Dr. Bruce Salter Stratford- Perth Archives
Dr. Robert Bruce Salter, preeminent surgeon
Dr. David Smith: mentor and friend of Robert Salter
Dr. David Smith (see Cambria Street) was a family doctor in Stratford, a friend of the Salter family and the man responsible for saving the life of Dr. Robert Bruce Salter at the time of his birth. He also saved the lives of his unexpended fraternal twin brother and the twins' mother when, on Dec. 15, 1924, he performed an emergency caesarian section at Stratford General Hospital, the building now known as Avon Crest (see Avoncrest Drive).
Dean Robinson, in his book, A Century of Service: The Rotary Club of Stratford 1922-2022, has included a glowing personal reflection by Dr. Salter about Dr. Smith's mentorship to him and his impact on the Stratford community. When Dr. Salter wrote about Dr. Smith in 1992, he said, "On that December day in 1924, I met my mentor rather than my maker."
Dr. Salter retells, in greater detail, that his older brother's birth had been uneventful two years earlier. However, at the time of Dr. Salter's birth, when the birth of just one child was expected, the prolonged labour became deeply problematic . . . and the caesarian was needed, and it saved the lives of all three.
Dr. David Smith Stratford-Perth Archives
Dr. Smith was a founder of the Ontario Society of Crippled Children, a founding member of Rotary in Stratford along with Dr. Salter's father, Lewis, and a man devoted "to those less fortunate than himself." Dean Robinson wrote that Dr. Salter's older brother was the first child born to a member of the newly formed Stratford Rotary Club in 1922. (see McCarthy Road).
Dr. Smith made house calls to see the Salters, as he did for all his patients, and Salter remembered that he looked at Dr. Smith as a role model. When Salter was seven, and developed a serious ear infection, Smith arranged treatment in this pre-antibiotic era with a Stratford colleague, Dr. George Ingham, an eye, ear, nose and throat specialist, who performed the necessary surgery. Dr. Smith visited almost daily.
Dr. Salter remembered, at age nine he asked Dr. Smith's about teaching school lessons to his brother, who was ill with rheumatic fever, which in those days was treated with months of bed rest. He was advised to wait until his brother was better, which he did, and then taught him over the summer holidays so he did not miss a year of school. It was then that Dr. Salter decided to be a doctor "just like Dr. David Smith."
When he told Dr. Smith about his plans to study medicine, Dr. Smith seemed "genuinely pleased, and in a sense 'adopted' me almost as a son." They maintained a close connection from then on.
The Smiths had no children, and upon Dr. Smith's death, Dr. Salter was touched to receive Dr. Smith's gold pocket watch from his widow, "as a memento of our long and memorable friendship."
The final words belong to Dr. Salter: "The only way I can ever repay such indebtedness to Dr. David Smith is to be a mentor to others, something I have tried to do over the last 35 years as an academic orthopedic surgeon, scientist, teacher and administrator." Source: Dean Robinson in his book A Century of Service: The Rotary Club of Stratford 1922-2022
Herbert Denroche, veteran
90 Front St. Photo by Fred Gonder
Dave Marsden 2014
Dave Michie, radio personality
105 Front St.
Barber Shop 11-13 Downie Street
233 Front St.
Alvin Joseph Steinacker, RCAF
Alvin Steinacker was the son of Andrew and Laura Steinacker, and husband of Audrey Jessie Steinacker. He lived with his parents at 233 Front St. During the second World War, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and flew as an air gunner on a Halifax V Lk647 bomber.
At 2305 hours on Oct. 8, 1943, his plane took off from Tholthorpe Airfield. While homebound from the mission, the plane was shot down by a German night-fighter and crashed close to a military parade ground near Bad Fallingbostel, in the German state of Lower Saxony. The crew was buried there. Later, they were exhumed, individually identified, and re-buried ble in each case were consecrated in the Ohlsdorf British Cemetery in Hamburg, Germany.