29 October 2012

Dr. Julius Henry Fiegenbaum

1859 — 1938


Dr. Fiegenbaum Dies; Physician Here 53 Years

Succumbs Three Days After Fall Down Stairs at His Home

Served as Health Officer During Smallpox Epidemic

Funeral Rites Tuesday at Residence

Fifty-three years in the practice of the medical profession by Dr. Julius H. Fiegenbaum came to a close Saturday evening when he died in his home after an illness which began the preceding Wednesday afternoon.  He would have been 79 years of age next April 27.

Whether Dr. Fiegenbaum's death was due to paralysis that caused him to fall down the flight of stairs to his cellar floor in his home at 3 o'clock last Wednesday afternoon, or the fall produced the paralysis which proved fatal is not certain.  He was never out of his bed after being laid there following his fall.

Seldom taking any time out for travel, Dr. Fiegenbaum had stuck close to his professional work in Alton.  It was the only place he had ever practiced medicine.  He had come here as a young man in 1885 to settle down, had married here four years later and ever since that had been identified with the work of his profession.  At times he did public service as health officer of the city, also taking time to serve capably as a member of the official board of the First Methodist church, a post he filled at the time the present church was originally built at Sixth and Market streets.

Successful as 'Baby Doctor'

He had not been feeling well, but except for two days he stayed at home, he had continued to attend to calls of the families he served.  His chief interest long was in the care and feeding babies and he was known for years as a successful "baby doctor."  He had great success in prescribing formulas for feeding babies when little attention was being given that then little known science which has become an important subject of scientific research in later years.  Wednesday he had been down town after being home Sunday and Monday, and he had attended to some patients even on Wednesday before he suffered the fall.  When he was picked up and taken from the cellar floor he had bad mark on his forehead where his head may have struck on the concrete floor.  While some phases of his condition seemed to improve, others did not and the end came Saturday night.

Dr. Fiegenbaum was born in Galena, Ill.  He received his medical education first at Rush School in Chicago and finished at Bellevue Medical school in New York.  Then he came to Alton and settled here in his first place where he was to remain the rest of his life.  He was married here to Miss Sophie Pitts, member of a prominent Alton family, Sept. 11, 1899.  Two children were born to the couple, a son dying in early childhood.  Their only daughter, Bertha, is the wife of H. P. Harris, who with Mrs. Fiegenbaum, survives.  There is a twin sister, Mrs. Bertha Blume of St. Paul, Minn., who visited her brother here when he was celebrating his seventy-fifth birthday.  Another sister, Mrs. Lydia Jacoby lives at Los Angeles, Cal.  There are three grandchildren.

Served During Epidemic

It is recalled that Dr. Fiegenbaum served as city health officer during one of the worst smallpox epidemics the city had gone through in many years.  During that time he gave personal attention to the smallpox victims.  The outbreak had been started in Alton from the coming here of people from infested districts at a distance to work in industries.  The duty of the health officer at that time was to look after all such causes and Dr. Fiegenbaum did a good job of it.

One of the last things he did the day he was stricken was to vaccinate a grandson of his.

The funeral will be held Tuesday afternoon at 2:30 o'clock with services at the family home, 628 Henry street, where services will be conducted by the Rev. George Whitten, pastor of First Methodist Church.

The death of Dr. Fiegenbaum was the third in the medical profession here since Dec 22, when Dr. F. C. Joesting died.  Dr. Walter Day died Dec. 30.

Dr. Fiegenbaum, like Dr. Joesting and Dr. Day, had started the practice of his profession in Alton and had practiced no place else.

Source: Alton Evening Telegraph (Alton, Illinois); Monday, February 28, 1938; page 1, column 1 and page 2, column 8.

Brief Genealogy

Julius Henry Fiegenbaum's family

Sophie Elizabeth Pitts's family

Fiegenbaum - Pitts family

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