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Friday, July 12, 2013 - Hospital Seeks Stories for its 60th Birthday

Hospital Seeks Stories for its 60th Birthday
Kalkaska area residents invited to share their memories

Kalkaska Memorial Health Center will celebrate 60 years of service to the community on Oct. 1.

As part of the celebration, Kalkaska Memorial Health Center Administrator Jim Austin said the hospital hopes to collect stories about health care in the community prior to 1953, as well as the early years after the hospital was first established.

“What we’re looking for are memories that would include anecdotes about physicians in the area prior to the hospital. We know a Dr. Sargent served the community prior to 1953,” he said. “There may be some area residents who were delivered into the world by him or remember something special about the care he provided. This is true for other doctors at the time as well.”

Other areas of interest include information about community leaders whose vision and actions led to the formation of the hospital board and later the construction of the hospital. Austin said Alfred Turnipseed, a member of the Kalkaska County Board of Supervisors, is believed to have been the first chairman of the hospital board. The original organizing meeting was Oct. 6, 1948.

Original documents point to public hearing held on Jan. 31, 1950, that was called together by Edward Inman.

“We are interested in recollections about Mr. Turnipseed, Mr. Inman, and any other key figures at the time who played a role in the birth of this hospital,” Austin said. “People who received care at the hospital in the early years are also invited to share.”

Documents show hospital bylaws were passed in May 1950. Seed money for the hospital came from the Kellogg Foundation and the federal Hill-Burton Act of 1946. The first proposal to build a hospital was put before county residents on the Nov. 4, 1952, ballot. That same year Munson Medical Center agreed to sponsor the creation of the hospital.

Part of the apparent impetus for the hospital appears to have been the distance to Munson Medical Center, Austin said.

“What I understand is that in the 1950s many county residents considered a trip to Traverse City to be an overnight visit,” he said. “We have a postcard from the president of Munson Medical Center that he sent back to Traverse City stating that he was visiting Kalkaska Memorial and staying overnight at the Seiting Hotel. Anyone who recalls the roads in the community and the challenges of travel are invited to share as well.”

Some of the stories will be used as part of the hospital’s celebration. Anyone with information to share is invited to write down their recollections and email them to kmhc@mhc.net, or call and leave your story and call back number at (231) 258-7501.