Remember when doctors made house calls?
One such doctor in Hayward, Calif., so enjoyed this personal touch with his patients he continued making house calls years after colleagues his age had quit doing it.H. Cless Crockett of the Hayward 1st Ward, Hayward California Stake, retired July 1, 1984, at age 81. For the first 40 years of his 54-year career as a general practitioner, Dr. Crockett delivered more than 5,000 babies - many of them during house calls. But even with an erratic work schedule, he still made Church and family his top priorities.
"I've tried to do my duty toward the LDS faith and as a doctor," Dr. Crockett, now 89, told the Church News. He knows if it had not been for the support of his wife, Vera, 85, and their four children, he may have found it more difficult to assume these duties.
"I owe them a great deal as they put up with the irregularities that I've had to face," he related, as he especially expressed gratitude for his wife. "I love her. She's calm and quiet. She put up with a lot. One night, I delivered five babies in two children's hospitals between midnight and 5 a.m. Another day I delivered eight babies."
But Sister Crockett not only didn't seem to mind - she supported him. "He loved being a doctor and everybody loved him," she said about her husband. "I thought he was doing such a wonderful job. He wants to do what is right at all times. I've admired him for that."
Dr. Crockett's oldest son, Richard C., 57, remembered his dad: "He was always there, except for when delivering a baby. He was there for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I don't know how he did it. If we ate fast enough in the evening, we could go on house calls with him. He shows honor to all people. Tough example to follow but sure a good one."
In fact, Dr. Crockett's example was so good that 11 members of the family and extended family chose the medical profession. Richard, following closest in his father's footsteps, is a general practitioner in Hayward and has delivered many babies himself. Prior to his father's retirement, father and son worked together.
David S. Crockett, 51, is a dentist, also in Hayward. John Alan Crockett, 47, is a specialist in diseases of women and children, and lives in Alamo, Calif. The Crockett's daughter, Carol Thomas, 59, is a mother of three, grandmother of eight, and lives in Salt Lake City during the summer and in Litchfield Park, Ariz., during the winter.
In addition, Dr. Crockett's brother and two of his wife's brothers are in the medical profession, and three nephews are in medical school.
Many of these family members were "influenced by my father and his love of medicine," Richard explained. "He just loved his patients. He made house calls until he was 81 years old. He would get up at 3 a.m. to see a child who was sick. He did this with little hesitation. People remember him for that."
The elder Dr. Crockett enjoyed these house calls, but he found particular joy in delivering babies. "I was just the medical aide," he said, "but I was pleased to see a baby born and hear the first cry. I saw them first in this world. It was the part of being a doctor I enjoyed most."
And being a doctor was something he dreamed of during his youth in Logan, Utah. As a young man, he served in the French Mission, after which he attended the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, and then transferred to the University of Pennsylvania, where he received his medical degree in 1930.
While attending the University of Utah, he courted Vera Sanders, who was studying business and art. They were married in the Salt Lake Temple on Sept. 11, 1929.
After graduation, the young couple spent a year in Oakland, Calif., for an internship, then another year in San Leandro, Calif., for a residency. In 1932, he set up practice in Hayward, where they have remained.
Through the years, Brother and Sister Crockett have supported each other in their various activities, and this support has carried over into their Church callings. They worked together in the Oakland Temple from 1964 to 1988. He was an ordinance worker, assistant supervisor of the temple workers and a sealer. She was a receptionist and later supervised the receptionists. Both have held numerous callings in the Church.
Today, they enjoy working together in their flower garden.
With all his accomplishments, Dr. Crockett simply wants to be remembered for being "a kind person."
The people in his community have shown they won't forget his kindness. They honored him in November 1991 with the city's lifetime achievement award.