Allan Roy Dafoe
Born on May 29, 1883 in the village of Madoc, Ontario, his parents were William Allan Dafoe (who also was a physician) and Essa Van Deusen. The doctor was the first born in his family; he had seven sisters and one brother.
Dafoe moved to Callander and started his practice on January 2, 1909. He bought an existing practice for $100.00 and paid it back in monthly installments of $10.00.
The Doctor bought this house in 1914; the year that he and his wife Bertha Leila Morrison, a nurse in the area married. She died in 1926 after only twelve years of marriage of pneumonia and meningitis. Mrs. Dafoe left one son, William, who was nine years of age at the time. The Doctor hired a housekeeper, Mrs. Little who had a young daughter, Mary Hannah, and they both lived in the house. Young William eventually went to boarding school in the Toronto area and broke the tradition of becoming a doctor like his father and uncle and became a mechanical engineer. Interesting enough, William’s son, William Jr, became a doctor and specializes in Cardiac Rehabilitation.
For eight years the doctor continued medicine, treating many patients and deliver babies. The doctor was well liked by some of the area people; however, others said he was a peculiar man, who was very reserved and strict. Dr. Dafoe was a surgeon, a dentist, an obstetrician, as well as an accomplished gardener and organ player. He enjoyed taking care of horses, gardening and other chores were his forms of relaxation and was an avid reader – his collection contained at least 1500 volumes. At times, if he liked you, he would lend out his books. Some of his evenings he would spend fiddling with his short-wave radio, and, as there were few radios at the time, he would bring it out onto the porch for others to listen to if there was a special announcement from the Government or Queen.
He had no way of knowing that a day before his 50th birthday he would answer a call to assist with a delivery that would change his life, and the world’s, forever. He would go from being an everyday average country doctor to being known internationally as “The Country Doctor”, he would greet celebrities in his home (it’s said that when Hollywood actor Jimmy Stewart and his wife Gloria came to Callander, the doctor had them wait for him in his office’s waiting room before coming out to greet them in September 1940), his life would play out in a Hollywood film and his name would be known to all.
On June 2, 1943 Dr. Allan Roy Dafoe died at the North Bay Hospital of pneumonia (complications of cancer) at the age of sixty. The doctor had given 27 years to Callander and area residents. For his work with the Dionne Quintuplets, he received the Order of the British Empire.