Dr. Donald Edwin Eggleston ~ July 2, 1902 - September 27, 1991
By Susan Eggleston Donaghue & Lucinda Eggleston Rohrs
His loving daughters who remember and are pleased to share their memories of their father for the Macon Sesquicentennial
Donald Edwin Eggleston was a medical doctor in Macon from 1946 until his retirement in 1979. He was a 1924 graduate of the University of Kansas School of Pharmacy and a 1930 graduate of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
It was in St. Louis that he met his future wife, Mary Ethyl Sagaser, a native of Bevier, MO. She was teaching first grade in Webster Groves at the time. Dr. Eggleston started his first medical practice in his hometown of Kingman, KS where his two daughters, Susan and Lucinda, were born.
He was also in the Army Reserves, and as a result, he was called to active duty before the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941. He was in the US Army Medical Corps for the next five years. His service to his country in World War II included a two and a half year tour of duty in the Pacific Theater. During this time his family lived in Bevier, MO with Mrs. Eggleston’s mother, Susan Rector (Mrs. Charles H.) Sagaser. Upon his honorable discharge from the US Army with the rank of Captain, Dr. Eggleston and his family settled in Macon in a historic residence on Rutherford Street. He opened his medical practice on the upper floor of the Macon-Atlanta State Bank Building on Vine Street in downtown Macon - specializing in eye, ear, nose and throat.
As his friends and family knew, Dr. Eggleston was an exceptional storyteller, and one of his favorites was how he and Mrs. Eggleston chose Macon as their home. Both of them preferred small town living to city life, and of course, Mrs. Eggleston wanted to be near Macon County and her devoted family which included her mother and her sister, Mona Davis, both of whom lived in Bevier. Her brother, F.M. Sagaser, lived in Macon, her sister, Treva Dawdy, lived in La Plata, and her youngest sister, Edy Umidon, was not too far away in Kansas City.
So Dr. and Mrs. Eggleston looked at a number of nearby towns including Chillecothe, Brookfield, Moberly and Columbia. However, the deciding factor was the Macon Golf Course with its manicured grassy greens, beautiful woods and challenging hills.
One of Dr. Eggleston’s glorious moments was a hole in one on the second hole at the Macon Country Club. The Eggleston’s black cocker spaniel, Topsy, always accompanied them on their golfing expeditions.
Dr. Eggleston’s grandchildren loved to hear his stories about how he made house calls, just like the postman, during rain, sleet, snow and hail, and often out in the country. Their favorite story happened many years before the 911 emergency service when one of his patients, after falling and breaking her leg, was able to phone him for help. Finding the doors of her home locked, he had to climb in through a window to care for her. They were also impressed that he was occasionally paid with fresh produce, homemade bread and dairy products.
He was a much beloved doctor and his two daughters still have the beautiful sheets and pillow cases with their lovely hand-painted and embroidered designs, given to him by the nuns at the Immaculate Conception Church who were under his care. They also saved all of the crocheted hot pads lovingly made by several of his elderly patients.
He was a classical music enthusiast and was very proud of Mrs. Eggleston’s violin expertise and her 25 years as the choir director at the First Baptist Church in Macon. Although Dr. Eggleston remained a member of the United Methodist Church throughout his lifetime, he attended the Baptist Sunday School where he was a member of the Young Men’s Bible Class. He found it quite humorous that no matter how elderly he and this group became, their title remained. It was not until quite late in his life that the Sunday School class was given a name change.
Dr. Eggleston was very proud of his affiliation with the Samaritan Hospital and the service it provided for Macon County. He served as Chief of Staff and was most pleased to bring the renowned ophthalmologist, Dr. Charles Crockett, from Kansas City to perform cataract surgery at Samaritan Hospital.
He enjoyed his lengthy memberships in the Lions Club and the Masonic Lodge. He was most happy to be a Republican during his entire life and he campaigned for many Republican candidates.
The Macon County area was well rewarded by having Dr. Eggleston as a physician for over 35 years. His daughters are frequently pleased when Maconites and former Maconites tell them how their father made such an impact on their lives with his medical skills. They will then tell you how their parents' choice of Macon gave them the best home town in the world and then they will reveal the exact reason why they were privileged to grow up in Macon. Their father, with a bright smile on his face would occasionally tell them, "Girls, I wouldn’t dare say anything bad about anyone in Macon County, because, sure enough, they would be kin to your mother".
However, if Dr. Eggleston were still here, he would tell his daughters to end his biography with the story of how he first really knew he would like living and practicing medicine in Macon. He was waiting at the Macon train depot when the train arrived with all of his office furniture and equipment from Kingman, KS. He had a check in hand to pay for this expense but was very surprised when he was told that he could only pay in cash. And then, the good will of a stranger, a Maconite named Mr. Albert Payson, revealed to Dr. Eggleston the spirit of the town. Mr. Payson opened his wallet and handed Dr. Eggleston the cash to pay for the shipping costs. Dr. Eggleston always said that it was at that moment he knew the decision to move to Macon was definitely the right one!