Dr. W. Edgar Sincock addressed first graduates of Cary nursing class, remarks helped create a culture of caring

3 weeks ago

On May 16, 1928, Dr. W Edgar Sincock, a Caribou physician, was asked to address the first graduating class from the nursing school at the Cary Memorial Hospital. Members of the class, which featured eight young women who had completed a rigorous training schedule, would go on to serve the new hospital which opened in 1924. Among Dr. Sincock’s remarks were words of praise for the hospital’s founder Dr. Jefferson Cary and words that would help to establish a unique culture that would become a hospital tradition.

“I feel that this is a most fitting time and place to give a few words of praise to the memory of our former townsman through whose generosity, and broadmindedness this event has been made possible.

“Dr. Jefferson Cary, whose portrait hangs on the wall just inside the doors of our hospital, was the great benefactor who left all of his property, about $60,000, upon his death in 1912 to the town for a hospital, with one stipulation; the property was to be invested and when it had reached $125,000 the town could take $25,000 of it to build a hospital and use the remaining $100,000 to endow it with. Dr. Jefferson Cary had foresight and vision as time has amply proved; more than that he was a man who stood high in his profession, he was a wide reader, an interesting conversationalist, a great thinker, philosopher and a thorough gentleman. I was very well acquainted with Dr. Cary and very many times he said to me, ‘What do you say if we build a lifesaving station.’

I did not know then what he had in mind but I have no doubt now but he was thinking of what he intended to do for his fellow citizens in the building and maintenance of a hospital in order that the sick and suffering of Caribou should be better cared for; and all the people of Caribou whether sick or well should never forget the big hearted thoughtfulness of Dr. Jefferson Cary.”

In addition to his praise of Dr. Cary, Dr. Sincock, in his closing remarks, helped to set a tone that has become part of the fabric of the culture at Cary Medical Center. “And it is to you, young ladies that I now wish to say a few words. You must keep on studying and advancing with the times, not only what you can learn from books but in your understanding of people in ways of caring for them.”

Kris Doody, RN and CEO for Cary Medical Center, said that these words of Dr. Sincock helped to build a unique approach to patient care. 

“Dr. Sincock seemed to understand that while it was important to study and learn from medical textbooks, connecting with patients on a personal level, empathizing with their medical situation, and having compassion was also very important,” said Doody. “That is the culture that he and hundreds of others over the past 100 years have coveted and passed on to succeeding generations of caregivers. It is a culture we continue to embrace to this very day.”

Dr. W Edgar Sincock graduated from Caribou High School in 1887, the first graduating class of two members. He attended and earned his medical degree from Bowdoin College in 1891 and began his medical practice in Caribou that same year. The physician was honored at York Harbor when the Maine Medical Association at their annual meeting and banquet presented him with a 50-Year service medal. He was one of six physicians and surgeons in the state to be so honored. Dr. Sincock died January 12, 1954.

Cary Medical is celebrating 100 Years of Caring and sharing its history through the archives maintained at the Caribou Public Library.

Please note: Cary Medical Center is celebrating its 100th anniversary. These historical articles are thanks to the archives at the Caribou Public Library and the work of the late Juanita Knowlton.