- Where her beloved Lakeland Memorial Hospital once stood, a park now welcomes visitors in Dr. Kate's name.
On Saturday staff from the Howard Young Medical Center and the Dr. Kate Pelham Newcomb Museum christened the new Dr. Kate Park to remember a woman of extraordinary strength and dedication.
"Was unusual in the 30's 40's and 50's to be a female doctor in the Northwoods," said Cyrus Timmons, President of the Dr. Kate Museum, “ She had a 300 square mile area that she traveled -On snowshoes sometimes. By canoe, by car, snowmobile, she was amazing."
Dr. Kate Newcomb was known for her tireless compassion, and delivering thousands of babies, never once losing a mother. She earned the nickname "Angel on Snowshoes" for braving 30 below weather to care for the sick. But she didn't do it alone. She needed a hospital. A problem solved by a Woodruff high school math class.
“Our father was the geometry teacher in 1952 that in his geometry class was talking about quantities of things, and the class was wondering what a million of something would look like,” said Kathy Patten, daughter of math teacher Otto Burich.
So over the next few months their class collected one million pennies, that’s $10,000 for Dr. Kate. But that was just the beginning. In 1954 Dr. Kate was featured on the popular TV show "It's Your Life".
“[The host] Ralph Edwards made a plea to the audience to send pennies to Dr. Kate Woodruff Wisconsin... We were deluged with mail for at least 2 weeks afterwards that resulted in $105,000 for the hospital," said Patten
The whole school actually got involved... People came from all over to help, we pulled all the tables in from the lunchroom, put them in the gym, and there they were opening envelopes and counting pennies...The Brink's truck had to come right to the school and pick the money up," said Nona Berray, member of the original Penny Parade committee.
With the support of the entire community Lakeland Memorial Hospital became a reality. Today, though Dr. Kate is gone, Woodruff keeps her memory alive.
"She really had a compassion for people... And we look to Dr. Kate's history and to her as a role model for how we take care of our patients today," said Sheila Clough, President of Ministry’s Howard Young Medical Center.
Right now the Dr. Kate Museum is collecting 1 million pennies again to replenish the Dr. Kate scholarship fund.
You can send donations to the Dr. Kate museum in Woodruff. Visit their website at the link below.
Dr. Kate Pelham Newcomb Museum website