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HomeHistoryA Small-Town Doctor: George Creekmore 1879-1970

A Small-Town Doctor: George Creekmore 1879-1970

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The doctor is always “in,” so they say. Dr. George Creekmore was a fixture around Brooksville for more than 50 years. One might see him at his office on Main Street. Or perhaps he was at the Kiwanis Club, Woman’s Club, or a book club in the 1920s and 1930s. Dr. Creekmore was always accessible, living in the neighborhood. His house was located between other Brooksville notables with last names such as Coogler and Springstead.

Can you imagine a time when there was no real hospital in town? In the late 1800s, the nearest major medical care center in Brooksville was 50 miles away in Tampa. By 1925, Brooksville’s first county hospital was set up in a private home on Alta Vista Street. It was furnished with ten medical beds and also had a nurse’s quarters, a kitchen, and an anesthesia room.

It would be another decade before a larger medical facility took shape and Dr. Creekmore would play a prominent role in its development.

Small-town doctor George Roberson Creekmore is a native Floridian. He was born in Live Oak on November 2, 1879. He earned his medical degree from the University of Georgia. At the age of 30 he married Dola Jewel Haddock and a year later, they welcomed their daughter Verona.

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For a short time, he had a medical practice in the small town of Citra, a community near Ocala. However, Dr. Creekmore envisioned living in a larger town, one with promising growth and a bright future, a place like Brooksville.

Dr. Creekmore (along with his wife and young daughter) arrived in Brooksville in 1917 and immediately immersed himself in the community. During the 1920s he was President of the Brooksville Kiwanis and Secretary-Treasurer of the Pasco-Hernando-Citrus Medical Association. He was listed in the 1926 Brooksville City Directory as a physician and surgeon.

Dr. Creekmore’s community involvement increased each year. By 1932, he spoke during “Hospital Week,” a benefit to fund a new hospital. He also served on the 1935 Brooksville City Council and was among prominent residents who pushed for a new medical facility. A twenty-four-bed Hernando County Hospital was dedicated on October 1, 1936. Dr. Creekmore donated the first x-ray equipment.

In 1938 he was also elected Chairman of the Child’s Welfare Committee. A decade later in 1948 he developed a Health Plan for Hernando County school children. The plan included physicals, eye exams, and vaccinations. Polio was still a threat. Guidelines were created for self quarantine due to exposure . Care was to be observed if one had visited an affected family member or friend with polio.

By 1948, the Hernando County Hospital doubled in size from 24 to 48 beds. And it seemed as if there was no end to what one could learn about medicine. In 1949, Dr. Creekmore and his family traveled to Cuba for a Surgeons’ Convention. Never too old for medical knowledge; he was just shy of his 70th birthday. No slowing down for this septuagenarian! In March of 1950, he worked 80 hours per week.

It was a proud day in Brooksville when another new hospital was dedicated in June of 1962. At a cost of $500,000, raised through bonds, gifts, and contributions, this facility was state of the art for its time. It was eventually named Lykes Memorial Hospital in 1967, in honor of a large contribution made by the Lykes brothers. This hospital served Hernando County for many years.

At the 1962 hospital dedication, small-town doctors C.S. Harvard and George Creekmore were both recognized for their achievements. It would be one of the last times the two would be seen together. Dr. C.S. Harvard passed away on April 7, 1964, at the age of 62.

Dr. Creekmore resigned from the medical field in 1964 at the age of 85. However, as many physicians before him, he never truly retired. Patients still sought him out for advice. They came to his home or he visited them by taxi. Dr. Jorge O. Escamilla succeeded Creekmore in the family practice. I remember him well as our family doctor of the late 1960s-1980s.

Dr. George Creekmore passed away on May 21, 1970, at the age of 90. His wife Dola moved to Inverness following his death and passed away on December 31, 1981, at the age of 91. They rest together in the Brooksville Cemetery.

Interesting to note that in 1935 the Creekmore’s only daughter Verona married Dr. Robert Harrell Martin of Inverness. He was a dentist, but had the title “doctor“ beside his name nonetheless.

Dr. George Creekmore is honored in a mural on display at 20 Broad Street in Brooksville, near the drive in parking lot of Truist Bank. The mural, done in 2003 by artist Diane Becker, shows portraits of four early Brooksville physicians, including Dr. C.S. Harvard and our Dr. George Creekmore.

Photo of Dr. George Creekmore from a 1925 Tampa Sunday Tribune. [Public domain]
Photo of Dr. George Creekmore from a 1925 Tampa Sunday Tribune.
[Public domain]

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