In Memory of Dr. A. W. Corey by William Brackett 2008
There are grave markers for Alton W. Corey, Verneita M. Corey and Mable J. Corey in the New Troy Cemetery in New Troy, Berrien County, Michigan. Alton W. and Verneita M. (Glade) Corey had children:
The Milan News-Leader carried an obituary for Dean O. Corey on 01 Nov 2007 and it reads: “Dean O. Corey Ann Arbor Dean O, Corey, 76, of Ann arbor died Oct. 22, 2007, at DuBois Regional Medical Center in DuBois, Pa. He suffered a heart attack while returning home with his wife from a New England vacation and underwent open heart surgery. Mr. Corey is survived by Barbara, his childhood friend and wife of 51 years, as well as his loving children, Brian Dean (Cheryl) Corey of Saline and Cheryl Joy (Christopher) Bradetich of Ann Arbor, and granddaughters Amanda May Corey and Morgan Elizabeth Bradetich. He is also survived by his sister, Jacqueline (Donald) Loving of Houston, and many nieces and nephews. The Coreys moved from Farmington to Ann Arbor in 1997 to be near their children. Mr. Corey was born Jan. 17, 1931, in New Troy, and graduated from Michigan State University. He served in the U.S. Army in Germany before his 1956 marriage to Barbara. He retired in 1989 from his career as a commercial interior designer in Detroit. A memorial service will be held 2:30 p.m. Nov. 3 at First Presbyterian Church of Saline. The rev. Judy Shipman will officiate. A committal service will be held 11 a.m. Nov. 8 at the Cope Memorial Garden of the First Presbyterian Church, Farmington. The Revs. Sue Melrose and Judy Shipman will officiate. Memorial contributions may be made to the memorial funds of the First Presbyterian Church of Saline, 143 E. Michigan Ave., Saline, MI 48176 or the First Presbyterian Church of Farmington, 26165 Farmington Road, Farmington Hills, MI 48334.”
Alton Wilcox Corey was born on 12 May 1896 in Owosso, Shiawassee County, Michigan and died on 25 Sep 1977, in St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, Florida. Verneita Mae (Glade) Corey was born on 10 Apr 1900 in Berrien County, Michigan and died in Farmington, Oakland County, Michigan on 12 Aug 1987.
The “Berrien Bicentennial” 1776-1976 was edited by James T. Carney and published in 1976 by the Berrien County Bicentennial Commission. The Tesar Printing Company of Stevensville, Michigan printed this book. In the section of this book about Weesaw Township you can read: “Doctor A. W. Corey came to New Troy in 1922 and started practice in his small home, using a bedroom as office space. Some years later he built a large attractive home in the center of town and used the basement for his office. The ideal image of the dedicated country doctor, he made house calls 24 hours a day and delivered thousands of babies for two generations.” And also “In 1951, Dr. Corey underwent a serious operation and had planned to retire. A big party was held in his honor, but his health continued to improve and he was persuaded to go back into practice. Dr. Corey finally retired for good in 1961, after 39 years of dedicated service, and moved to Florida. Over 700 attended his retirement party, a fitting tribute to his many years of caring for others.”
If Dr. Corey did not come to New Troy until 1922 it is interesting that the grave marker for Mable J. Corey has a birth year of 1875 and a death year of 1915. Was his mother in New Troy before him or is this just a marker not a gravesite?
The South Bend Tribune carried an article, on page one of Section Two, about Dr. Corey’s pending retirement on 08 Oct 1961 and it reads: “New Troy’s Dr. Corey Call’s It Quits After 40 Years New troy-For almost 40 years the offices of Dr. Alton W. Corey, M.D., have served as clinic, dispensary and confessional for hundreds of Berrien County residents. Within the next few weeks the 65 –year-old general practitioner will lock the door of his New Troy office-home for the last time. Principally because of his wife Verneita’s urging, Dr. Corey will now pay closer attention to his own health-he has a heart condition-and retire from active practice to move to a home the couple bought in St. Petersburg, Fla., 10 years ago. His patients say he won’t be able to retire because of the busy schedule he’s maintained over the 40 years, but Dr. Corey says he’s willing to try. Wins Patient’s Respect. Quiet spoken, yet capable of a gruffness which has cured many imagined illnesses, Dr. Corey has won and maintained the fondness of his patients by a willingness to make house calls regardless of the hour or weather. More than once, in his haste to visit an ailing patient, he has crashed his car-wrapping it around a tree once-only to crawl out of the wreckage and walk the remaining distance. After completing his daily rounds at Mercy Hospital, Benton Harbor, Dr. Corey returns to his home where he has offices on the lower level. For six hours a day, seven days a week, afternoon and night, patients wend their way through the waiting room, examination room and dispensary. No Receptionist in Office. There is no receptionist to greet them, no nurse to administer inoculations or simple first aid, no secretary to keep track of accounts. Dr. Corey works alone. Office calls still cost only $2 and then only if the patient is given medicine or pills from the stock Dr. Corey keeps on hand. IT is rare when he has to write a prescription fort a patient as he maintains a store of modern pills and medicines needed for treatment. The doctor’s low fees are carried over to his other medical activities. Until a few years ago he charged $2 for home calls but finally decided that the home patients ‘could pay for my gasoline’ and raised the fee to $4. Baby Costs $50. Total cost for expectant mothers, including all office visits, his hospital visits and delivery of the baby, is now $50, double what he charged a few years ago but still well under the usual fee charged by most physicians. And all his patients’ payments are based on ‘a dollar now and a dollar whenever you can’ for those who do not have ready cash. There was a time when a bushel of apples or a sack of potatoes served as payment from those who didn’t have the money. His lack of bookkeeping system has caused some confusion among the estimated 3,000 to 3,500 babies he’s delivered (‘I quit keeping record’). Mothers of children have to keep their own records of the numerous required vaccinations given their children and the schools have to take the mother’s word because there is no record on file in Dr. Corey’s office that the child received the necessary shot. Moving Necessary. Dr. and Mrs. Corey are giving up the home they’ve lived in for 35 years and leaving the area with regret. But they fell it’s necessary. ‘If we didn’t move then the people wouldn’t let the doctor retire,’ Mrs. Corey said. ‘And he does have to start looking after himself now.’ The couple, who will live at 521 12th St. North, St. Petersburg, said their new home will be open to all their old friends and patients. ‘We want them to stop in and see us whenever they get down that way,’ Mrs. Corey said. There are still some patients among the two generations he has treated who doubt Dr. Corey will leave. They feel they’ll be able to go to that large white frame house in New Troy for medical help for a long time to come.”
The Herald Press carried an article about Dr. Corey’s retirement on 20 Oct 1961 and it reads: “They Sang To Doc Corey: “For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow” New Troy, Oct 20-Gatherine around a huge bonfire, 300 people who love him sang ‘For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow’ and gave Dr. Alton W. Corey, a happy-sad farewell party. Dr. Corey, one of southwestern Michigan’s most prominent country doctors for nearly 40 years, is retiring today and moving to sunny St. Petersburg, Fla. with his wife Verneita. And so he’d have a tangible reminder of his native state, Dr. Corey was presented an illuminated picture of a Michigan deer. The presentation was made by Herb Tollas of the Sawyer Lions club. Surprise! Last night’s bonfire and community songfest were organized in a matter of hours before the 9:30 p.m. event in the parking lot of Industrial Rubber Co.’s plant on Glendora rd. Dr. Corey was not told about the party ahead of time. His wife kept the secret. He had previously rejected all efforts to give him going-away gifts or fancy tributes. The night before, a hastily organized, informal committee, headed by Weesaw township supervisor Allen Boyd, the Rev. Douglas Mitchell, Mrs. David Sweet of Sawyer and educator Robert Decker, began telephoning the word about the party. People came from Bridgman on the north, New Buffalo on the southwest, Galien on the southeast, and all the area between. Generations Dr. Corey had delivered quite a number of those who paid tribute. The kindly physician quit counting after he delivered his 3,500th baby-a number greater than the entire population of several south-county townships. Several generations of families that Dr. Corey brought into the world were there. There were no long speeches. Hearts were too full. Nearly everyone knew that Dr. Corey had kept office hours seven days a week, wrecked two cars making home calls, walked through the snow to reach people who needed him, and had literally accepted potatoes in pay for treatments. Accepting his gift, Dr. Corey gave a two-sentence speech: ‘I think this is a great celebration. I’m sorry I have to leave you.’ Led Singing Fire trucks with lights a flashing guided the throng to the sight of the bonfire. Robert Decker, superintendent of the Chickaming school and formerly of the Three Oaks and New troy schools, led the community singing. ‘Let’s do “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” first because he is,’ said Decker. ‘Then, “I’ve Been Working On The Railroad”, because that’s a good working song, And then “God Bless America.” ‘ Born in Owosso 65 years ago, Dr. Corey graduated from the University of Michigan medical school in 1921, interned a year at Blodgett hospital in Grand Rapids, and opened his office on the east edge of New troy in 1922. In 1920 he married the former Verenita Glade of Benton harbor. The Coreys have two children, Mrs. Donald (Jacqueline) Loving of Clarendon Hills, Ill., and Dean Corey of Farmington.”
The Galien River Gazette, published as a newspaper in Three Oaks, Michigan carried an article about Dr. Corey’s retirement on Thursday 26 Oct 1961 and it reads: “Area Say Farewell To Dr. Corey at Bonfire New Troy-By the light of a blazing bonfire, this community bid farewell to Dr. Alton Corey-one of the ‘old time’ general practitioners-last week. Several hundred people gathered around the bonfire in the Industrial Rubber Goods parking lot to serenade the doctor. In the crowd were representatives from the three generations that Dr. Corey has served since he came to New Troy nearly 40 years ago. Countless numbers of babies were delivered by the doctor-he stopped keeping track after 3,500-and thousands found their way to his office in New Troy, where a visit cost $2 (with medicine included) House calls went up to $4 a call only a few years ago. The impromptu committee that planned the surprise ceremony ‘captured’ him in his home about 9:30 p.m. last Thursday. Dr. Corey looked out into an office full of patients, to find a delegation headed by Rev. Doug Mitchell waiting to take him to the bonfire. The constable’s car-with red lights flashing-sped the Dr. and Mrs. Corey to the bonfire, where he heard them singing, ‘For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow’ in his honor, with Robert Decker leading the music. Dr. Corey joined in on ‘I’ve been working on the Railroad,’ the crowd grew silent as Harry Ahrend presented a gift to the doctor on behalf of the people of the community. There was little the doctor could say, except to thank them, and say how much he would miss them. There was another song or two, then the doctor and his wife left in the constable’s car. Next morning, the Coreys left for St. Petersburg, Fla., where the doctor will begin his retirement-and the first real vacation since his practice. He’ll take with him his present-a framed color picture of a deer. Later on, a tape recording of the farewell bonfire will be sent to him, along with a gold plate with the engraved words, ‘Thank you for everything.’ On the committee which arranged the ceremony were Al Boyd, Weesaw Township supervisor, Robert Decker, Rev. Mitchell, Eric Wickstrom and Mrs. Dorothy Sweet. A load of bonfire material was contributed by the Three Oaks Lumber and Coal Co., and Howard’s Hi-Fi Co. sent out loud speakers and a microphone. Norma Arend of Harbert picked out the present for the Coreys, and decorated it with bows spelling Doc”. Anyone wishing to contribute to help defray expenses for the ceremony may mail them to the Galien River Gazette in Three Oaks, and should be marked ‘Dr. Corey Fund.’ Funds received over the costs incurred will be disposed of under the direction of Dr. Corey.” This bonfire would have taken place on 19 Oct 1961.
The Herald Palladium carried an obituary for Dr. Alton W. Corey on Monday 26 Sep 1977 and it reads: “Ex-New Troy Physician Dies New Troy-Dr. A. W. Corey, 81, a retired New Troy physician who had moved to St. Petersburg, Fla., in 1961, died Sunday in St. Anthony hospital, St. Petersburg. He was born May 12, 1896, in Owosso, Mich. Surviving are his wife, the former Vereita Glade; a son, Dean Corey, Farmington; a daughter, Mrs. Don (Jackie) Loving, Houston, Texas; five grandchildren; two brothers, Ralph, California and Kenneth of Plymouth, Mich.; a sister, Mrs. Betty Schroen, California. Funeral services were held in St. Petersburg. The body will be cremated and burial will be at a later date in the New Troy cemetery. Memorials may be made to American Cancer Society. Local arrangements will be handled by the Fairplain chapel, Florin funeral home, Benton Harbor. Dr. Corey was an institution of medical care in the south county area for nearly 40 years, operating his practice from the lower level of his home in New Troy. He was a country doctor who had no receptionist to greet patients, no nurse to administer inoculations or simple first aid and no secretary to keep track of accounts. There is some confusion on exactly how many south county residents he brought into the world-he stopped counting at 3,500. He came to New Troy in 1922 and opened his practice. He graduated from the University of Michigan medical school in 21 and interned for a year at Blodgett hospital in Grand Rapids before settling in New Troy. He was 65 when he retired from active practice in 1961. He and his wife moved to St. Petersburg, Fla., where they lived until his death.” I could not locate an obituary for Verenita (Glade) Corey from 1987.