Dr William “Doc” Spear

Dr William “Doc” Spear

Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Death Sep 1979 (aged 69–70)
Sagadahoc County, Maine, USA
Burial West Bowdoin, Sagadahoc County, Maine, USA
Memorial ID 37280174 · View Source
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William Spear-WWII Veteran, Country Doctor, Emergency Services Pioneer, Loving Husband and Father

William (no middle name)Spear was born in 1909 in Boston, Massachusetts to Anna and Louis Spear. Anna Spear had emigrated from Russia. William graduated from Somerville High School in 1927 in the General Program and went to work in his step-father's hardware store in Somerville. In 1930, he decided he wanted to become a doctor, and he walked up to Tufts University and found the Dean of Men and asked him what he needed to do. The Dean of Men advised him to go to Prep School for two years, then to college for four years and then to Medical School.

In 1931, Bill entered Huntington Prep School in Massachusetts where he was active in sports, especially in boxing. He won the boston citywide Golden Gloves championship while at Huntington Prep. He graduated from there in 1933 and was accepted at Bates College. It was at Bates College that he met his future wife, Marion Welsch.

Bill graduated from Bates in 1937 and was accepted to Boston University Medical School. Although he signed up for the Army Air Corps in 1941, he did not immediately go into the service. He graduated from B.U. in 1941 and was assigned to an internship at the Central Maine General Hospital in Lewiston, Maine. He married Marion Welsch in October of 1941.

In 1942 after his internship, he went active in the Army Air Corps. In 1943, his son, Robert Spear was born. In 1944, after training at Manchester Air Force Base in N.H. Randolph Field in Texas, and Pinellas Air Force Base in Florida, he left to be a flight surgeon with the Air Transport Command in the China, Burma, India Theater of war. (see info on Flying the Hump below)

While in China, Bill received his air medal for flying the hump while acting as the flight surgeon for the pilots of the Air Transport Command.

In 1945, after the war ended, Bill moved his family to Lisbon Falls Maine and opened a practice as a general practitioner. In 1947, a second son, Stephen, was born and 1950, his daughter, Kathryn, was born.

Bill was the doctor to the town of Lisbon Falls and the surronding area for over 25 years, retiring from General Practice in 1970 and moving to West Bowdoin.

Bill then created and became the first director for the newly formed Emergency Room at the Central Maine General Hospital. As stated in the CMG Hospital's history site--

"Though emergency medical services are available at most hospitals today, the development of emergency medicine as a specialty is a relatively recent phenomenon. In the summer of 1970, CMMC was the first hospital in Maine to create a full-time, around-the-clock emergency service.

Providing the medical leadership for CMMC's new Emergency Department was William Spear, M.D., a general practitioner who became associated with Central Maine General Hospital as an intern in 1941. A Boston native, Dr. Spear graduated from Lewiston's Bates College and earned his medical degree from the Boston University School of Medicine.

Dr. Spear played a central role in the development of emergency medical services throughout Maine. He was elected the first president of the Maine Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and served as chairman of the Governor's Advisory Board for Licensure of Ambulance Services, Vehicles and Personnel."

William Spear retired in 1976 and spent his time at his beloved Jack Byrnes Hill home in West Bowdoin, Maine until his death in 1979 from cancer.

The Japanese occupation of Burma in 1942 had cut off the Burma Road, the last land route by which the Allies could deliver aid to the Chinese Government of Chiang Kai-shek. Until the Burma Road could be retaken and the Ledo Road completed, the only supply route available was the costly and dangerous route for transport planes over the Himalayas between India'a Assam Valley and Kunming, China. This route became known as the Himalayan Hump or simply The Hump.Operated initially by the United States Army Air Forces Ferrying Command (Later Air Transport Command) China Ferrying Command (later ATC India China Wing). The 1st Ferrying (later Transport) Group operated three squadrons of C-47 Skytrain and C-46 Commando aircraft from Chabua. The airfield was also an important layover stop of the ATC Karachi-Kunming air transport route. Flights operated west to Agra Airport, Willingdon Airfield (New Delhi), Gaya Airport, Assam (Borjhar Airport) and east into Dali Airport, and Kunming (Wujiaba Airport) in ChinaWhile the route kept the transports relatively free from enemy attack (Enemy action destroyed only seven aircraft, killing 13 men) it led over rugged terrain, through violent storms, with snow and ice at the higher altitudes the planes flew over the mountains. Flying the Himalayan Hump would turn out to be some of the most dangerous flying in the world. Over the course of action there were 460 aircraft and 792 men lost. Still, the operations were a success. There were 167,285 trips that moved 740,000 tons of material to support Chinese troops and other Allied forces.

Family Members


  • Created by: Bob Spear
  • Added: 19 May 2009
  • Find a Grave Memorial 37280174
  • Bob Spear
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Dr William “Doc” Spear (1909–Sep 1979), Find a Grave Memorial no. 37280174, citing West Bowdoin Cemetery, West Bowdoin, Sagadahoc County, Maine, USA ; Maintained by Bob Spear (contributor 46832177) .