There are ﬁve generations of doctors in my family. Each has brought something new and needed in the form of health care to our community.
In 1903 my great- grandfather, George A. DeTar graduated from medical school. He left the family farm in Albia, Iowa and headed to Indian Territory (Oklahoma) to practice medicine and open a pharmacy in Narcissa. “George A” was the ﬁrst real doctor in the area. He moved to Miami when lead and zinc mining started and the population center shifted there. He was the classic horse and buggy pioneer doctor who often times delivered babies in homes and performed surgery on the kitchen table. I’ll always treasure the stories he told me about those times.
Many times Dr. George A. was accompanied on his house calls by my grandfather, Burleigh. It seemed natural for him to pursue a medical career and in 1924 he graduated from KU medical school and then Columbia Medical School in New York for advanced surgery training. In 1946, he built an innovative clinic which brought specialists together under one roof. I loved the stories of earlier times which always began with the the phrase, “When the world was young...” He practiced for 60 years.
My father, Burliegh Jr., was a curious perfectionist. After KU medical school in 1945, he became the chief resident in thorasic surgery at the Mayo Clinic in 1950. Like his predecessors, he brought his skills home. He joined the DeTar Clinic and provided state-of-the-art surgery at the local level.
I grew up in Joplin. After dental school and a two year service in the Navy Dental Corps, I too returned home to began practice in 1974. Since then I have continued my journey of the tradition of innovation in dentistry and medical-dental inter-related care. Recognition as such in the areas of heart disease, diabetes control problems, and pre-term births is now mainstream. In obstructive sleep apnea, ADD/ ADHD, and certain auto-immune diseases, dentistry plays a vital role in airway health.
My oldest daughter, Amanda, is continuing the family tradition. She practices Emergency Medicine in Springﬁeld. I am amazed at the miraculous advances that are possible today for seemingly hopeless situations.
Quality health care should be available locally. The tradition of innovation to serve the people of the four states is one of which we are proud.