Gruff Doctor Well-Loved

By Doreen (Underhill) Ensign and Lois(Underhill) Bennett (special to Daily Courier)

dr. Stan Underhill, our father, was on of the pioneer doctors of Kelowna. He arrived in Kelowna in 1927 to join Dr. B.F. Boyce, the Okanagan's first doctor.

In 1934, he opened his own office at 463 Bernard Ave. and this eventually became The Underhill Clinic.

Dr. Underhill shared the space with Dr. Lloyd Day-a dentist, and the Sun Life agency. The clinic moved to 1635 Abbott st., in 1956 and remained there until 1994.

Born in Moline, Mani., in 1897, Stan Underhill grew up and went to school there.

His father had originally homesteaded there, and the farm still remains with the Underhill descendants.

Dr. Underhill joined the Canadian forces during the First World War, and went overseas early in 1917, transferring to the Royal Flying Corps where he served as a scout pilot. On Armistice Day, Nov. 11,1918, he was stationed near Mons, Belguim.

Following the war, he returned to Canada. Dr. Underhill arrived in Kelowna in June of 1927, after completing his medical training. In 1930, he married Joyce McLeod of Grand Forks.

Joyce was the employed at P.B. Willits' drug store. She had been encouraged to move to Kelowna by her brother, Carson McLeod of the Royal Bank. The Underhill had two daughters: Mrs. R. Ensign (Doreen) and Mrs. R.J. Bennett (Lois), Both of Kelowna, and eight grandchildren.

In 1941, Dr. Underhill, joined the RCAF as a medical officer, and served at various posts throughout western Canada. Dr. W.F. Anderson had joined him in practice in 1938, and maintained both practices until dad returned in 1944. Dad retired from practice in 1967.

Stan Underhill was an active member of the community. He served as president of the Kelowna Gyro Club, president and director of the Kelowna Golf and Country Club, director of Calona Wines Ltd. and was a member of St. George's Lodge AF and AM. During the exciting years of Kelowna's hockey team, the famous Kelowna Packers, he was their team doctor, and travelled with them even to the U.S.S.R. In addition, Dr. Underhill was an honorary member of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia and served as its president in 1952.

The doctor was an avid golfer and curler, and enjoyed telling a good joke. When television first became a source of entertainment, he was an avid fan of wrestling-"the best actors on television."

His bedside manner was short on words, and inclined to be a trifle gruff. But this was a big front, because underneath was a very kind and sympathetic heart. He was straight-forward and his patients knew exactly where they stood. These traits endeared him to his patients and earned him the affectionate appellation of "Uncle Stan". He died Dec. 1, 1976.

Following Dr. Underhill's example, both of his daughters became nurses; and, one grandson is now a doctor, carrying on Dr. Underhill's career in the field of medicine.