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Dr. Songer Day

Lincoln Sentinel-Republican, 29 May 1980

Doctor Songer Day at Lincoln was a huge success from the moment birdsong announced daybreak and fine weather, to evening time, when participants, home again, quietly reminisced the day’s happy events. The one and a half hour afternoon production skillfully adapted from the good doctor’s interesting life story, was wrapped with enthusiasm, bound with deep affection and presented with nothing short of professionalism.
The fine tribute to Doctor Songer as he observes his 40th year of medical practice here at Lincoln attracted people from 14 states and brought a Doctor Songer Baby all the way from Holland to express her gratitude to the doctor for his help to her parents in war-torn Germay 35 years ago.
Following services at the Lincoln Methodist Church Sunday morning, where the congregation presented tokens of their esteem, the Songer family joined a picnic crowd gathering at the Lincoln City Park. Lions Club members from across the county prepared and served a succulent beef barbecue to approximately 820 people.
A classic, “To Doctor Songer with Love,” was written and produced by Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Greene of Tescott, with assistance from the local steering committee and many friends and relatives from around the world.
Muriel Greene’s Songer story narrative was well documented with slides punctuated by surprise guest appearances of friends and associates from out of the doctor’s past as well as his present and future.
An on-stage appearance of the Songers’ grandchildren who cleverly and confidently rhymed – in unison – that their granddad was a Songer kid, their parents were also Songer kids, and now they are here to “fill those big Songer shoes” was a crowd pleaser, not to mention prophetic! (But, not for years and years and years, kids!)
Guests’ appearances spotlighted as “living slides” on stage were numerous. Those highlights included the doctor’s former teacher and four-year LHS class sponsor Alfred Hurst, now of Salina; Harry Rank of Siloam Springs, Ark., who was a special friend from school days; Arrahwanna Loy Montgomery, now of Colorado Springs, Colo., who assisted the doctor at many Lincoln and Lincoln area birthings; the Songer Baby, Henriette Schwencke Boodt of Albasserdam, Holland (see separate story) who came halfway around the world to visit a doctor she has heard about all her life who delivered her a time when her parents were in hiding from the Germans during World War II.
The Greenes’ production included introduction of Doctor Songer’s office staff; Lincoln Mayor Dee Gourley read the document proclaiming Sunday Doctor Songer Day. A Senior Center delegation presented their doctor friend a colorful afghan.
Letters from Mrs. Charles Kuhl of Michawaka, Ind., whose late husband was the young soldier of the Patton slapping incident during WW II and a tribute in letter form from his former partner, Dr. Harold Smith, now of Salina, were read and presented to Doctor Songer.
There were appearances by Rick McBride, Q.M. of the Lincoln VFW Post; Bob Hamilton, spoke for Kansas University alumni; and on behalf of the Young Women’s Community Service League, Jolene Morton presented a portrait to be placed in the local hospital waiting room. June Nunn and Marguerite Tiemann, hospital staff members, were on stage, as were Sandra Walker and Linda Walker Plinsky, twin daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Walker, representing the several sets of twins the doctor has assisted into the world. Marcia Greene, Berkley, Calif., sent her doctor greetings via a tape recording.
Sen. Bob Dole, Russell, presented the doctor with an American flag that had been flown over the White House; Kansas Senator Ben Vidricksen, Salina, also made a stage appearance.
Several banners decorated the auditorium and were to the guest of honor by debbie Kobbeman, on behalf of the Lots of Luck and Westfall EHUs; Iris Miller, for Mid-America Nursing Center.
Sunday’s tribute to Doctor Songer began with the presentation of the colors by American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars Posts, and Penny Andreson sang “God Bless America.” Ray Rasmussen’s solo, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” was a poignant reflection on Songer’s wartime experiences during which he was four times decorated, earning him the distinguished honor as the most decorated medical officer in the European Theater of War. …
The production team uncovered the little-known fact that when young Herb was in his third year of college, the dean of the Kansas University Medical School, learning Herb’s dream was to return to his home town as a doctor, did an unheard of thing – admitted him to med school before he had earned his college degree.
An exact count of Songer Babies present for the May 25 happening is, regrettably, not available at press time. Among those here who were sporting the nifty “I’m a Doctor Songer Baby” buttons was the doctor’s very first Lincoln delivery, John E. Jewell, now of Whiting, Kan. Doctor Songer delivered this fellow in March of 1940. Total county of Songer babies is well over 1,200! …

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