Remembering Dr. Boone

Kimberly R. Smith, Special to The County
3 weeks ago

Dr. Sherman Willard Boone moved to Presque Isle from Fredericton, New Brunswick to practice medicine in 1887. He practiced medicine here for 46 years before retiring in 1932. 

He and his wife, Elizabeth Day (Bird) Boone had five children. One daughter, Annis, became a well-known house mother at University of Maine. There was also a second daughter, Margaret. Son Frank became a successful civil engineer and contractor and, in fact, built the present-day Caribou Road as well as designed the Boone Block on Main Street here in Presque Isle. Another son, Ralph, became a dentist who practiced in Caribou. The final son, Storer, followed in his father’s footsteps and became a well-known and respected local physician. 

The family lived on Dyer Street in a home next to another well-known and respected business man, Arthur Gould. As a young child, Storer Boone fell through the ice on the river and was rescued by the family dog, who dragged him to safety. He attended Academy Training School and graduated from Presque Isle High School in 1913, where he had played in the band and on the baseball team.

He attended McGill University in Montreal, his father’s alma mater. Unfortunately following graduation, he contracted tuberculosis, which at the time was one of the top three causes of death with one in every four people contracting the disease.

In 1921, the young Dr. Boone returned to Presque Isle and began practicing medicine alongside his father. He and his new bride, Phebe, whom he had met at college, took up residence on Coburn Avenue and later built a beautiful home at 54 Third Street, which still stands today. 

His wife was quoted in the Star Herald in 1981 saying that the young couple did not plan on staying in Presque Isle, “But he was needed; there was a lot of work – too much work.”

With the establishment of the city’s first public hospital, Boone became a junior member of the medical staff there and built his practice from the patients he saw there. The Boone medical office was a very busy one, sometimes seeing 50 or 60 people a day between the father and son doctor duo. Office hours were six days a week, including evening hours three days a week. Young Dr. Boone, like his father, also made house calls. 

Dr. Storer Boone worked hard, but took time to relax, as well. In fact, he was one of the earliest owners of what passed as a snowmobile in those days. It was made using the body of a Model T truck. The snowmobile was narrow so as to fit in the tracks left by a horse-drawn buggy. It sported runners resembling skis on the front and a track on the back. The machine would go up to eight miles an hour and had no brakes. 

In 1929, Boone was one of the first doctors in northern Maine to be elected a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. In fact, at that time he was one of only 110 fellows in the nation. In order to become a fellow, one had to meet some very rigorous standards including documenting 200 surgical procedures. 

He was one of four Maine physicians recognized by the Maine Medical Association for 50 years of service to the medical community. Boone served as president of the medical staff of the hospital from 1959 to 1960. In addition, he was instrumental in raising funds for the “new” hospital when it was built along Academy Street. 

Boone retired in 1967 after 46 years in medical practice — the same number of years as his father. He passed away on Jan. 3, 1981.

Kimberly R. Smith is the secretary/treasurer of the Presque Isle Historical Society.