A newly renovated wing at the Lady Minto Hospital was dedicated to the memory of Dr. J.J. Sheahan "beloved physician of the entire community" in a ceremony on August 7, 1963. Dr. Sheahan had practised medicine in Chapleau from 1907 until his death in 1942.
In his comments, C.B. Greenlaw, chair of the hospital's management board spoke of the "vital role" Dr. Sheahan had played in the history of the hospital. In fact, Dr. Sheahan was the first president of the hospital board when it opened in 1914, and was "house physician and surgeon".
In dedicating the plaque, Rev. J.G.M. Doolan, Rector of St. John's Anglican Church said that in honouring Dr. Sheahan, it paid "eloquent testimony to the affection and respect for Dr. Sheahan from a professional and personal standpoint." Rev. Father Gustave Lampron, of Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church, gave similar comments in French.
Mrs. Lionel Nolan, long associated with the Sheahan family spoke of his influence in the community and the warm place he held in the hearts of his patients, young and old.
"His ready smile won the hearts of the young patients who considered him their ideal and hero. To adults, he was not only physician but counsellor, father confessor and friend. He was always available in time in need," Mrs. Nolan said, according to a story in the Sudbury Star.
E.P. Everett, superintendent of the CPR Schreiber Division commented: "Everything said here today would not bring out all the qualities this man possessed. He was a great man in every respect. He practised through this northern country when times were very difficult, when dog teams and horses and sleighs provided the transportation. However, when duty called, he was there."
|Dr Sheahan and Queen Ina Robinson. Others unknown|
Tours were conducted by Mrs. Frances Burrows, Mrs. William Grinton, Mrs. Ross Pellow, Mrs. Richard Avison and Mrs. J.R. Keddie.
Writing in Snapshots of Chapleau's Past, George Evans noted "In 1916, the good people of Chapleau showed their apppreciation Of Dr. Sheahan's service to the community by presenting him with a brand new Ford... It was the first automobile in Chapleau and Dr. Sheahan is reported to have quipped that 'instead of babies coming in a little black bag, they will now come in a little black car'".
|LMH under construction top right|
Commenting after Dr. Sheahan's death on October 26, 1942, the Chapleau Post said that residents of Chapleau and area had "lost one of its most loved and public spirited citizens".
"Commanding the respect and trust of his fellow citizens from the first, he put his profession above all else. Never known to rest while work was pressing he took few holidays."
However, he was also involved in the community as member of the high school board, honorary president of the Chapleau branch of the Canadian Red Cross Society and supporter of Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church as well as being the Knights of Columbus. In 1940 he was King of the Chapleau Winter Carnival.
As a mark of the high esteem in which Dr. Sheahan was held, on the day of his funeral service, conducted by Rev. Father Romeo Gascon at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church, schools and stores were closed in Chapleau. The Chapleau Post reported that "everyone the young and the old attended the funeral which was one of the largest Chapleau has ever known."
The plaque is now displayed at the Chapleau General Hospital. My thanks to the folks at the Chapleau General Hospital Foundation who kindly provided me with a photo of it. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org