A Tribute to the late Dr. Hugh Dame, physician & surgeon at Marshall Hospital
Hugh – the “Ultimate Perfectionist”
It’s hard to realize I have known Hugh Dame for over 20 years We have shared many things over these ensuring years and I only realized how much Hugh meant to me when he e-mailed me a few weeks ago & admitted he was on his last legs and was living on borrowed time.
In your lifetime you only have a few really good friends, the ones who you can share anything with and know, through good times and bad times that these friends will be with you without being judgmental, and accept you for what you are and not what you appear to be!
I am truly blessed to have had Hugh as one of those true friends.
Over the years, many of the local physicians have taken Geology Classes from me & former students Dr. Bill Colliflower and Dr. Bill McDavid told their colleague Hugh Dame that he ought to take a class from me.
Hugh came into my life over 20 years ago when he took my introductory course in Physical Geology at Folsom Lake College (when it was known as UBR – University Behind Raleys) As I was soon to find out, Hugh had an insatiable appetite for learning. When he got interested in something, He went all out and being a perfectionist, He was continually barraging me with all kinds of questions. He wanted to have a perfect understanding of the topic. As I got to know him, this attitude prevailed throughout his life. He strived to be the best in everything he attempted and was not satisfied at being second place in anything. This applied to his tour in the military in Korea, his stint in Medical School, his Board Certification as a Surgeon, his passion for golf, flying and as he took more and more geology classes, he became a pretty damn good geologist!
He made a mistake of taking Ann on one or our field trips and showed her how to lick the dust off of a rock to see how pretty they were when wet. Unbeknownst to her this infected her with the “rock hound fever” that had infected Hugh from a similar experience of rock licking.
Hugh & Ann became a member of the “Wheeldon Geological Sauntering Society” & we sauntered all over the west on some pretty amazing field trips. Ann became particularly susceptible to the rockhound habit of massive collecting and their rock garden in Camino reflected this passion. Soon, huge piles of rocks adorned their windowsills, and backyard & some tough decisions of what to take & what to leave were made when they moved to Washington.
Hugh used to travel with me when I would scout out new areas for field trips & we shared many hours wandering throughout the deserts of the west. I remember one of the first trips we made to the Stewart Valley in central Nevada. I picked up Hugh in Camino & as I was backing out of the driveway, Ann rushed out & handed me a pair of earplugs, saying you will really need these tonight! I kind of laughed, & Hugh said nary a word. Boy, was Ann Right! Hugh’s snoring was so loud, it almost removed the paint from the motel walls.
Hugh was really proud of his military service & was really upset about how little the American people remembered of the ”Forgotten Korean War” in which Hugh had gone through the horrors of combat, had lost good friends & felt the American public never really recognized the tremendous sacrifice he and his fellow comrades in arms had endured.
I know that when my son Mark came back from “Desert Storm” & was recognized in a welcome home parade down main street in Placerville, Hugh and another Korean War Veteran led the Parade. We all thought that it was really great that Hugh was recognized for his Service in Korea. After the parade, Mark & Hugh conversed, swapped combat stories, told lies, had a drink & this then developed into a friendship and both of them have kept in touch over the years. They shared e-mails when Mark returned to Afghanistan & Hugh sent Mark congratulatory messages as Mark went through many promotions on his way to becoming a Sargent Major in the Marines.
Hugh, knowing the end was near, a couple of weeks ago, contacted Mark & asked him to help organize his Military Funeral & asked Mark to present the Flag to Ann during the Service. Mark will proudly carry out this task as a tribute for his fellow comrade in arms.
Hugh’s legacy will live on for generations in the DNA of his son Steve and Daughter Suzie and their children and Ann, as time heals the immediate hurt of his passing, I hope you will always remember the good times you shared with this remarkable man.
I consider it an HONOR to have called HUGH DAME my friend!
George A. Wheeldon