Ezekiel Ricker Dumke, M.D. 1886-1961


Dr. Ezekiel R. Dumke was born December 15, 1886 in Manitowac, Wisconsin. His father came from Germany and owned a shoe store in Wisconsin. In his youth he did the usual chores, including cutting neighbor's lawns, and loved to hunt and play football and basketball in High School. He was called "the man with the million dollar smile."

After high school his first job was with a cement company and his next job in a ship yard. One day a fellow-worker had a bad accident; it was then he decided that other jobs offered more of a future. He had a sister who taught school and a brother and sister who were doctors. He spent two years at Denver University, working at various jobs to support himself. He made his first trip to Utah in 1905-06 as a member of the University of Denver football and basketball teams.

After two years he had saved enough to start medical school at Northwestern University. During the summers, to pay his way he worked in the mines at Butte, Montana. He graduated from Northwestern University Medial School in 1910, and interned at St. Anthony Hospital in Denver, and later at L.D.S. Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah.

In 1911 he came to Ogden to practice as an assistant to Dr. Ezra Rich. In 1915 he left Ogden and went to Chicago, then to Boston, to do postgraduate work at Massachusetts General Hospital. He also took postgraduate courses at the University of Pennsylvania, Crile Clinic and the Mayo Clinic. He decided to return to Ogden in January 1917 to enter private practice and was appointed the surgeon for the U.I.C. Railroad, Bamberger Railroad and the Utah Power and Light Company.

During Dr. Dumke's first stay in Ogden (1911) he was invited to a party at the home of Mrs. E.O. Wattis (Utah Construction Company) where he met her daughter, Edna Wattis. His statement at that tie was that he would wait for her to grow up. On June 25, 1917, they were married.

Zeke enlisted into the Medical Reserve Corps during the First World War and in January left for Oklahoma. He also served in Texas and New York in a debarkation hospital. He returned home to Ogden in March 1919 to begin his practice all over again.

He had many patients, and like most doctors, worked long hours. He was regarded as very kind and generous, and many patients recalled that if they were in financial difficulty and needed medical care, Dr. Dumke would tell them not to worry as there would be no charge from his office.

There was a small boy who had his legs burned badly, who sold newspapers from a small red wagon he pushed on the street. Doctor Dumke always bought papers from him. He told the lad that if he would like to have his legs straightened he could do it for him without any charge. The boy learned to walk once again. One of his little town activities was the aid he gave (particularly financial) to young people in need of entering the medical as well as other fields. As Director of the E. O. Wattis Foundation and the E.R. and Edna Wattis Foundation, he was credited with helping many young doctors through their early years of practice. He assisted in placing many more young doctors in their desired fields of practice due to his influence with many prominent men of the nation.

The forming of the Ogden Surgical Society was due to the aid and influence of Dr. Dumke and Ogden doctors Dr. Fister and Dr. Clark Rich. He was very active in its affairs and through his many contacts around the country and the world was in a position to personally invite speakers of great reputation to the meetings.

The generosity of Dr. Dumke and his family in the financial support of this organization has been a large factor in maintaining it. Dr. Dumke was a familiar figure at football, boxing, baseball and other athletic events. He was a man who loved to fish on the Madison and Snake rivers. He had a summer home at Helgen Dam in Montana where he would often entertain doctors, who had attended the annual meetings of the Surgical Society.

Ezekiel Dumke, M.D., passed away in the Iron County Hospital at Cedar City, Utah on March 21st, 1961, of a coronary occlusion while returning with Mrs. Dumke to Ogden from and extended trip throughout the country and Mexico. His friend, Dr. Alton Ochsner recalled, "How much he did for all of us. We are all a great deal richer for having known him. I know of no one else who embodied all the principles of a real physician as much as Zeke. He has those rare qualities of sweetness and thoughtfulness that so few people have. It was always so much fun to be with him."

Excerpt from "A History of the Ogden Surgical Medical Society" from 1946 to 2006, V.Johnson Historian.


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