For 32 years, the leader ship of William Sol Sheils, MD, was strongly felt throughout St. Mary’s Hospital. But Sheils’ influence extended far beyond the hospital’s walls. Sheils helped shape the face of health care throughout the tri-state area, building a legacy of community service that continues to grow today, even after his passing.
Sheils was born June 17, 1935, in Huntington. From a young age, he knew he wanted to be a doctor. He received his bachelor of science degree from Marshall College in 1957 and his medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia in 1960. After an internship in Springfield, Ohio, and residencies in internal medicine at Cabell Huntington Hospital and Indiana University, he returned to his hometown to practice as a cardiologist. Sheils also served as a physician and lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army at Ft. Knox during the Vietnam War. In 1965, Sheils was appointed to the medical staff of St. Mary’s Hospital. At St. Mary’s, he assisted in the development of the first Cardiac Intensive Care Unit and provided critical care training for nursing and others as the unit was developed. Sheils served on a number of committees and held several leadership positions at St. Mary’s during his 32 years of service. As the chair of the electrocardiography panel for decades, he administered tests that other physicians would have to pass.
In 1969, Sheils and Drs. Charles Turner, Russell Cook and Roland Burns formed a medical practice in Huntington. After several of the city’s physicians died in the 1970 Marshall University plane crash, their practice merged with four other doctors to form Huntington Internal Medicine Group, creating the first medical practice with primary, specialty and sub-specialty care in the state. Sheils served as the president of HIMG for several decades and was intimately involved in its growth over the years.
A major supporter of Marshall University athletics, Sheils and some of his partners provided the teams with physicals prior to the start of the school year and saw the athletes as needed during the year — long before Marshall established its own formal sports medicine program. Throughout his career, Sheils continued to perform physicals and cardiac exams for team members. For his efforts, he was inducted into the Marshall University Sports Medicine Hall of Fame in 2007.
Although his community service achievements were extensive, Sheils was most well-known for his compassion for his patients, always taking the time to listen to their concerns and needs. After his retirement in 1997, many of his former patients spoke to him and his family members about how much they missed his caring manner. Sheils was also known for being a man of strong faith, a trait he shared with his wife of 56 years, Barbara, and passed on to their five children William, Douglas, Geoffrey, Susan and David. Sheils passed away October 28, 2012.
St. Mary’s Medical Center is proud to induct Dr. William Sol Sheils into our Wall of Fame.
Kirk Jamieson David, MD, grew up in Idaho – thousands of miles from Huntington, W.Va. But he ended up making his home in the Tri-State because he found it to be a place where he could truly make a difference. And at St. Mary’s Hospital, he found kindred spirits in the Pallottine Sisters, who believed, as he did, that everyone in need should receive care.
Dr. David was born May 20, 1919, in Moscow, Idaho. He graduated from the University of Idaho in 1942 and then completed medical school at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City in 1945. After completing an internship in Chicago, Dr. David served an extended assignment in Korea as a captain in the U.S. Army Medical Corps.
Dr. David returned home to Moscow from Korea to work as a general practitioner. But after a year, he realized general practice wasn’t what he wanted to do, so he moved to Boston for surgical training at Tufts University.
In 1952, Dr. David moved to Huntington so he could join St. Mary’s as a general surgeon. He chose Huntington because he wanted to practice where there was a real need for his specialty. He also appreciated that Marshall University was available for his children’s college education and St. Mary’s and the established Catholic parishes in Huntington provided a spiritual home for him and his family.
While at St. Mary’s, Dr. David served on many committees, including the Credentials Committee, which he chaired in 1972. He was the hospital’s Chief of Staff in 1970, when the plane carrying 75 Marshall University football team members, coaches and supporters crashed. On that night, Dr. David helped rally the staff to provide emotional comfort and care in addition to using their training to deal with the disaster.
Charity toward all was the guiding principle of Dr. David’s office practice, his work with patients and staff at St. Mary’s and also his personal and family life. He would take any patient, regardless of ability to pay, following a philosophy he shared with the Pallottine Sisters: All are welcome, they only need to be in need.
Dr. David’s wife, Rosemary, was also a strong supporter of St. Mary’s, helping found the St. Mary’s Auxiliary in 1954 and serving as its first president. They had five children: Kathleen, Marguerite, Joseph, Kirk, Jr. and Maureen.
Dr. David retired in 1991 after 39 years of service. In 2007, Dr. David’s family continued his work by making the inaugural contribution to the St. Mary’s Pallotti Fund, which provides financial assistance for patients and employees in need. The gift officially opened the fund to private, tax-deductible contributions. Dr. David passed away July 31, 2008.
St. Mary’s Medical Center is proud to induct Dr. Kirk Jamieson David into our Wall of Fame
From a very young age, Barbara Jo Bales Stevens knew she wanted to be a nurse. She did fulfill that dream and became a wellrespected and well-loved caregiver. However, she also became an excellent teacher of nurses and her 39 years of nursing instruction at St. Mary’s School of Nursing allowed her to leave a major impact on not only St. Mary’s, but also health care across the region. She continues to add to her legacy today with her continued support of St. Mary’s Medical Center and the St. Mary’s Foundation.
Stevens was born October 12, 1938, at home in Beckley, W.Va. As a young girl, she would watch across the street as her friend’s aunt put on her nurse’s cap and cape and headed off to work at a tuberculosis sanitarium. Stevens admired the aunt so much for her bravery that she knew she never wanted to be anything else but a nurse.
Because she liked Huntington and she knew several students already enrolled, Stevens chose to pursue her dream at St. Mary’s School of Nursing. While working as a student nurse in orthopedics, Stevens met her husband, James, who was a patient. The school’s students — who were all female — were not allowed to get married and would be expelled if they did and were discovered. Barbara and James took the chance and married anyway in May 1958.
Stevens graduated from St. Mary’s in September 1959. She went to work on the orthopedics floor as a nurse, but the floor supervisor needed someone to help with clinical instruction and Stevens was up to the challenge. For 39 years, Stevens taught classes in fundamentals, medicalsurgical, pharmacology and many other subjects.
Because the educational requirements to be a clinical instructor kept changing, Stevens attended college either part time or full time for over 30 years — all while raising a family and working full time.
Plus, Stevens rarely missed the activities of her two children, Greg and Mary Beth. She would later say the only thing she gave up was sleep. Stevens earned two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s degree from Marshall University and a master’s degree from West Virginia University. She also earned a doctorate at WVU, making her the first nurse at St. Mary’s to receive one.
In 1988, Stevens became the director of the St. Mary’s School of Nursing. Her tenure in the position was a time of significant transition for the school. She led the school through its change to a two-year program and she led the school’s process of affiliation with Marshall University. Stevens also organized and chaired the first nursing research committee and was instrumental in the planning and implementation of the first St. Mary’s employee health clinic.
In 2001, Stevens retired after 41 years at St. Mary’s, but her connection with the medical center did not end there. In 2003, Stevens accepted the invitation to serve on the board of the newly created St. Mary’s Medical Center Foundation. Stevens served as the vice chair of the Foundation’s Center For Education capital campaign, helping to raise money for a new School of Nursing, her first love. She also accepted an invitation from her mentor and idol, Sister Celeste Lynch, to join the board of Pallottine Health Services, Inc. — the first laywoman to serve. Stevens would later say she was overwhelmed by the request and considered it a true privilege and honor.
Stevens continues to help her beloved school by working to build the School of Nursing Alumni Association, serving on the alumni board for over 30 years. A member of the St. Mary’s Alumni and Faculty Circle, Stevens is unwavering in her support of the place she believes she owes so much.
St. Mary’s Medical Center is proud to induct Barbara Stevens into our Wall of Fame.