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Ronald "Doc" McCoy, M.D.
and Sibyl Belle (Adams) McCoy

by Melanie McCoy

Ronald McCoy, M.D., was born Oct. 23, 1919, in a Texas County, Oklahoma dugout east of Hardesty. His parents, Hugh "Big Red" McCoy and Mary Ethylene Lowe, were of Chickasaw, Irish, and Cherokee lineage. His motherís family was on the 1900 Chickasaw Nation Census and moved to the "Panhandle" from the Chickasaw Reservation in 1903. The McCoys and 9 children raised cattle, horses, chickens, hogs, geese, ducks, turkeys, guineas and bantys. They sold eggs, milk, cream, butter, meat, vegetables, and grew several crops. Grandmother McCoy made dresses and shirts from flour sacks. Cornbread and pinto beans put in daily appearances on their table. I remember helping her churn butter in a wooden churn when I was 4, and I remember Dad telling me about all the Indians coming home every year to help harvest the broom corn.

After Hardesty High School, Dad got degrees in Chemistry and Agronomy from Panhandle State College. He wrestled in high school and college, earning him the nickname "Killer McCoy". He studied for his Masterís in Chemistry at Texas Tech., graduated in the top 10% of his 1947 class at Oklahoma University Medical School, and ranked in the top 10% nationally on his Medical Boards. His surgical internship was at Grady Memorial Hospital, Atlanta. He received his Specialty in Family Practice from U. of Nebraska. His first practice was Guymon, OK, 1948. In 1949, Dad began his 20 year medical practice in Coldwater, Kansas.

College Biology changed my parents' lives! Dad wasnít getting it, but the "cutest girl (he) ever saw was getting Aís." (It was Sibyl.) He got her to tutor him. They both got A's, and Dad got a girlfriend who "absolutely trounced" him in tennis every time no matter how he tried! (At 40, she also "trounced" my 20 yr. old future husband in basketball!)

Sibyl Belle Adams was born January 1, 1920, Augusta, Arkansas, in a cabin with a dirt floor. Her parents, Mary Ellen Scott and Thomas Erwin Adams, were of Cherokee and Irish lineage. The Cherokee people on Sibyl's Motherís side go back to 1750 North Carolina. In 1790 they migrated to Tennessee where they raised horses and mined saltpeter in caves on their land. It's now a Regional Park with many "Scott" family landmarks. 1838: Pres. Jackson appropriated all Cherokee lands, marching them to Oklahoma. Momís people hid other Cherokees escaping from the "Trail of Tears" in the familyís caves in the Tennessee mountains.

Sibyl grew up with 10 siblings on a farm in Malvern, Arkansas. The cabin had a dirt floor, and they had shoes for winter only. They walked to town or rode Jack, their mule. They fished the river behind the house, grew 2 acres of vegetables to sell, had apple, mulberry, and persimmon trees, and a milk cow. If it was Momís turn to weed, she was usually at the top of an apple tree reading!

At Malvern High School, Sibyl was captain of the girlsí basketball team, and a straight A class valedictorian. She was also a straight A valedictorian at Panhandle State College with double majors in English and Home Economics. She played tennis, was President of the Student Body and the National Honor Society, and was listed in the "Who's Who of Colleges and Universities."

Ronald and Sibyl married December 20, 1941, in the Methodist Parsonage, Lubbock, Texas. After college in 1942, Sibyl worked in an airplane factory while Ronald finished med school. Their first child, Mary "Melanie" McCoy, was born August 6, 1946, Oklahoma City. In 1947, Ronald went to Atlanta for his internship. Sibyl and Melanie moved to Hardesty with the McCoys, where Sibyl taught high school English. In 1948 Ronald's first practice was a clinic in Guymon, but in 1949, the opportunity he had been waiting for opened up. Dr. Holcomb's practice in Coldwater was available. Trinidad, Colorado was 2nd choice, but Coldwater, Kansas was his dream! He was elated.

In May, 1949, we moved into the Erlich apartments' 3rd floor on Main Street, east of Floyd Thompsonís. Jerry and Nancy Thompson and Kay Squire from downstairs celebrated my 3rd birthday party with me there in August. The favors were little tractors, and Kay gave me the book, "Slip, the Little Red Fox," which I read to my sons, and now to my grandson. Thank you, Kay, wherever you are.

In 1950, we moved to 410 W. First St., where Charlie and Barbara Couchman now live. October 5, 1950, Ronald Joseph "Joe" McCoy was born. October 26, 1952, Robert "Muncy" McCoy was born, and October 3, 1953, Patricia Ann "Trisha" McCoy was born. Our stories appear elsewhere (in Comanche County History, Vol. II).

Dad's practice flourished. He loved the people of Comanche County immensely. He made "house calls" in the "Silver Streak," a 1950 Chevy coupe with no back seat. We were always excited to see what he'd bring home from work, because he was just as happy to have chickens, eggs, tomatoes, apples, and melons for payment, and they were delicious!

Dad was instrumental in getting Comanche County Hospital, Pioneer Lodge, and the Scout Building built. He was so proud of that hospital. It was one of the most well equipped in the area, with labor and delivery rooms, nursery, 2 O.R.'s, E.R., X-Ray, and fully equipped Lab. Ruth Botts was an absolutely brilliant lab technician. The 2 of them excelled in investigative medicine and poured their hearts into it. He had a very skilled team of nurses, including Ruth McEnterfer, Barbara Couchman, Frances Butcher, Helen King, Thelma Barnhart, Thelma Blackard, Effie McCay, and others I ask to forgive me for not recalling. Then there was Sam Lawrence. He was called a "janitor," but he was much more: maintenance and repair expert, public relations, tour guide, and most importantly, "Chief Angel of Patient Morale," a position he probably wasn't even aware he held. Oh yes--there was a certain skinny little McCoy girl he would take to the walk-in fridge for a smorgasbord every time she came to visit her Daddy.

Comanche County Hospital, Comanche County, Kansas. Photo from the Diamond Jubilee Historical Souvenir Program. Coldwater, KS: Western Star, 1959.
Comanche County Hospital, Comanche County, Kansas.

"Doc's" surgical skills were extraordinary. He did many of the surgeries for Drs. Glenn, Bradley, Waldorf, and others in the area. Dr. Richard Khouri, Los Angeles, was Dad's med school classmate. When his Mother contracted cancer, he had access to any Dr. in L.A., but he said he wanted the best for her, and he flew her to Coldwater, Kansas, so he could have Dad do her surgery.

In the early 1950's, Dad started the first medical emergency flights for the people of Comanche County. It was unusual for those times, so the Journal of the American Medical Association wrote an article about him. He was also the county coroner, and so far, he's still delivered the most babies in the county. Our phone (#121, and later LUdlow 2-2198) rang at all hours. He never once saw the end of a movie at the "Chief." He thought he was "safe" at our South Farm, which purposely had no phone. Even so, Sheriff Phil Hackney had to make several trips out there over the years.

The Coldwater Clinic was east of Hatfield's Furniture on Main Street. (Mr. Hatfield was the "undertaker." He and "Doc" found their roles rather humorous in light of the fact their relatives had previously been involved in a minor disagreement over a pig back in the Appalachians.) The Clinic's waiting room had a Children's Corner with small couches and chairs. Neva Brown and Mable Blackard were Dad's unflappable nurse and receptionist. About 1959, Dad started giving Neva summers off. The phone rang at home. Dad said, "Melanie, I've got a summer job for you. Get down here." I was 13, and I spent that summer and the next 8 being the Office"nurse." Thankfully, Dad was a great teacher. He was also a Preceptor on staff at K.U. med school. Every year, a medical student spent 6 months as a "preceptee," learning medicine in "the real world" from Dad. I later had the opportunity to work with 2 doctors he taught, when I was a "real" ICU nurse at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

Dad's community involvement included Research Club, Lions' Club, Bridge Club, People's State Bank Board, Boy Scout Leader, CHS Football Trainer, and Iroquois Medical League. He raised cattle "on the side." At the South Farm (old Burditt place) he grew pears, apples, cherries, mulberries, vegetables, and raised hogs and horses. At the farm North of town, he grew milo and planted tree strips. One day we planted 500 trees. When he got bored, he framed a few thousand pictures, built corrals, rode fence, and constructed a bomb shelter with a "playhouse" on top!

Sibyl's life in Coldwater was as busy as Ronald's. First, she had to keep up with Ronald, then there were 4 kids in every school activity possible, a house, a large garden, and 2 farms to run. When Dad was low on surgical nurses, he taught Mom (and me) to fill in, and sometimes she helped at the Office. Her community involvement included Research Club, P.E.O., Bridge Club, Cub Scout Den Mother, Kensington Club, Holmes Bible Study, and Iroquois Medical League Auxiliary. We belonged to the Methodist Church, and Mom and Dad were active there. At 40, Mom fulfilled a dream she'd had since she was a girl--to play the piano! She took lessons from Leda King for 2 years. I was so proud of her.

No one will ever know the anguish my Father went through when he was forced to make the decision to leave. He had developed serious heart disease, and had not been able to take vacation for 5 years. His cardiologist told him if he didn't significantly lighten his workload, he would not live another five years. The decision was made for him. It was an emotionally wrenching time for him and for Coldwater, but his health and life were in serious jeopardy. Thankfully, he was able to join a large clinic in Dodge City. Thankfully, Coldwater eventually got Dr. Goering, who stayed 20 years. Thankfully, because of a lightened workload, Dad's health improved, and he lived to practice medicine another 20 years. You'll never know how happy it made him that people still came clear to Dodge City to doctor with him. His face just beamed when he told me about it. Thankfully, because you were able to let him go, he lived long enough for all his grandchildren to know and love him dearly, and he them. Thank you, Coldwater.

Sadly, Sibyl only lived to see the first of her 4 grandchildren. She passed away April 29, 1973 at the age of 53. He said, "She was the love of my life." "Doc" passed away February 15, 1989 at the age of 69. They are buried side by side in Dodge City, Kansas.

The Western Star, May 3, 1973.

Mrs. Ronald McCoy Dies in Dodge City

Mrs. Ronald (Sibyl A.) McCoy died Sunday, April 29, 1973, at Trinity Hospital following a lengthy illness.

She was born January 1, 1920 in Van Buren, Ark., to Thomas and Mary Adams. The family moved to Melvern, Ark., where she graduated from high school first in her class. She attended Panhandle State College in Goodwell, Okla., graduating first in her class there. She taught high school English in Hardesty, Okla.

She and Dr. Ronald McCoy were married December 20, 1941 in Lubbock, Texas. In January 1949 she moved with her husband to Coldwater, Kans. In 1969 she moved to Dodge City with her family. She was a member of the First United Methodist church, WSCS, DZ chapter of PEO, and is also listed in Who's Who of American Colleges and Universities. The last few years she has been a volunteer tutor at Miller grade school.

Mrs. McCoy is survived by her husband, Dr. Ronald McCoy; two sons, Joe and Muncy, both of Dodge City; two daughters, Patricia of Dodge City, and Mrs. Charles (Melanie) Goodsell of Lawrence; one brother, Ford Adams of Midwest City, Okla.; one sister, Mrs. Dorothy Cummins of Shawnee, Okla., and one grandson, Joel.

She was preceded in death by her parents, three brothers and one sister.

Funeral services were held on Wednesday at 2 p.m. at the First United Methodist church with Rev. Basil L. Johnson and Elmer L. Brooks in charge. Burial was in Maple Grove cemetery in Dodge City with Barber-Dunsford Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.

The Western Star, February 23, 1989.

Dr. Ronald McCoy

Dr. Ronald McCoy, 69, died Feb. 15, 1989, at his home in Dodge City after a sudden illness.

Born Oct. 23, 1919, in a sod dugout near Hardesty, Okla., he married Sibyl Belle Adams Dec. 20, 1942, at Lubbock. She died April 29, 1973. He later married Rosemary Steckline Mar. 4, 1988, at Dodge City.

Dr. McCoy graduated from Panhandle A&M College, Goodwell, and did graduate study at Texas Tech. He received his medical degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1947. He practiced at Grady Memorial Hospital, Atlanta before he moved to Coldwater in 1948 to establish his family practice.

During his 19 years in Coldwater, he and his family were involved in Methodist Church activities. He became instrumental in establishing Coldwater's first hospital in 1950.

He moved his family to Dodge City in 1969, where he joined the Southwest Clinic.

Dr. McCoy was also active in the Boy Scout program, and had been an instructor on the staff of University of Kansas Medical Center. He was a Federal Aviation Administration flight surgeon. He held memberships in the American Medical Association, Kansas State and Ford County Medical Societies.

Survivors include: His wife, of the home; two sons, Joe, Lecompton, Muncy, Dodge City; two daughters, Melanie Goodsell, Simi Valley, Calif., Patricia Turcotte, Lawrence; four stepsons, Jerry Steckline, Arlington, Tex., Kevin Steckline, Wichita, Shawn Steckline, Dodge City, and Michael Steckline, Omaha; one sister, Avis Hinds, Hardesty, Okla.; and four grandchildren.

Funeral was Feb. 21, 1989, at Swaim Funeral Home in Dodge City. Rev. Norbert Temaat officiated. Burial was in Maple Grove Cemetery.

Family suggests memorials to the Ronald McCoy Charitable Fund in care of the funeral home.

Also see:

Ronald Joseph "Joe" McCoy, son of Ronald and Sibyl McCoy.

Twenty Called for Physical Examinations, The Western Star, May 22, 1953: "Ronald McCoy, M.D., of Coldwater, has taken his pre-induction physical examination."

Boy Scout Troop, Coldwater, Kansas, two articles circa 1968: "Boy Scouts Build During Campout" and "Local Boy Scouts Take 56 Mile Hike".

Ruth Botts, "She served as a Comanche County public health nurse and was a lab and x-ray technician at Comanche County Hospital for 20 years."

Edith Marguerite (Cline) Martin, "Edith moved back to Coldwater and returned to her nursing career, going to work at the Comanche County Hospital in January 1954. She worked as a nurse 20 years at the Comanche County Hospital..." -- Comanche County History, Vol. 1, p. 522.

Coldwater Centennial Notebook, 1884 - 1984 by Evelyn Reed.

Diamond Jubilee Historical Booklet, 1959.

Practical Jokes & Backfired Actions: A few stories from Comanche County, Kansas: "Sam Lawrence and the Wounded Raccoon"

Thanks to Melanie McCoy for contributing the above biography to this web site! Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above obituaries!

This RootsWeb website is being created by Jerry Ferrin, who was delivered at birth by Doc McCoy, with the able assistance of many Contributors. Your comments, suggestions and contributions of historical information and photographs to this site are welcome. Please sign the Guest Book. This page was created 26 March 2006 and last updated 2 December 2006.