Friday, July 09, 2010

Stories from the Clippings

Rudolph E. Kleinsorge, MD - 1883-1975
Iowa Born and Bred - Becomes Historic Figure in Oregon

Those of you, who are regular readers of the "Stories from the Clippings" segment of our blog, might remember last Friday's entry about Dr. William Burroughs Holden, Veteran Healer of Mankind's Ills. I happened to mention that he was the second ever honorary alum of the University of Oregon Medical School. If you have been curious as to who might have been the first, I have your answer. The announcement was an historic moment in the 41-year history of the UOMS Alumni Association.

The honor was proclaimed in a letter to Dr. Rudolph E. Kleinsorge in 1954, written by Dr. Howard C. Stearns, then president of the university Alumni Association. Dr. Stearns stated that Dr. Kleinsorge was chosen because of "the many contributions [he] made to [his] profession, to the people of [his] community and to the commonwealth of Oregon as a physician and as a member of the Oregon State Board of Higher Education." Dr. Kleinsorge's career as a physician spanned 60 years.

He was a 1908 graduate of the University of Iowa, working his way through school as an assistant to the head of the physiology department and eventually became an instructor of physiology at Iowa. He also pursued graduate study at Harvard under the tutelage of Dr. Walter B. Cannon, revered physiologist.

The son of a circuit-riding preacher, he was accustomed to moving from place to place; but when he settled, he settled for good. He had determined that once he found a place he liked, he would stay there for the rest of his life, and that's just what he did. He moved to Silverton, Oregon in 1909 and he and his wife, Nina, built a home and an internationally recognized garden, while he established his career as "an old style doctor".

There were no hospitals in the area when he began his practice, so he traveled about by sleigh and horseback, practicing in people's homes. The terrain was rugged; even after obtaining a car it was, of necessity, reserved for summer use only. A hospital was established in a residence in 1918 that served Silverton until a 45-bed hospital was raised in the early 1930s. Dr. Kleinsorge dedicated his life as a physician to the people of Silverton.

In 1941, Dr. Kleinsorge was appointed to the Oregon State Board of Higher Education. He served on the board for18 years, twice as president and 12 years on the Building, Grounds and Capital Outlay Committee, becoming chairman in 1943. During his time as a member of the OSBHE building committee, Oregon saw many educational facilities established. Among the most notable is the UOMS Hospital on the Marquam Hill campus.

Dr. Kleinsorge found time for professional and civic service. He was the past-president of the Marion County Medical Society a member of the Silverton School Board and held memberships in Sigma Xi, Alpha Omega Alpha, the Rotary, serving as past president, the Masonic Lodge, the Shriner's and the American Medical Association. Last but not least, he was a veteran of WWI.

In an interview in 1969, with a staff writer of the Oregonian, Kleinsorge said that he had no regrets. "If I was to do it all over again at 25, I would do the same things over again. It was the most satisfying thing a man can do, he said, to practice like we practiced."

So, it seems that the UOMS Alumni Association made a wise choice in honoring Dr. Kleinsorge. So, this brief and incomplete recounting of the accomplishments of this remarkable man must suffice for now. It's only a blog post.

Articles referenced: f1_p47_a12-13

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