William E. (“Bill”) Daehler, MD, and Jerome Sheets, MD, accepted the “Outstanding Physician Award” Jan. 8 from the Scioto County Medical Society for their medical support and service to the community. The honors were presented during a dinner and presentation at the Friends Community Center.
During his five decades of medical practice, Daehler was busy as a family doctor before turning to anesthesia in the latter part of his career. A son of J. Walter Daehler, MD, and a Portsmouth High School graduate of 1943, Bill Daehler served in the Navy in the last year of World War II. Later while in college Bill met his future wife, Catherine, a student from Lima majoring in zoology, at Michigan University. They married in June 1950. Bill graduated from Medical School in 1952, the same year he and Cathie had their first child, daughter Shelley.
In another repetition of history, Bill began his internship at Cincinnati General Hospital in 1952, followed by a residency at Christ Hospital in Cincinnati. His father had also gone through medical training at those facilities more than 40 years earlier. Bill and Cathie’s second son, Bill, arrived in 1954.
In 1954 Bill returned to his home town with his family and opened an office adjacent to Dr. Paul McAfee. “He had a very busy obstetrical practice and was helpful in getting me started,” Bill says, “sending me patients and having me cover for him when he left town.”
After moving to Portsmouth, Bill and Cathie had three more children in the next few years, Marsha, Becky and Jim. In addition to general practice and helping deliver babies for Dr. McAfee, Bill discovered a need for anesthesia specialists. “I had had a few months of training in anesthesia in my residency and since there seemed to be a need for this service in Portsmouth, I devoted a lot of my time this,” he says. So much time, in fact, that Bill focused almost exclusively on anesthesiology in the last several years of his practice.
In addition to his medical practice, Bill and Cathie found time to travel and were busy with their five children (and later, 10 grandchildren). In later years, Cathie found time to become an RN at the age of 50 and performed private duty nursing. She was also an amateur naturalist, an active Red Cross volunteer and civic leader. She died in 1999 of a rare cerebral vascular condition.
Bill continues to stay active in the community and with his family. He has been able to travel, including several trips to visit relatives in Germany, and has also spent time with his family during his retirement. In August 2001 he married Anita Marie Morrison, a friend and co-worker from the former Mercy Hospital for 25 years, where she was director of surgery and emergency services. The Daehlers live in Portsmouth.
Jerome Sheets was born in 1923 in Scioto County. In 1929, at the age of six, he met the future Mrs. Jeanne Sheets while attending Wilson School. (“I went home and proclaimed ‘I like Jerome Sheeps!’” she recalls about mispronouncing his name.) The next year, however, Jerome moved to Grant and he would not encounter Jeanne again until high school. He graduated in 1941, a pivotal year for most Americans.
“I was in college at Miami Oxford when Pearl Harbor was attacked,” he recalls. “I was like everyone else and wanted to enlist immediately. I enlisted in the Army.”
After his military service and the end of the war, Jerome returned to pursue his college degree. He married his sweetheart, Jeanne, in 1948 and in 1949 he was accepted in Western Reserve’s medical school.
“Internships did not pay well enough to live on, so I joined the Army Medical Corps,” he says. “I was with the Second US Infantry and served during the Korean War.”
Following his second military service, Dr. Sheets opened his own practice in family medicine in the Portsmouth area in 1952, a practice he continued until 1993. After closing the office, he continued to practice for the Bureau of Workers Compensation until mid-2007.
During more than half a century of medical service, Dr. Sheets was a leader in the medical community, including serving as president of the Scioto County Medical Society, chief of staff at Mercy Hospital two years and chief of staff at Scioto Memorial Hospital for a year. The community had three hospitals in the early days and Dr. Sheets remembers everyone had their preferences.
“I remember the medical society used to meet in the auditorium of the old N&W Railroad Building and the Mercy physicians would be sitting on one side of the room and the Scioto physicians on the other.”
During his busy medical career, Dr. Sheets and Jeanne found time to raise seven children, and now have 13 grand- and great-grandchildren.
Of special interest in Dr. Sheets’ practice was diabetes, a disease with which he was all too personally acquainted. Both he and his son, Kevin, a pharmacist in practice at the Wheelersburg Kroger store, have had the disease for most of their lives.
“I attended a meeting of the American Diabetes Association, held in Toronto,” he recalls, “and was fortunate enough to have tea with Dr. Charles Best, who with Dr. Frederick Banting had discovered insulin.”
Over the years Dr. Sheets has seen refinements in the treatment of diabetes, most significantly the advent of the insulin pump, different kinds of insulin and the development of oral agents to help manage the disease.
Dr. Sheets, now retired, and Jeanne live in the Portsmouth area. Also at the dinner, Robert Knox, MD, local ophthalmologist, was honored for his service as president of the Medical Society.