields of medicine. WILLIAM GOENNE: When he arrived in King City in 1954 from Iowa with his family, he was the only surgeon within a 50-mile radius and the only Board Certified surgeon in the county. He was on call every day, 24 hours a day until he retired in 1982. Said his daughter, Kay Goenne Morris, “He performed a wide range of procedures which kept his working life very interesting and stimulating and he loved the Salinas Valley with its many opportunities for outdoor activities.” THOMAS ELLIOTT: A son of Nebraska, he earned his medical degree from University of Nebraska Medical School. Brought his family to Greenfield and began practice in 1956. He had the highest regard for the physicians at Mee Memorial. “I would not have practiced here if they hadn’t practiced good medicine.” Retired in 1983. ALLAN FISHER: A native of Iowa, he came to Greenfield in August 1959 with his family after teaching pharmacology at the University of Iowa, his alma mater, where he had earned the unusual distinction of earning his doctorate degrees in pharmacology and in medicine on the same day.
In Greenfield, Dr. Fisher was the family doctor to thousands of residents for 29 years. They were not only patients but also friends. DUANE HYDE: A native of North Dakota, he came to King City in the ‘50s after WWII and completing his medical degree at University of Chicago. He practiced medicine in the same location for more than 40 years, delivering thousands of babies and taking care of three generations of families in South County. In his retirement he has stayed in King City. DAVID MILLER: Personal relationships matter. He met Hughes Andrus after his graduation from Duke Medical School while in his internal medicine residency in Boston. He loved public health and epidemiology and joined Hughes in King City after two years on a Navajo reservation. After leaving King City in 1966, he worked in Honolulu and then went to Atlanta where he spent the rest of his career at the Center for Disease Control doing famine relief around the world. JAMES NASH: First in his family to graduate from college after serving in the Navy during WWII. Earned his Doctor of Medicine from Stanford Medical School. He served in the Navy during the Korean War and came to King City in 1958 with his family where he delivered hundreds of babies, made house calls, helped farm laborers and patched up accident victims. He was active in the community, even serving as president of the local chamber. Moved to San Luis Obispo in 1978.
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HOW WEâ€™VE GROWN Statistics Comparison George L. Mee Memorial Hospital
Statistic Clinical Laboratory Procedures X-rays
October 1963 September 30, 2011 (one year of operation) (49th year of operation) 12,529
Total Patients in-patient/out-patient
Patient Care Days
89 patients (July 2011)
75 patients (May 2011)
110 (56 boys, 54 girls)
555 (259 boys, 296 girls)
Physical Therapy Patients
Full Time Employees
20-30/day 7,279 treatments/year 400
3 sets Nov 2010 1 set Sept 2011
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I Remember… By SUZI TAYLOR Put a keyboard in front of me and I have a hard time keeping “quiet.” With my brain full of the halfcentury of newspaper clippings, it just had to unearth some memories of my own. Thank you Harry Casey, Norm Nuck and others who covered the hospital for all these decades, and the Andrus family who kept so much information we needed. You see, I am one of the thousands who have been there all along because I was born in the old, old hospital on Broadway; Dr. Hughes Andrus delivered me; Dr. Duane Hyde delivered our children; and, like you, I have watched the ups and downs of Mee Memorial. During this quest to compile the 50-year history of Mee Memorial, I have learned that there is SO much more I wanted to include and I hope no one feels offended if he or she was slighted. In this small amount of space, it is impossible to incorporate all the people who have made a huge difference in the life of our hospital. Here are a few things, and people, that I feel have given a little more depth to our history. First on the list, of course, is L.M. Andrus, described right from the lips of a few of the people who were there when Mee was built: “He was a work in progress,” recalled Dr. Duane Hyde. “As a physician, I thought he was fearless. Good orthopedist. We had a lot of accidents on Blood Alley (two-lane Hwy 101) at that time. He would do prostatectomies, burr holes for intracranial bleeding. None of that was out of his range of abilities, as he went back to Cook County Hospital many times to take short classes. In addition, I remember his operating on several members of his family. I remember him doing a tonsillectomy on his grandson where I was anesthesiologist – I was no anesthesiologist, but we all did what was needed back then. Hyde added, “I remember in Chicago a lady found I was going to King City and sought me out saying that I had a great opportunity working with Doc Andrus. She worshipped him. On the other hand, after I had been here about a month, a man knocked on my door who said, ‘you had better get out of Dodge before you get in trouble working with Doc Andrus.’ L.M. was a straight
shooter. He was blunt but without the vision and generosity of Doc Andrus this hospital would have never been built.” Alice Gaunt agreed on the bluntness. “On the exterior he was a gruff man who you thought would eat you up. As a child I was afraid of him. But, as the years went on I realized what a wonderful man he was to get a new hospital and he instilled in us that we were going to get that hospital because he wanted it done.” L.M. and L.H. (Hughes ) were a great father-son team, but not the only parent-sibling leaders we had. When Linda Stireman became CEO of Mee Memorial, I can’t tell you how impressed and proud I was. It was a woman, a local woman, who assumed the reins of one of the biggest enterprises in town. And, it was a fatherdaughter legacy. Years before, her father, Paul Brauch, had been administrator. I had just worked my way up to editor of The Rustler, so Linda and I talked quite a bit. It wasn’t an easy time at Mee – I don’t think it has ever been an easy time – and I attended just about every board meeting and promoted the Foundation and extolled how lucky we were and are to have a hospital in our little town. I had to write some not-so-good news too and she never berated me as long as it was accurate. But that wasn’t the BIG thing. The BIG thing was that Linda stepped into the male bastion of Rotary. Yes, in those days, the door was just being cracked open in King City Rotary for businesswomen and Linda was one of the first. She did it with grace and enthusiasm and when I joined her a few months later, well, Rotary had two women. In a 1984 hospital newsletter, Marlene Hunt was interviewed. Marlene was a longtime nurse and nursing supervisor at Mee Memorial, starting in 1970. Even then she commented on the changes that were occurring. It could have been written yesterday and not 28 years ago. “I’ve seen a lot of changes at Mee in my 14 years here,” she said. “This hospital offers the community a great service which I think is easy for people to take for granted. In a little hospital, the relationship between the staff and the patient can stay more personalized.” Those personal relationships were key in the first 50 years of Mee Memorial and will be essential in the next 50 years.
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Hyde, Gaunt and Records – They were there!
Alice Gaunt, Ruth Records and Duane Hyde shared their memories of the genesis of Mee Memorial Hospital.
If you watched television in the ‘50s, Walter Cronkite had a program on CBS “You Are There” and he portrayed past events in the format of a current news show. For Mee Memorial Hospital, three medical professionals “were there” – Dr. Duane Hyde, Alice Gaunt, FNP, and Ruth Records, retired administrator. They shared their memories and how it all came about. Thanks to each of them for taking the time. Here is a portion of what they had to say. The entire video interviews will be at the Gala, Oct. 6. Each came to King City in a different way.
DR. DUANE HYDE Dr. Duane Hyde found the place he would
spend his entire medical career on a lark. Born and reared in North Dakota, he served for more than three years in the U.S. Army during WWII. When he came home he finished college in North Dakota and then was admitted to University of Chicago Medical School and interned at Cook County Hospital. “I stayed an extra year because I knew I wanted to come west.” He interviewed with a couple of physicians in Wyoming and while he was on the train to go there and take his boards, got a telegram from L.M. Andrus asking that he come and take a look at King City. “They were paying the way, so I went on a lark,” recalled Hyde. “I got there on the bus about 2 a.m. and walked to the hospital and they had an empty bed so that is
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50 Douglas Hyde, Duane Hyde’s son, dug the first shovelful of dirt when construction of the hospital began.
where I completed the night.” The next morning he saw Dr. L.M. Andrus and took a tour of the hospital and the area. It was one of those years that in February the hills looked like a giant golf course, so green and lush, he recalled. “The fishhook went in and I was hooked.” He said ironically he had spent six months at Camp Roberts when he was in the Army. “Never did I think I would end up so close!” That was 1953 and there was an old hospital and old clinic. Later there was a cadre of doctors – David Miller, Hughes Andrus, Bill Goenne, Jim Nash, Allan Fisher and Tom Elliott. “It was pretty obvious we had outgrown the old hospital.” He was quick to acknowledge that Old Doc (L.M. Andrus) was instrumental in making Mee possible by donating the land. “My main part was mainly in the fundraising. Dr. Andrus and son Hughes said that we would have to support the hospital with deep pockets if it was going to be a go. “They wanted each of us to give $6,000. None of us had $6,000, but if we gave $100 a month for five years that would do it. It was a lot of money then. I had just purchased a house a couple of years before for $14,000 as a comparison.” After the fundraising campaign was over, he
Dr. Duane Hyde in the ‘60s with Murrie Petit, then president of the Pink Ladies.
was told the doctors had each given more than anyone except the Andrus family and the Mees. Not only did they give, but asked others to give. “I remember knocking on a neighbor’s door and telling him he was down for $1,600 and his reaction was, ‘Wow that’s a lot of money.’ It was a lot of money!” Dr. Hyde had the unique perspective of being able to watch and monitor the construction of the new hospital every day because his house was, and still is, right across the street. When Mee Memorial opened Oct. 1, 1962, Dr. Hyde remembers that, ironically, the first patient transferred was Dr. David Miller. “All the physicians had a pride of ownership; we had given a big share of a year’s salary.” “It was an extraordinary facility, especially for a small town like King City. It had larger rooms, modern equipment, two surgery suits, and a delivery room that was large.” In the old hospital those three rooms were all in one, no more than 12 feet square. “And if someone was in the operating room, we had to deliver babies in the emergency room that was even smaller. “What a difference! What a big difference! Time moves on and now it seems inadequate but it
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50 Alice Gaunt, RN with Dr. L.H. Andrus in the early 1960s.
made a huge difference at the time.” Dr. Hyde recalled that after his interview and deciding to move to King City he made a real road trip out of the adventure and came via Alaska. “I drove the Alcan Highway, which at that time was hardly more than a trail. In the town of Palmer I met a small town physician who invited me to come there. I told him if King City didn’t work out, I would come. But I love King City and never thought of moving.”
ALICE GAUNT, FNP “I’m almost a native,” said Alice Gaunt, a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) at Mee Memorial, who was working for the clinic when Mee Memorial was built. “I was born in Coalinga, but when I was three my family moved back to the ranch in Bitterwater.” After high school, Gaunt went to see Dr. L.M. Andrus for her pre-nursing physical – he had been her doctor since she was a child. “Before I want off to Santa Clara he said he had one word of advice, ‘Get there, learn it all and get your behind (he didn’t say behind) back here and get to work for me.’” When she came back she had just gotten mar-
ried and she and Jim were building a house and “I just wanted to take some time off.” About a month later L.M. found out and called me, ‘I need you. Someone needs 24-hour care. You can do the day shift and Peggy Cleary the night shift.’ He didn’t ask me, he told me that I was going to work for him so that’s how I got that wonderful job and I’m still working.” She started out an RN and within two years Josephine Caine retired and said to Gaunt, “Here is my job.” “I told her I didn’t want it and she said, yes you do and L.M. wants you to do it, and so I became nursing supervisor for the clinic.” Gaunt said she, too, was involved in the fundraising. “L.M. said we needed a new hospital and you didn’t say no to L.M. so I went out into the rural areas; Bitterwater, Priest Valley, Paicines and Hernandez and talked to people at meetings at Home Department, Grange and Farm Bureau. We had card parties and I asked there, too.” They listened and gave generously. “I remember when the ground was a horse pasture.” Like Dr. Hyde (and many people in town), she was always interested in watching the progress of the project. “There was nothing bad about moving into new
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50 Ruth Records, administrator of Mee Memorial, with a group of Pink Ladies.
hospital. Larger rooms, new equipment, a nursery that was really a nursery and a lab that wasn’t out the back door. Having bigger rooms with electric beds, that was a real back saver for the nurses. Thinking back, she added, “Between the two us, Ruth and I, we worked hard, we played hard, we got the job done. We have been friends for so many years, along with Billie Hume and Barbara Williams, who are no longer here and we miss them.” “I’m very grateful we still have the hospital we have here for our community, and I’m very proud to say I am still part of it and taking care of the 5th generation.”
RUTH RECORDS A Salinas transplant, Ruth Records was working as assistant director of nursing at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital. In 1961 Billie Hume and Barbara Williams came to work to in the old lab in King City. “In 1962 L.H. and L.M Andrus were looking for someone to run the new hospital,” Records recalled. Hume and Williams mentioned her name and “I came down for and interview and they hired me.” She came to work in the old hospital in May 1962. “At that time I had to try to reorganize the hospital and review the staff because we had to hire quite a few new people. L.M. and L.H. were pretty good to me and I could hire who we needed when we needed them.” Her title when she first came was superintendent, which was later changed to administrator. The job description included: staffing, checking all departments and dealing with personnel, in addition to hiring a lot of new people, plus lots of other
things that weren’t in the official job description. “I wasn’t here during the construction but I sure was when we transferred the patients Oct. 1. As I recall, we didn’t have that many problems. We had to leave part of the staff in the old hospital and part in the new hospital. The Grims donated their ambulance and Tom Grim and Bill Campbell moved the patients. It went fairly well. We got everybody settled in by mid-afternoon.” That move was almost doubling the number of patient beds. The old hospital was 22 beds and the new one 42 beds. “We faced quite a few challenges. We had to get everybody settled, doctors and nursing staff to adjust and we had to increase all departments. At that time most of our nursing staff were local and moved to the new hospital. It took a lot of work to get it going.” A few years after the old hospital on Broadway was closed, L.M. turned it into the Pioneer Hacienda, a nursing home. Records recalls that a few years later when he was going to close the Hacienda he went to the hospital board and asked if they would convert a few beds in the new hospital to nursing beds. “At that time the south end of the hospital was turned into nursing beds. We had to get permission from the state and they said that if we converted the beds, we could never turn them back into acute care beds. So that is how that came about. “It was a wonderful place to work and I had wonderful employees and they would help in any department they could. We all worked together and helped each other out.” Records left the hospital in 1976 and went to work for Gonzales Clinic until 1989. She still is a volunteer Service League member at Mee.
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CA. State Contractor License #716839
Frank Lopez-Landscape Contractor
Congratulations on 50 years of service to our community.
Proud to Support Mee Memorial Hospital | A Publication of South County Newspapers | Page 27
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50YearswithMee Sep12.indd 30
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Published on Sep 14, 2012