Country Facts and Folklore
By Andy Reddick
FATAL FALL FROM ROOF
He was our neighbor. The street that we lived on stopped at the main thoroughfare through Leando. Originally it continued, between Pool’s and Griffins, down a steep hill to the river road, but it had long been closed and was overgrown with grass, except for a well-worn footpath. If anything happened, we walked down hill to his little office, just east of his house, both of which faced the Des Moines River.
It was late in the spring of 1946 and I was five years old. He would have brought me into the world, except that when I was born we lived five miles down the river on a farm and the river road was inaccessible, so we had Dr. Rinabarger from Keosauqua attend my mother and deliver me.
Since then, I had grown used to Dr. Pollock and loved him. For 37 years he had been practicing medicine within the small community.
According to his obituary, he was patching the roof on the kitchen of his home on May 2. Somehow, he made a misstep and fell off the roof or ladder, hitting his head on concrete, suffering a severe concussion. Mrs. Pollock was the only member of the family at home that morning. She managed to get him inside, where he died before help arrived.
Roscoe Pollock was only 64. Before coming to Leando, he had been a member of the Presbyterian Church in Libertyville, in Jefferson County. He attended Parsons College, then received his medical doctorate degree from Keokuk Medical College in 1905. He was an active member of the Masonic Lodge.
His son Robert had spent the winter in Leando, and had just returned with his family, to Fitzgerald, Georgia. John lived in Fairfield, Larry in Iowa City, and Davis lived in Douds. His daughter, Elizabeth, taught school in Ely, Minnesota. His mother, four sisters and two brothers were still living at the time of his death, which rocked the small community.
His funeral was at the little Leando Methodist Church, and he was buried at Mt. Moriah Cemetery north of Douds. Stanley Barker, J. S. Russell, Leonard Roush, Asa Fellows, Will Carson and Harry Morrison were pallbearers. Honorary pallbearers were some of his peers: Dr. D. T. Rambo, Dr. F. L. Nelson, Dr. E. B. Howell and Dr. D. O. Bovenmeyer all of Ottumwa; Dr. C.D.N. Gillfillin of Eldon; Dr. Roy Sweeney of Richland; Dr. Matthews of Milton and Dr. Prentiss of Troy.
More doctors crowded into the Leando Methodist Church that day than had ever been known. People in the community also crowded the building. The vestibule was full, and people stood on the stairs and outside as they paid last respects to their friend and doctor.
(His obituary is on Rich Lowe's Genealogy website at http://iagenweb.org/boards/vanburen/obituaries/index.cgi?review=146120 )
Contributed to the Van Buren Co. IAGenWeb Project by Andy Reddick