ROCKLAND, Maine — Dr. Emery Howard Jr. was a giant in the community, caring for generations of children from his downtown office.
Those who worked with him and those who were cared for by him recalled Doc Howard, as he was often called, following his death earlier this week.
“The community already misses him. It’s a sad day for medicine,” said Dr. Dana Goldsmith.
Goldsmith said Howard was a real pioneer in Maine in the 1960s and 1970s, providing modern pediatric care to children in the Rockland area. He said Howard was the first pediatrician in Rockland with specific pediatric training.
Howard was a Rockland native whose father, Dr. Emery Howard, was a dentist who operated an office at 407 Main St. from the 1920s through 1950s.
Howard graduated from Rockland High School and then graduated from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston in 1960. He performed his internship and residency at Maine Medical Center in Portland before opening a private practice on July 1, 1963, on Summer Street in downtown Rockland.
That would remain his office until he retired in November 2009.
While many doctors opened up offices near Pen Bay Medical Center, Howard was steadfast in maintaining his office in the heart of Rockland.
“He vehemently opposed moving out of the downtown because he would point out that many of his patients didn’t have transportation,” Goldsmith recalled.
Howard saved many children’s lives over the years, Goldsmith, a pediatrician, recalled. In his early years of his practice, Howard would make house calls and provide care to many children who lived in very poor conditions, Goldsmith noted. He said Howard was also very protective of his patients. Goldsmith recalled that when he suggested the two share on-call duties, Howard would say that his colleague could do that but if his patients needed him he would be there for them.
One other love that Howard had was for golf. He could often be found at the Rockland Golf Course.
In the days before instant communication and cellphones, patients would know to call Howard at the golf course and the staff at the club would go out on the course and notify the doctor. In more recent years, Howard would carry a large cellphone in his golf bag and if patients called, he would speak to them.
“He would tell his golf partners to excuse him while he took the calls, Goldsmith said.
Howard was chairman of pediatrics at Penobscot Bay Medical Center in Rockport for many years.
Upon his retirement in 2009, the Rockland City Council honored the longtime pediatrician. Councilors recounted stories of his care of them or their children.
Howard also served on the School Administrative District 5 board from 1964 through 1979 and served some of those years as board chairman.