January 17, 2012
|Early medical advertisement|
Dr. Fuqua cared for Grandfield
Dr. W.A. Fuqua served the medical needs of the people of Grandfield for decades.
When Vol. II of The History of Tillman County was published in 1978, the late Vera Colyer of Grandfield wrote an account of Dr. Fuqua’s devotion to medicine and the Grandfield community.
The eastern part of Tillman County, part of the 488,000-acre Big Pasture, was opened to settlement by sealed bid in 1906, the last major Oklahoma Territory land opening. W.A. Fuqua and his wife Bessie settled on a farm ten miles west of Grandfield, and they also established a drug store on their farm.
Fuqua wanted to be a doctor, so attended the University of Oklahoma to study toward that goal, while his wife remained at home to operate the farm and store. He then attended medical school and completed a residency at Tulane University in New Orleans.
With his medical education complete, he returned to the Tillman County farm and practiced as a country doctor.
Oil development was big business in the Grandfield area in the decades after settlement. Dr. Fuqua’s successful investment in oil interests allowed him to acquire the capital to build his dream – a hospital in Grandfield.
In the years prior to 1920 Fuqua formed a partnership with Dr. Harper Wright and Dr. H.C. Harris, and they built the three-story Grandfield Hospital at 211 South Simpson. The fourteen-bed hospital had an operating room on the third floor and a living quarters for the Fuqua family.
Bessie Fuqua worked with her husband as a nurse at the hospital.
The three doctors eventually dissolved their partnership. Dr. Harris left to work in veterans’ hospitals. Some years later Dr. Wright moved his practice to Oklahoma City.
Dr. Fuqua continued his surgical and medical practice in Grandfield, serving many families with his medical knowledge and his surgical skill.
Dr. O.J. Box was associated with Dr. Fuqua for many years before starting his own medical practice in Grandfield. Dr. Box eventually left Grandfield to work with the Veterans’ Administration.
Dr. Fuqua loved Grandfield and invested heavily in real estate and business interests in the city and the Grandfield area. He also served as the mayor of Grandfield and was active in many community affairs.
He mentored many young people and provided financial assistance to help numerous Grandfield youth to continue their education beyond high school.
On the death of his wife Bessie, Dr. Fuqua married Evelyn Parris.
Writing of Dr. Fuqua, Vera Colyer said that he “was a successful physician-surgeon at work, a farmer, financier, and philanthropist who operated a hospital-surgical service with a great talent and love for humanity.”