My mom and her young neighbor, Jane, had the same pediatrician 65 years apart!

Dr. Leila Denmark taking care of her patient Jane. Dr. Denmark always said, "Listen for the birdy," when she checked little people's ears. Photo taken in 1999. Copyright of photographer (Jane's mother); all rights reserved.

Dr. Leila Denmark taking care of her patient Jane. Dr. Denmark always said, “Listen for the birdy,” when she checked little people’s ears. Photo taken in 1999.
Copyright of photographer (Jane’s mother); all rights reserved.

Yes, you read that headline correctly.

This blog entry doesn’t reflect serious genealogical research but it’s a wonderful story nonetheless.

In 2005, my brother and I moved our mother from the east coast to Texas. At the time, Mom was 71. About a year later, a sweet new family moved in next door. They had just arrived from Georgia. Since my mother was born and raised in Georgia, and had grown up in Atlanta, we quickly made friends with them (especially since they were Georgia Bulldogs!).

A few years later, the mom of that new family, Christie, sent me a text with a link to an article that had appeared in OnlineAthens. The article highlighted a famous pediatrician; an amazing woman who had been her 11-year-old daughter Jane’s pediatrician for a couple of years while they still lived in Georgia—back when Jane was one and two years of age. Christie wanted me to see the article about their doctor. I gasped as I read the article.

So what was so special about the article that I gasped and grinned?

My mother had the SAME pediatrician approximately 65 years prior!

This legendary physician was Leila Daughtry Denmark, who had been the world’s oldest practicing pediatrician until her retirement in 2001 at the age of 103! At her passing in 2012, she was 114 years old and was verified as the 4th oldest living person in the world. She had practiced medicine for 73 years.

Dr. Denmark was the sole female in the 1928 graduating class of the Medical College of Georgia and is believed to have been the state of Georgia’s first female pediatrician. She is credited with being a co-developer of the pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine, was named Atlanta’s Woman of the Year in 1953, and was an outspoken voice in the pediatric community. Upon having a daughter, Denmark even started her own private practice at her home in the Atlanta area so she could be the one to raise the new baby. Her home office was in the breakfast room and the living room served as a waiting room. A bedroom served as the exam room. Supposedly she never charged more than $10 per visit and made her own clothes!

My mother was born in 1934 and Dr. Denmark was her pediatrician up until about five years of age.

Approximately 65 years later, in 1998 and 1999, Dr. Denmark was seeing as a patient in her home a young, beautiful girl named Jane who was to soon move to Texas and live next door to my mother.

Now that’s a cool story.

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: That Amazing Leila Denmark Story, Part II: I’m her husbands’ 3rd Cousin 2x Removed. | Oak Grove Genealogy

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