Memories of physician’s dedication

Published 1:06 pm Sunday, March 29, 2015

Dear Editor:

It just wouldn’t do to say goodbye to Dr. Chick Singleton with no more public comment than a formal obituary. Hence these reminiscences.

Of all the physicians who have served us, including all those who lived here and were a great addition to the community and those others who now seem simply to appear on certain days, Dr. Singleton was the last who came from the ranks of the Greatest Generation. They were “the boys” who came home in 1945 and ‘46 and set out to doctor, or prepare to doctor, an explosively growing American population.

And as Rev. Moon remarked, Chick years later was the last to make house calls, long after that wonderfully comforting outreach had become obsolescent. And he did it cheerfully and frequently without charge.

He grew up in Baton Rouge and attended the prestigious University High, where the offspring of LSU faculty and some others were fortunate to be enrolled. And Hap Hayden tells me he was their quarterback, and I believe he also starred as the pitcher on the baseball team. When he graduated the war was still on, and he enlisted as a Navy corpsman and was trained and standing by in early August 1945, ready to serve in the landing on the shores of Japan, which one of our best military minds said would cost as many as a million American lives, when the Enola Gay took off on its mission.

Dr. Waldrop was a year ahead of Chick in med school, and when they got together here in 1955 they formed a partnership that lasted until Waldrop’s death and Singleton’s disabling heart attack, a 40-year service of modern obstetrics that involved nightly deliveries and hasty catnaps as one of them would be waiting while the stork found his way to the medical center. My son Whit was their only partner at any time during those years, and he arrived in the early ‘90s and spent some wonderful times with those two great men and was with them until the end.

I mentioned military service. Whit tells me Chick was also activated during the Korean War and served stateside in the Coast Guard.

Everyone admired his beautiful roses, and there was some thought that the opulent blossoms resulted from some secret application that his medical mind had concocted. In a way this was correct. He gave the roses the same tender and loving care he gave his patients. That was the secret.

Modesty was the prevailing theme with this gentleman. He never touted his

accomplishments and even courteously declined several invitations from a close friend to join our American Legion post. His name never appeared in an advertisement, but his presence was always comforting and healing. If ever I have known of a completely useful and sharing life, it was his.

– Yours very truly,

John Gallaspy