Clare County Review & Marion Press

Postcard from the Pines: The Good Dr. Youngman

Youngman Family ca 1970

I’m thinking that it’s time to retell an updated version of the some of the stories of people and places in Marion’s past, before any more of them vanish from sight or memory. Too many have already. This week’s story belongs to Dr. Douglas Youngman, MD.
If you are of a certain age, you certainly remember Dr. Youngman and his family. If you are not, or have come here from another place, you likely are familiar with something Doc did for our town, whether you know it or not. There are a lot of things we should not forget.
Dr. Youngman was a native Minnesotan, young physician, husband, father, veteran and polio survivor. He first visited Marion, Michigan, when he and his wife were on their way to Manistee. They detoured the five miles up a torn-up M-66 to call on our village. They were responding to a call from a local group, spearheaded by Howard Fosnaught, seeking additional medical services for our area. This was post-war, rural America, 1947.
The young family likely thought our town looked rather lean and spare. In those days, we were, however all of our store fronts were occupied, and should they choose, one could live in Marion without the need to go elsewhere. The Youngman’s weren’t impressed by the village. They were impressed by the people they met, and impressed enough to choose Marion instead of Manistee. It was our very good fortune.
Doc and Betty Youngman and their three young sons moved to Marion, renting a home on Pickard Street. The doctor set up his offices in the right half of the Richardson Building. Carolyn Fox was his office assistant and receptionist. Today Teasers II is located in Youngman’s former waiting room.
In an interview after her return to Marion, Mrs. Youngman said of housing in the early 1950’s, “There just wasn’t any place to live. Marion was experiencing a shortage of available homes, so we built one for ourselves.” Doc had a keen interest in building and became the general contractor, building his own home on Sixth Street, a short distance from good friends, Carleton and Alice Morton.
With the assistance of the Morton’s, Doc bought acreage on the northeast corner of the village. In 1954 he built the first of the Youngman Addition homes for Bernie and Lola Schumacher at the corner of Sixth and Douglas Lane, where the housing development begins. This home was followed by 14 more within the next 15 years, including one for the Youngman family, which by then numbered six sons.
“We lived there for 16 years. It was a very comfortable house. It was our home and we have wonderful memories from there” Lola Schumacher said of her Youngman home. The Schumacher’s sold their home to Gib and Marsha Turner who raised their family there.
Along with the Schumacher’s, some of the families who owned Youngman built homes were Mel Helmbolt, Louis Toth, Russell Miller, Henry Moes, Jack Nevins, Frank Blossom, Ted Mester, Cart Morton, Frank Coon, Maurice Allen, Wayne Rippee and Richard Thomas. The Toth’s have been the longest continuous owners and residents on Douglas Lane.
As the general contractor, Dr. Youngman firmly believed that you do business where you live and work. The building materials for all of the Addition homes came chiefly from the Marion Lumber Yard. Construction work was also a local matter. Local stone masons Bill Witbeck and Delton Bigford did the masonry work. Bill McCombs, well known area master carpenter did much of the finish work. Art Blackledge and Sid VanderWal, also excellent Marion craftsmen, Carl Scherlitz electrician and, of course, Frank England, Sr., who installed plumbing in each home.
Frank liked to tell Mrs. Youngman about his family’s roots in this area. The original England family log cabin was located only a couple hundred yards from the Youngman’s new back door.
Doc Youngman was also instrumental in the building of the new St. Agnes Catholic Church in 1958. He joined with Alton Wittenburg to build Dox Motel on the banks of the Middle Branch River. He joined with the Morton’s to build the Village Shoppe, also on the banks of the river. Doc built a new office for himself and Frank Blossom, DDS, just to the east of the Richardson Building. He later added space next to the Village Shoppe for himself. Today, the Village Shoppe is home to Smitty’s and Doc’s office, formerly that of the late Dr. Vomastek, DO, is Dan Lee’s Farm Bureau Insurance. The Youngman and Blossom Building was sold to Bud Crowe Insurance and is now home to LCM Surveying.
For 28 years Douglas Youngman daily served our community. He served on the school board. The doctor’s dedication to his patients ran so deeply that, years later, when he took a position at Sun Rise Hospital in Las Vegas, that he kept office hours in his Marion office when he came home each month. His waiting room was always busy. For many of his long time patients there simply would be no other physician. In the course of his practice here, Doc cared for two or three generations in many families and delivered countless babies. He also served as Chief of Staff at Cadillac’s Mercy Hospital, where he traveled at least once daily and sometimes more.
Dr. Douglas Youngman’s legacy to the village of Marion is a great one. It is here in many levels, from the benefits of the Well Baby Clinic to his tenure on the school board and enthusiasm for high school sports, to the homes and buildings which have become such a part of what Marion is. He was devoted to his family and his church. Some part of his life here touched us all. He gave us healthcare which was second to none and he gave of himself for the betterment of this community. The citizens of the greater Marion community were indeed fortunate to have the good doctor as one of our own. Douglas and Betty Youngman and their son Dean, are buried in Greenwood Cemetery.
This is a circa 1970 photo of the Youngman family. Left to right, Bill, Jim, Gene, Dr. Youngman, Mrs. Youngman, Bob, Dean and John at home in Marion.

0 Replies to “Postcard from the Pines: The Good Dr. Youngman

  1. Doc Youngman was all of my family’s doctor. What a wonderful man and family. If we could only go back to the good ole days. Thanks for all the wonderful stories like this one Julie !

  2. Dr. Youngman saved my mothers life back in the 1950’s. Her varicose veins ruptured and he rushed out to the farm by Avondale and stopped the bleeding and accompanied her to the hospital in Cadillac. I know of others that had similar experiences.

  3. We lived in the Youngman subdivision for over 20 years. In fact dr youngman approached us to see if we were in the market for a new home. We lived in 8th street next door from Lillian French and across from the Suttons . Chester Clark and family

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