Biography of Dee Lee Connell, M. D.
The profession as well as the public accords Dr. Dee Lee Connell a prominent position among the medical practitioners of Ottawa County and during the five years in which he has been located in Picher he has fully demonstrated his ability as a physician and surgeon. He was born in Jefferson City, Missouri, May 3, 1872, his parents being James and Sarah (Ware) Connell, both of whom were natives of Ohio. In 1845 the father started for the mines of California, traveling with ox teams over the Santa Fe trail. He was very successful in his search for the precious metal and in the late ’50s made the overland journey to Missouri, settling at Jefferson City. He acquired large land holdings and engaged extensively in the raising of mules, while he also was interested in coal mines in Colorado and New Mexico. He was a man of marked business ability and initiative spirit who was constantly broadening the scope of his activities with gratifying results. He was one of the honored pioneers of Missouri and was numbered among the most prominent men of Jefferson City, to whose up-building and development he made substantial contribution. He served as an officer in the Civil war, enlisting at Jefferson City, and in his political views he was a stanch Democrat, being an active worker in the ranks of the party. His religious faith was indicated by his membership in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and fraternally he was identified with the Masonic order.
In the acquirement of an education Dee Lee Connell attended the public schools of his native city, after which he was for two years a student in a school at Columbia, Missouri. This was followed by a three years’ course in the medical department of Washington University and the following year was spent in the College of Physicians & Surgeons at St. Louis, Missouri, from which he was graduated in 1910. He served a four years’ internship at the St. Louis City Hospital, specializing in surgery, in which he gained valuable practical experience, and then went to New Mexico as chief surgeon for the St. Louis, Rocky Mountain & Pacific Railroad, operating in the coal fields of that state. For six years he had charge of a hospital at Blossburg, New Mexico, and in 1916 he came to Oklahoma as chief surgeon for the Eagle Mining Company, which was then operating mine No. 3 at Picher. At this time there were but thirty houses in the village and Dr. Connell cared for his patients in St. John’s Hospital at Joplin, Missouri, until 1917, when he built the Picher Hospital, which contains thirty beds and is one of the most modern institutions of the kind in this section of the state, two assistant physicians being employed toaid in treating the patients. Dr. Connell has given up his private practice and is now devoting his attention exclusively to surgical work at his hospital. Close study and broad practical experience have greatly enhanced his knowledge and skill, bringing to his work the utmost accuracy in results, and he has established an enviable reputation as a surgeon. He has never regarded his professional education as completed with the termination of his college course, but devotes a portion of each year to postgraduate work and has attended the most renowned medical schools and clinics in the United States. He is the pioneer physician and surgeon of Picher, to whose development he has contributed along many lines. He assisted in laying out a portion of the town and has greatly added to its improvement by the erection of over one hundred residences, Connell Avenue being named in his honor. He assisted in the organization of banks and other business enterprises and became President of the company which erected the Connell Hotel, a substantial modern and up-to-date hostelry, conducted along the most progressive lines.
At St. Louis, Missouri, in 1904, Dr. Connell was. united in marriage to Miss Esther Temm, a daughter of Alexander J. and Teressa (Fuller) Temm, the former a native of Fort Madison, Iowa, and the latter a representative of a pioneer family of St. Louis. The father went to that city previous to the Civil war and became a very successful business man, operating a chain of drug stores there and conducting his interests under the style of A. J. Temm & Son. He was one of the most prominent and highly respected citizens of St. Louis, where he continued to make his home until his demise, which occurred in 1918. He was a Catholic in religious faith and his public spirit found expression in his membership in the Chamber of Commerce. Dr. and Mrs. Connell have become the parents of a son, Matthew, whose birth occurred on the 21st of June, 1906. Mrs. Connell is a talented musician and is active in club and musical circles of Picher, while her religious faith is indicated by her membership in the Methodist Episcopal Church, with which the Doctor is also connected.
In his political views Dr. Connell is a Democrat and an active and prominent worker in the ranks of the party, having been chosen chairman of the County central committee. He served as the first Mayor of Picher and gave to the town a businesslike and progressive administration productive of excellent results. Fraternally he is identified with the Elks Lodge No. 9 at St. Louis, Missouri, and his professional connections are with the Ottawa County and Oklahoma State Medical Societies and the American Medical Association, while he is also a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. His favorite form of diversion is trap shooting and duck hunting. During the World war he acted as local director of the Red Cross and also aided in promoting the various Liberty Loan drives. He is a man of enterprising spirit and untiring energy whose innate talent and acquired ability have brought him to the front in his profession. His name is inseparably associated with the development of his community along material, intellectual, political and moral lines and his life has been one of great usefulness and value to his fellowmen.