Walter B. Coe, M. D., one of the leading members of the medical profession of Tonganoxie, was born at Tipton, Iowa, July 24, 1868. He was reared on his father’s farm in Cedar County, Iowa. He attended the high school at Jefferson, Iowa, but graduated from high school at Des Moines, Iowa.
After leaving school Mr. Coe entered the office of the “Omaha Republic” and learned the printer’s trade and book binding. He worked there for about five years and decided to enter college. With this end in view he went to Akron, Ohio, and matriculated in Buchtel College. While there he became interested in medicine and determined to devote his life to that calling; entered Rush Medical College, Chicago, Ill., and graduated with the class of 1896.
After receiving his medical degree Dr. Coe located at Tonganoxie, where he practices medicine from 1896 to August 23, 1950 when he was killed in a bus/car wreck on the “cut-off” just south of Tonganoxie. He was a general practitioner and for years he was the local surgeon for the Union Pacific railroad. Dr. Coe was well liked by the people of Tonganoxie. The town honored him with a huge dinner in the high school auditorium. He is not in the photo and it is assumed that the celebration was after his death.
Dr. Coe’s first wife was Carrie L. Troxell, a native of Jefferson, Iowa. She died in 1899, leaving one child, Archie, who died in 1910.
In 1901 Dr. Coe married Marietta “May” E. Grist, the daughter of John Grist of Tonganoxie. There were no children from this marriage. May died in 1938. The photo is mislabelled. Dr. Coe’s second wife is seen here in this photo. He is milking the cow and feeding his cat.
Dr. Coe’s 3rd wife was Lottie Dessery Modelin, a niece of May Coe. Lottie was a widow with 3 children. Although she was in the car wreck that killed Dr. Coe, she survived until 1965.
Dr. Coe home and office was in a small house just west of Zoellner’s store on 4th street. He had a hedge fence around the home and saw patients in the west room of the home. Before cars, Dr.Coe made house calls with a wagon and white horse.
He loved to play chess and could be seen at different chess playing locations around the town. He also had huge hands.
Dr Coe enlisted in the army on August 18, 1918 and was discharged on December 14, 1918. He was stationed at Ft. Leavenworth. It is not known, but he probably commuted from Tonganoxie to Leavenworth, a distance of 25 miles.
The army was lucky to have him because his active duty service was during the time of the 1918 flu pandemic. His speciality was pneumonia.
Dr. Coe was a member of the county, state and American medical societies; a member of the American Association of Railroad Surgeons; the Independent Order of Odd Fellows; Knights of Pythias; Modern Woodmen of America.
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