Gerald Maynard Schumann was born January 17, 1909, the oldest of three children to Samuel and Bertha Schumann. Gerald was raised in Bronx, New York. Attending Columbia University in New York, he graduated in 1933 as a Medical Doctor, at 24 years of age. In World War II he served as a surgeon in the U.S. Army.
Upon discharge from the Service he answered a recruitment advertisement in a medical journal sent by the Young Business Men’s Club of Des Arc for a doctor to replace two who were retiring. A “still small voice”* told him go. He moved to Des Arc, Arkansas in 1946.
His first clinic was in the upper floors of the hotel where he lived. He arranged a unique telephone connection between the lobby and his office for patients, a new idea for the people of Des Arc, as were new techniques he learned in the Army. Later he bought buildings on Main Street for a larger clinic, which eventually became a small hospital. When the area’s White County Hospital was built in the adjacent county, Dr. Schumann closed his hospital retaining only his family doctor clinic. Upon his retirement he deeded the clinic to the city of Des Arc.
Dr. Schumann had been widowed and had children. Some time later he married Veda Mashburn, his office manager. She worked with Brenda Buffalo, his daughter who had been around the clinic since childhood, and Pam Patton. When Dr. Schumann needed one of them he whistled “Bob White”.
For 54 years he rendered caring, compassionate care to the people, always learning and using new techniques. At retirement, often having worked 12-hour days, six days a week, making house calls, delivering babies, covering four generations of many families, he said, “Living and working here has been a vacation – never work, and I never needed a hobby. This was my hobby”**. He was also quoted saying that he was doing “God’s work”***.
“Country Doctor of the Year”. There he earned recognition as – No. 2 “Country Doctor of the Year” of America!
A reception of celebration was held for Dr. Schumann and his staff when his office closed and a TV station came to interview him. When he was asked how to live to be 91 years old and still be working he said, “get plenty of rest, try not to worry and walk with God”****.
Dr. Schumann practiced medicine for 67 years, until he was 91 years of age. For 54 years he was in Des Arc, Prairie County, Arkansas. He died on March 15, 2006 at the age of 97 years. Burial was in Carlisle Cemetery.
*White River Journal, August 3, 2000
**White River Journal, August 3, 2000
***White River Journal, August 3, 2000
****White River Journal, August 3, 2000
Betty L. Battenfield, March 2019