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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.

WARD, Donovan Frederick

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Ancestry: https://www.ancestry.com/discoveryui-content/view/31732877:60525?tid=&pid=&queryId=73a6d38234d33d728a0081b9216e93f5&_phsrc=HEg14032&_phstart=successSource

Photo courtesy: Telegraph Herald

WARD, Donovan Frederick. (Dubuque, IA, Nov. 30, 1904--Oskaloosa, IA, Apr. 13, 1998). Ward excelled in football and wrestling at DUBUQUE SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL. He graduated in 1923 and started as quarterback for two seasons at the UNIVERSITY OF DUBUQUE before accepting early admittance to the University of Iowa School of Medicine. He was inducted into the University of Dubuque Athletic Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Dubuque Senior Athletic Hall of Fame in 1996. (1)

In 1931 Ward began his medical career in Dubuque and was a staff member of FINLEY HOSPITAL (THE) where he was head of the surgical division. Ward enlisted at the start of WORLD WAR II and served in the Navy retiring with the rank of commander. He earned senior surgeon status at MERCY HOSPITAL and XAVIER HOSPITAL. (2)

Photo courtesy: Jim Lang

Ward served as president of the Dubuque County Medical Society as well as the Iowa Clinical Surgeons Society. (3) He became the first resident of Dubuque and the second Iowan to head the American Medical Association succeeding Dr. Norman A. Welch who died unexpectedly in September 1964. Ward had been elected president-elect of the association at its June meeting and announced his campaign to restore the prestige of the "family doctor." (4) In 1965 Ward knew that his testimony would not "stay in the slightest degree the hand of the Senate in the approval of this bill." But the prospect of congressional approval of the Administration's $6 billion-a-year Medicare bill did not stop Ward from expressing his organization's opposition to the measure. (5)

Locally he served as president of the Lions' Club and Shrine Club, organized the Navy League council, and served on the boards of the YOUNG MEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION (Y.M.C.A.) and the Salvation Army. He was a member of the Finley Hospital board of directors, past grand exalted ruler of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks Dodge 297, and was a charter member of the Dubuque Shrine and the Dubuque Chapter of DeMolay for boys. (6) His biography was the subject in 1994 of Here Comes Doctor Ward: A Climb to Glory by Howard E. Cartwright. (7)



1. Gilligan, Amy K. "Dubuquer Donovan Ward, ex-AMA Head, Dies," Telegraph Herald, April 15, 1998, p. 1. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=aEyKTaVlRPYC&dat=19980415&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

2. Ibid.

3. "Donovan Ward, MD, is AMA President," Medical News, September 14, 1964, Online: http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1164566

4. Ibid.

5. "Dr. Ward's Last Words," Time. May 21, 1965. Online: http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,901686,00.html

6. Obituaries. Telegraph Herald, April 15, 1998, p. 4B. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=aEyKTaVlRPYC&dat=19980416&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

7. Gilligan.