SELMAN, HUNTER, ALLEN, SIZEMORE, BROWNELLER, PREBLE
Posted By: Deb barker (email)
Date: 10/16/2005 at 20:36:28
RALPH J SELMAN, M D – Member of the 3rd Generation of his family to practice medicine in Iowa, Dr Ralph J Selman first became identified with his profession in Ottumwa in 1935, after years of experience in other communities. His career has not been without major interruptions, first by service of his country during World War I, and again in World War II, in which he compiled a most notable record in the Medical Corps.
Born at Ash Grove, Davis County, Iowa, on January 25, 1887, Dr Selman is the son of Dr Thomas J and Mrs Margaret Ellen (Hunter) Selman, his mother being a native of Wapello County, and his father of Davis County. The elder man, a graduate from the Keokuk Medical College, class of 1879, practiced Medicine at Ash Grove from that year to 1917, and in Blakesburg, Wapello County, from 1917 to his passing in 1933, at the age of 79 years. His wife had preceded him in death in 1912 at the age of 47. Grandfather John J Selman was an active physician at Bloomfield, Iowa, all his mature years. Born in Alabama, he came to this city in 1842 and became prominent in his profession and in public life during his long and useful career. As early as 1846 to 1848, he was an Iowa State senator, and his death in 1904 at the age of 89, inspired many tributes to his memory as a pioneer doctor and leading citizen.
Dr Ralph J Selman was reared and educated in Iowa, first in the grade schools, and later at the South Iowa Normal College, where he was graduated with the class of May 26, 1908, a Doctor of Medicine. After being associated with his father until 1909, he hung up his “shingle” in Blunt, South Dakota, where he remained until 1912. In that year, Dr Selman returned to Ash Grove, and practiced with his father for a few years. On January 1, 1914, he established an office in Blakesburg, where he continued his work until November, 1935, when he began his connection with the medical fraternity of Ottumwa.
Dr Selman’s record was not so continuous as it might sound, for on August 25, 1917, he enlisted with the United States Army, receiving a commission as first lieutenant, at first with an Illinois National Guard Unit, and later with the regular army, he was a battalion surgeon. When he was mustered out of the service in June, 1919, it was with the rank of captain. When the United States entered World War II, Dr Selman proffered his services, and in February, 1941, was called to active duty. As a lieutenant colonel, he took refresher courses at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, and then was assigned to the Beaumont General Hospital, at El Paso, Texas, as executive officer of the medical enlisted Technical Training School. Here he was executive officer, assistant commandant and commandant, to the time of the closing of the school on December 31, 1945. This noted school trained some 2200 technicians, of whom 1800 were WAC’s. On July 27, 1944, he had been promoted to a full colonel, and as such was discharged from the Army on June 18, 1946. After a brief vacation, he resumed his practice in Ottumwa on November 1, 1946, with a distinguished military record, unusually broad experience, and the same ambition to serve humanity that has characterized his whole career.
Dr Selman was president of the Examining Board when the National Guard was federalized at Oskaloosa on January 13-20, 1941. Farther back, from 1935 to 1940, he was county physician of Wapello County. His professional memberships include those in the American Medical Association, the Iowa State Medical Association, and the Wapello County Medical Society. He serves on the staffs of the Ottumwa and St Joseph’s hospitals. He has been affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows since he became of age, and he figures popularly in the Kiwanis Club, the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, having been 6th divisional commander of the American Legion in 1932. In politics he is a Democrat; he attends the Christian Church. Having large agricultural interests in Davis County, farming is more than a hobby of Dr Selman, and he is thoroughly modern in his outlook upon agricultural production and the distribution of crops. He is a member of the Ottumwa Country Club.
Dr Ralph J Selman married (first), March 14, 1913, Jessie B Allen, and they were the parents of 4 children. 1) Margaret Louise, who died in infancy. 2) A son, who died in infancy. 3) Richard J, who was born May 22, 1916; a graduate of Parsons College, and Drake University School of Law; now a junior commander in the Judge Advocate’s Department, Territory of Hawaii; he married Elizabeth Sizemore of Ottumwa, and they have 2 children: i)Richard J. Jr., born December 16,1942. ii) Sandra. 4) Thomas A., born April 20, 1920, a graduate of Ottumwa High School, and after 2 years of premedical studies at the University of Iowa, volunteered for military service, and in 1941 transferred to the Air Corps. He received his wings in 1942 and was an instructor at the Midland Bombardier School, in Texas, after which he was sent overseas as a pilot on a B24, and when the war ended, he was on Okinawa. He received his honorable discharge from the Service with the rank of Captain; then re-enlisted with the rank of master sergeant, and is now stationed on Guam with the Air Corps.
Dr Selman married (second), June 29, 1942, Madeline Browneller, daughter of Albert and Gertie (Preble) Browneller, both of whom were born in Ohio and both now deceased. Dr and Mrs Selman are the parents of a son: 5) Ralph LeRoy, who was born September 27, 1943.
Davis Biographies maintained by Deborah Lynne Barker.
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