Archive for October, 2014

Ryland’s Account of Being Treated by Grandfather: Dr. Alfred Philo Howard

October 24th, 2014 Comments off

Ryland And Ford XMas 1963DrPhiloHoward

So, back to the beginning of these threads.

As the kid from the country, even I had my share.

Yes, I did go on calls in Dal’s old black Ford, or so it looked. Recall a Sunday afternoon going into a warm, unairconditioned modest home with an old man in a sleeveless T shirt who looked very emaciated. Whatever was needed was done; Dal with his black doctor bag. We saw others that day.

I volunteered to wash dishes at an early age at 3608 Audubon one afternoon. Determined that the piano stool was a suitable place to raise my small stature up to the sink. So, ever stood up on a rotating piano stool? Not a stable platform, especially when turning around to talk to people. Off I went and off I went to Dal’s office for broken forearm repairs, setting, and cast. Do remember that clearly. No blood and gore, though.

Regards to all the saved patients, serious, and lightly injured. Amazing. Most of us were under his care.

Cousin Ryland

[The photo on left is of Ryland and his dad, Ford Boulware, Christmas, 1963, as inscribed above by Eugenia Howard Hunt.]


Mary Mize’s Story of Dr. Howard’s finger

October 24th, 2014 Comments off


Note from Sperry: The story was that my grandfather, Dr. Howard, mangled his finger badly as a boy in Palestine, TX. His mother wanted him to be a doctor, so she sewed the finger up herself.  Here’s my cousin Mary Mize’s quote:

I heard something about his finger had allowed him to have a great pitch, and to play in the minor leagues in Philadelphia paid his way to med school. Thanks for helping explain the finger issue.

[That’s Mary Mize, front-and-center in the white dress next to Biba and little Sperry.]



Splitting (and Tying) Hairs, Grainger’s Story of Dr. Howard

October 24th, 2014 Comments off

DrPhiloHoward GraingerCirca1948

There was the 12-year-old, hammering nails up in the tree-house, the head of the hammer sporting a hatchet blade on its other side. Now imagine: Hammer… hammer…hammer…chop! Uh..Oh! Running to the house with a bloody scalp, on to down-town Houston with Mom at the wheel, Dal, the resourceful doctor, tying pinches of my hair across the wound as sutures, muttering “Gotdammit, Gotdammit,” correctly identifying me as a stone-age moron, an opinion regularly corroborated, past and future.

[The photo of Grainger is from earlier, but certainly pertinent nonetheless. And, boy, does Wil McCorquodale look like him, or what??? – Sperry]

Angus’ Story About How Dr. Howard Became Dr. Howard

October 24th, 2014 Comments off

Dr. Alfred Philo Howard circa 1918Robin McCorquodale

Angus’ story:

My mother [Robin Hunt McCorquodale] said there were a few pin hole scars on one of Dal’s fingers.

In his mother’s fingertips

As a child Dal was playing with a meat cleaver.

He cut off one of his fingers, clean off, not a deep gouge, not a partial tear; right through.

Below the nail, bone and all.

Before, one boy; then a boy and fingertip.

Dal’s mother.  That would not do.

… Dal’s mother had decided that Dal was going to be a surgeon.

Don’t ask the child, ask the mother. (Aunt Heather has told me that over and over).

Surgeon – ten intact digits required.

Child, finger, needle, and thread.

Large stiches with thick thread first.

Small stiches with thin thread next.

Following in her fingertips, not her footsteps;

Dal became a surgeon.

Dal and Robin

October 24th, 2014 Comments off

Dr. Alfred Philo Howard circa 1918RobinNanaNanieMine


No one quoted Dr. Howard more than his granddaughter Robin. Here’s an example of why, from Robin’s sister Lalu.

Robin asked Dal for a horse when she was 10 and we were in Alpine. He sent her $25 and she rode the horse every afternoon.
(The photo in front of the church is of Robin with her two grandmothers at this time by the way.)



From Lalu Kiesling on her grandfather Dr. Alfred Philo Howard

October 23rd, 2014 Comments off

Dr. Alfred Philo Howard circa 1918

I was I injured in an auto accident on the rad from Austin to Fredricksberg in ’59 and was not recovering. Uncle Philo drove Dal to Austin. Dal ordered me back to Houston and found doctors to heal me.
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Two Remembrances from Ryland Safford Stacy about her grandfather Dr. Alfred Philo Howard

October 23rd, 2014 Comments off

Dr. Alfred Philo Howard circa 1918

When I was 4 I had to have my tonsils out, and Dal said no grandchild of his would have to stay in the hospital at that age, so he gathered his doctor friends (Carlton, Kincaid,Thorning) and I think I became the first outpatient surgery case in Houston!  This was 1950.  Mom got me a new pair of pj’s, slippers, and robe for the occasion, and I was promised all the ice cream I could eat.  I thought that was great until I woke up…..  I remember Dr Thorning holding the ether thing over my mouth and nose and I counted forward (because I couldn’t count backwards) and we did the deed in Dal’s offices!

When I was in high school, Biba was at Vanderbilt so i spent many chunks of nights at Nannie’s while Mom and Dad went out of town.  I LOVED being there because Dal and I would listen to the radio in the evenings if he could find something in the sports category (especially baseball!) and we would play gin rummy.  I don’t think I won many games in those two years!  Needless to say, he was a crackerjack at any game we would play.   why didn’t I inherit that trick?????

Love, Ryland (the younger)


A story from Heather Wren Welder about Dr. Alfred Philo Howard born October 25, 1878 Palestine, Texas

October 23rd, 2014 Comments off

Dr. Alfred Philo Howard circa 1918

Precious Uncle Philo… Mother, Florence Wren, always credited Uncle Philo for mine & Campbell’s births. I do not know any of the details but Uncle Philo never refuted the compliment. Campbell was born Jan. 26, 1943 in Sandwich, Mass.  My father, Clark, was on a last WWII maneuvers before he left for Africa & Italy in March, as was the doctor. Mother left me with their landlord and she took a taxi to Hyannis Port, Mass. to the hospital as she was in labor. When she got to the hospital, she was told that the dr was on maneuvers and would get back to help her as soon as possible. The nurses put her on a steel table with a sheet covering her feet & left. Campbell came quickly and Mother, all alone, helped to deliver her own son. She was badly hurt & not sewn up correctly. After my Father left for Algiers in March, Mother with a 17 month old and a 6 wk old baby took the train to see her sisters, tell them goodbye and went to Texas in May of 1943. Uncle Philo immediately put her in the hospital, found the best surgeon and according to my parents, saved Mother’s life and made the rest of her life bearable.

I have my own special memory as he diagnosed my ruptured appendix  as he and Dr Worhall conversed over me, deciding that the 6 year old was dehydrated and could possibly die. They rushed me to St Joseph’s Hosp. Uncle Philo came every day for 2 weeks to check on me and bring me, I think, a lollipop. It is little wonder that I loved him dearly and respected him greatly. We are all better for having had this dear and precious man in our lives.