Dr. L. J. DeBacker

Ever since I discovered that I have free access to a number of on-line archives through the local Clark County Library, I have been doing a lot of exploring and tonight I feel like I have struck gold. Tonight, I stumbled across the Newspaper Archives and the first person that searched for was my paternal grandfather, Leopold Joseph DeBacker.

My grandfather was a medical doctor who spent the first part of his life in St. Mary’s Kansas and rest of his life in Hastings Nebraska. But there was that time in between when he went to Creighton University in Omaha. He graduated in 1918, during a world war and a pandemic much like the one we are experiencing today. After he graduated from medical school, he at once went into active duty in the United States Navy.

I found the following article in the Omaha Daily Bee Newspaper Archives September 12, 1918 Page 7

The article reads:

Dr. L J DeBacker, who graduated from Creighton medical course last June made the highest grades of any of the students at the Naval Medical School in Washington. Dr. DeBacker was in competition with nearly 100 doctors, graduates from 22 prominent medical schools from all parts of the country and Creighton takes pride in the triumph of its youthful soldier doctor.
Eight Creighton doctors, all 1918 graduates, attended the Naval school at Washington and they had received their Naval commissions and assignments as follows:
Leopold DeBacker, Newport, Rhode Island.

{The Naval Station at Newport Rhode Island was a hotspot for the so-called Spanish Flu as it was a destination for troops returning from Europe who needed quarantine.}

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