Jeffers High School The Village of South Range
South Range Elementary
 

William Dick, South Range Dentist

On the occasion of South Range's centennial celebration, it is appropriate to give recognition to persons having important roles in the early history of the community. Dr. William Dick was one of those individuals. A graduate of the University of Michigan Dental School in 1902, he established a dental practice in South Range immediately following his graduation, and continued as a dentist there until just before his death in 1944 in Lansing, MI following an operation. There are many former patients who still remember climbing the creaky stairs to his office on the second floor above Rimpela's Clothing store and being warmly greeted by their friendly dentist.

Not much is known of Will's life and schooling in Canada. His older brothers, Alex on the left and Neil in the center of the above picture, both came to the Calumet area in 1888 to seek a better life. Alex was a miner, and Neil became the manager of the third floor of the Tamarack Store. Alex married in 1901 in Calumet and returned to Ontario that same year to operate the family farm after his mother died. However, he came back to the Copper Country in late 1903 or early 1904, this time to the South Range area. The birth certificate for Alex's second child, born in October of 1904, gives their residence as "Baltic Mines." One can imagine that Dr. Dick influenced their return, and that he was a doting uncle. Alex and his family remained in the South Range area until 1909 when he became the recipient of a Canadian land grant in the western province of Alberta and became a successful farmer there. Will's other brother, Neil, married and had 6 children while living in Tamarack until his untimely death in 1917 due to complications from an elevator accident at the Tamarack Store. Will very likely also came to the Copper Country before entering dental school, as a 1901 University of Michigan record gives his home address as Calumet when he was a student. The two below pictures are of Will's 1902 graduation portrait, and an informal picture of him in his graduation cap and gown.

Will GraduationWill Cap and Gown

After graduation, Will initially lived in Trimountain, at least that was the home address he gave to the University of Michigan in 1903. He remained a bachelor throughout his life, taking walks for exercise every day and eating most of his meals at Heikkinen's Restaurant.

Will was always interested in his family and attempted to keep in touch. He also was an early owner of an automobile, which he used locally and for frequent trips to Ann Arbor. However, on one occasion he drove all the way to Alberta with his sister Mary to visit his then deceased brother Alex's family living there. The following is a picture of Will and Mary with Will's niece, Kate (center), the older of Alex's two daughters.

Mary Kate and Will

After his 1944 death in Lansing, Dr. Dick's body was returned to Canada for interment in the Dick family plot in Hillcrest Cemetary in Tara, Ontario where both of his parents and his two sisters are also buried.

Dr. William Dick was a quiet, intelligent individual, yet friendly to all with whom he came in contact. It is difficult to imagine setting up a dental practice in those early years in a new community without running water, electricity, or a sewer system. Yet Dr. Dick's dentistry was state-of-the-art for that time, and he maintained his proficiency by taking post-graduate courses at the University of Michigan, including one as late as June of 1937 at age 65. Over his many years in South Range he provided a needed service to literally thousands of people in an unassuming way, and the community was better for his having been a part of its early history.

--Contributed by Don Dick of Rochester, NY. William Dick was Don's great-uncle. Don is writing a genealogical treatise on the descendants of Thomas and Catherine Dick and would like to know more about his Uncle Will. You may correspond with him at:

Donald P. Dick
53 Fairlawn Drive
Rochester, NY 14617-3201
E-mail: ddick1@rochester.rr.com

South Range Main Street 1940s

Note Added: Don has recently learned from a former patient of Dr. Dick that his office can be seen in the Image Gallery picture, "South Range Main Street, 1940s." It is the second building on the left, the one with the large windows. He has also discovered that Dr. Dick never owned property. Rather, and unbelievably, he lived those many years in South Range (1902-1944) in a single room behind his 2nd floor dental office. It is also understood that, upon Dr. Dick's death, most of his estate was bequeathed to various churches in the South Range area, though this has not yet been confirmed.

--Contributed by Don Dick of Rochester, NY


We welcome contributions to this page.
If you have information, stories, or photos pertaining to the history of the village and surrounding area you would like to contribute, please email the webmaster or contact the Village of South Range. The village would like to thank all contributors to this site.

 
 

For assistance with this Web site, please contact:   webmaster@southrange.com