CHAPTER 11: New York Health Service 1967- 74


By this time Dan was ready for college, with David and Carolyn following closely. Three things made us decide on a major move: a. college entries b. keeping the family together a bit longer and c. giving the kids an opportunity to experience the “American” ethos. So, in mid-67 we moved back to USA. I joined the New York State Health Department and we settled in a house in Loudonville. Dan started at Wheaton College and the others were in local schools. We resumed our happy association with friends connected with LCC. The Viet Nam war cast a shadow over the US culture, but our boys were not drafted. My work was in Public Health and included oversight of programs related to drugs and venereal disease. We ran an experimental program providing methadone to heroin addicts. Methadone is now (2017) back in the news. The HIV epidemic had not yet become a news item in US.



  1. Move to US
  2. New York State and Albany County Health Departments
  3. Friends and L.C.C.
  4. Kids’ education and marriage
  5. Summer travels
  1. Move to US

Taking up residence in New York

We sailed from UK  on the SS France and landed in New York, The Burns drove us from New York up to Loudonville, a suburb of Albany, NY. Temporarily we lived in a farmhouse across the Hudson River from Albany. It was charming but not practical in the long run. One evening we sat in on the owner’s community wine-making party in the basement. We got a small dog but he unfortunately lost in an encounter with a passing motorist. We found a house for sale on a street half a mile from our former church, LCC and a fifteen minute hike across the fields from the Burns. So we settled in to the “American way of life”. The older girls were rather put off by their classmates’ compulsion to have a different dress outfit every day. Dave attended Shaker High.

Dan started at Wheaton followed by Dave. Both later transferred elsewhere.

Carolyn attended Oneonta State and Marilyn went to Wheaton.

  1. New York State and Albany County Health Department.
With colleague at Albany County Health Department where I was Deputy Director (1967-74)

I held positions with New York State Health Department and then Albany County Health Department. In 1978-9 I attended Columbia U. School of Public Health in NYC for an MPH (Masters in Public Health).

Methadone clinic.

Within the Albany County Health Dept. I ran the Methadone Clinic. This was for heroin addicts. Methadone is sort of a “panacea” for heroin. It obviates the “lows” of withdrawal but does not give the “high”. So it is sort of a physiologic “band-aid”. Users of methadone can function more normally and avoid the cost and criminality of heroin. The clientele were  a rough bunch. I would guess the program was at best 70% effective in ameliorating the habit. I doubt that the program got anyone 100% off of heroin. In 2017 methadone is again in the medical news because of the “opioid epidemic” in US.

July19-23, 1972 I went to Toronto to secure medical licensure for Tanzania (Empire reciprocity). I stayed at a hostel for Christian young men. It was directed by a Mr Buxton who was related to Sue Wood, Mike’s wife.

1972 ICMM

I participated in the triennial  International Conference on Missionary Medicine sponsored by MAP. This was on St Simons Island in Georgia. This was at that time an important conclave of MDs from around the world, sharing experience and insights. Many medical students attended and were inspired to a full-time calling. I led sessions on community-based health care and have since enjoyed seeing my ideas applied in various parts of the world.

At Russell Sage Junior College I taught a class on “Development” two nights a week . I drew largely on African experience.

  1. Friends and Loudonville Community Church
Loudonville Community Church friends
Dorothy Letchford, Dr Berberian, Peter Letchford

We renewed happy relationships with Loudonville Community Church. The pastor was now Peter Letchford, an old “Africa hand”. He had been a missionary in Zambia, so we enjoyed commonalities. As back in Medical School days, we enjoyed outings to Camp Pinnacle christian conference centre on the hills overlooking the Hudson River Valley and Albany.

June 13, 1972 Betty Elliot spoke at LCC. It was nice renewing Wheaton classmate memories. She and Betty were ’48 and husband Jim and I were ‘49ers at Wheaton.

  1. Kids’ Education and Marriage
Son David and Debbie’s wedding party in our back yard (1973) 
Musicians  Ike & Mike  at David’s wedding (Mike was Debbie’s Grand father)

 June 23, 1973 Dave wedding

Dave married Deborah Waite, a Shaker High schoolmate. They were married by a team: Peter Letchford pastor of Loudonville Community Church and a priest from Debbie’s church. The wedding was in our back yard with folding seats and a wedding bower formed by a swing set frame decorated with flowers. Music was provided by Debbie’s grandfather, Mike Flanagan and his friend Ike, a guitar duo. The Flanagan brothers had been among Ireland’s most popular singers in the 30s-50s. Refreshments were prepared by friend Doris Morgan.

  1. Summer Travels

From our Loudonville, NY base we enjoyed many trips to interesting places including: Prince Edward Island; Montreal; Baker Island (off Boston); Stone Harbor NJ; DC; Florida; Parkersburg WV; Lincoln, NE; Houston TX; Roseau, MN; across the top of the great lakes; ancestral homes in Manchester VT, and even flights out to California.

May 30 – June 8 1974 family reunion in Wheaton. We rented a house from a former Wheaton classmate. It was mostly a time of remembrance. The most hilarious times were as we re-read old childhood letters.

Link to Photos for this chapter (11: New York Health 1967-74)

Link to next chapter (12: Nairobi Medical School 1974-78)

Leave a Reply