I was meeting a friend for dinner the other week and was a little early, so while waiting for her to get home from work, I had a quick wander through Mt Pleasant Cemetery. I drove around and whenever I saw something interesting I popped out of my car and snapped a photo or two before continuing on. This is how I got last week's headstone. I am not sure why I took a picture of this headstone. It is rather simple and unassuming. There is not really anything unusual or interesting about it. And it is not even a very good photo.
I possibly took it as a distraction from taking a casual shot of these two sketchers I found nearby.
But, looking at it later at home, I did a bit of research, thinking that as a M.D. there might be more information on this R.W. Bruce Smith
Married to Mary McLachan (also spelled McLauchlan), they had a daughter, Ella, who married a Thomas Clendinnen and seems to have moved to Ottawa as she is buried in Beechwood Cemetery there. Thomas Clendinnen was in real estate, but was also the offspring of a physician, although his father, Robert Clendinnen, surgeon, died at age 40 of alcoholism.
Other than that, I had trouble finding anything personal about Dr Bruce Smith. I wondered what the R.W. stood for. I wondered if he died overseas in the war in 1916. His name came up most often in connection with articles regarding 'bulletin of the hospital for the insane', so he seemed to have been a prolific writer. Then I found something small but significant and inconsistent, and which opened up the search a little more. A -. A hyphen. Which could explain why he was most often referred to as Dr [R.W.] Bruce Smith and not Dr Smith. It doesn't explain why his head stone says simply 'Smith', though. Maybe he found it easier to go by the very last of his names.
In one of these bulletins of the Ontario Hospitals for the Insane from 3 April 1916, if you read through it, you will find inserted an 'in memoriam'
As the Bulletin goes to press we are shocked by
the sad news of the decease of its Author and Editor — Dr. R. W. Bruce Smith. The end came peacefully to the Doctor, while in his home surrounded by his family, at five o'clock on Tuesday morning, the 28th of March, after an illness of more than a year's duration.He was born in Mitchell Ontario on 9 May 1857, the son of a Methodist clergyman. He started university as an arts student, but soon changed over to medicine. A physician for 15 years, he was elected President of the Medical Association in 1894 and in the same year was appointed as Assistant Physician of the Hospital for the Insane in Hamilton, moving on to the Eastern Hospital for the Insane in Brockville. When, in 1904, he was appointed Inspector of Hospitals and Charities this opened up a new field for Dr. Bruce Smith's usefulness, and one in which he became very widely known and most highly respected throughout the Province of Ontario.
More from the Bulletin:He always had a sympathy for those engaged in the management of the hospitals, and encouraged every effort on their part tending to the betterment ofthe patient. He was broad in his outlook, and in every possible field he sought information, both from personal contact with these institutions, and from various maga- zines bearing on hospital administration from abroad. Where these innovations would be helpful in Ontario he adopted them.He recognized the importance of the trained nurse in the adoption of true hospital methods for the care of the mentally sick. He was appointed Chairman of the Examining Board for the mental nurses, a position which he held up to the time of his decease.Dr. Bruce Smith had a wide, wholesome sympathy for the individual sufferer, andAnother important field of Doctor Smith's work was centred in the editing of the Bulletin. This little pub- lication was one of his hobbies, and where he found that a medical officer was doing a bit of original research in a quiet way the Doctor would suggest that an article along these lines would be welcomed in the Bulletin.in every sphere in which his official life lay he was ready to extend a helpfulhand and give words of encouragement. He was never more pleased than when hecould recommend an appointment or promotion to some honest worker in his service. In a true sense he was humanitarian, and his work leaves a grateful memory inthe hearts of many people in Ontario.And, in a happy co-incidence, today is the 96th anniversary of his death.See more stories at Taphophile TragicsEverything in the smaller type is from the 'Bulletin' and I don't know why the font and spacings keeps changing, but it is late and I give up.Does anyone else hate the new look Blogger???