Munson Health
Cal and Verla Jamieson

Note: This first appeared in the Summer 2012 issue of Focus.

In July of 1932, Ivan and Mabel Jamieson climbed into their 1931 Model A truck and made their way south from their farm on Old Mission Peninsula into nearby Traverse City. They motored along dirt roads to the “new” hospital in town, opened in 1925, for the birth of their son, Calvin, who would become a third-generation peninsula farmer.

Cal’s grandparents were early settlers of the peninsula’s Smokey Hollow area, back in the days when a trip to Elk Rapids across the ice on East Bay was a lot faster than a carriage ride to Traverse City. Cal and his siblings were raised in a tightknit farming community during an era when youngsters were free to roam at will through fields and forests, camp out under the stars, and get into the sort of mischief young boys favor, such as jumping off a barn roof with parachutes made from "borrowed" bedsheets, and reassembling a barn wagon on the roof of their one-room schoolhouse at Mapleton.

When Cal was 21, he married a pretty young nurse from Carson City who he’d met while she was in town training at the Traverse City State Hospital. In time, Cal and Verla made the same trek to Munson Hospital six times for the births of their two sons and four daughters.

Over the years, they have used, appreciated, and supported their local hospital, where Verla worked for a brief time as a nurse in the 1960s before family duties called her back to the farm. "We’ve always been tied to and interested in the medical field," Verla said. "Having a healthy hospital in town contributes to having a healthy community," Cal added.

They recall when Munson Medical Center President Jack Bay introduced Munson’s first two heart surgeons (Mack Stirling, MD, and Dan Drake, MD) to the community in 1990, a move that helped set the stage for Munson Medical Center to become one of the top hospitals in the nation. "They had the fore vision to go out and hire the very best they could find," Cal said. "We’ve always had really good care there."

"We’re very proud of Munson Hospital," Verla said. "We truly are a medical hub here in the north and we want to keep it that way."

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