University of California Berkeley
Regional Oral History Office University of California
The Bancroft Library Berkeley, California
The University of California
Source of Community Leaders Oral History Series
Harold Kay, M.D.
A BERKELEY BOY'S SERVICE TO THE
MEDICAL COMMUNITY OF ALAMEDA COUNTY, 1935-1994
With an Introduction by
Frances Simon Kay
Interviews Conducted by
Copyright 1994 by The Regents of the University of California
Since 1954 the Regional Oral History Office has been interviewing leading
participants in or well-placed witnesses to major events in the development of
Northern California, the West, and the Nation. Oral history is a modern research
technique involving an interviewee and an informed interviewer in spontaneous
conversation. The taped record is transcribed, lightly edited for continuity and
clarity, and reviewed by the interviewee. The resulting manuscript is typed in
final form, indexed, bound with photographs and illustrative materials, and
placed in The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley, and
other research collections for scholarly use. Because it is primary material,
oral history is not intended to present the final, verified, or complete
narrative of events. It is a spoken account, offered by the interviewee in
response to questioning, and as such it is reflective, partisan, deeply involved,
All uses of this manuscript are covered by a legal agreement
between The Regents of the University of California and Harold Kay
dated January 20, 1994. The manuscript is thereby made available
for research purposes. All literary rights in the manuscript,
including the right to publish, are reserved to The Bancroft Library
of the University of California, Berkeley. No part of the
manuscript may be quoted for publication without the written
permission of the Director of The Bancroft Library of the University
of California, Berkeley.
Requests for permission to quote for publication should be
addressed to the Regional Oral History Office, 486 Library,
University of California, Berkeley 94720, and should include
identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated
use of the passages, and identification of the user. The legal
agreement with Harold Kay requires that he be notified of the
request and allowed thirty days in which to respond.
It is recommended that this oral history be cited as follows:
Harold Kay, M.D., "A Berkeley Boy's
Service to the Medical Community of
Alameda County, 1935-1994," an oral
history conducted in 1994 by Germaine
LaBerge, Regional Oral History Office, The
Bancroft Library, University of
California, Berkeley, 1994.
Dr. Harold Kay, 1976.
KAY, Harold. M.D. (b. 1909) Physician
A Berkeley Boy's Service to the Medical Community of Alameda County. 1935-
1994. 1994, xiii, 104 pp.
Childhood in Berkeley, CA and Berkeley fire, 1923; B.A. in international
relations, UC Berkeley, 1931; medical studies: Creighton University, 1931-
1933, UCSF, 1933-1935, University of Edinburgh, 1938-1939; reflections on
Judaism and Yehudi Menuhin; navy doctor and quarantine officer, American
Samoa, 1941-1944; urology practice in East Bay hospitals; local, state and
national medical association leadership roles; work with Alameda County
Blood Bank, Blue Cross of California, Alameda County Mental Health
Commission, emergency medical services for Alameda and Contra Costa
counties; testifying before congressional committee, 1974, on health
Introduction by Francis Simon Kay.
Interviewed 1994 by Germaine LaBerge for University of California Source of
Community Leaders Oral History Series. The Regional Oral History Office,
The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.
TABLE OF CONTENTS --Harold Kay
INTRODUCTION- -by Frances Simon Kay Ix
INTERVIEW HISTORY- -by Germaine LaBerge x
BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION xiii
I FAMILY BACKGROUND, CHILDHOOD, AND EDUCATION
Parents Come to Berkeley
Recollections of World War I 3
The City of Berkeley 5
City Schools and Boy Scouts
Deciding to Go to Cal 9
Naval ROTC in College and The Panama Canal 11
Meeting Frances Simon
Trip through the Panama Canal, 1929 14
Berkeley Campus and the First Time Stanford Stole the Axe, 1930 17
Two Medical Schools' Philosophies: Creighton University
and UCSF 20
Majoring in International Relations 21
The Class of '31 Committee 23
Influences of Mother and Religion 25
Yehudi Menuhin 26
Deciding on Urology 28
University of Edinburgh, 1938-1939 28
The Berkeley Fire, 1923 31
II WORLD WAR II 35
Mare Island and San Francisco Naval Duty, 1941-1942 35
Health Officer in Pago Pago, American Samoa, 1942-1944 37
General Practice 37
Tropical Diseases and American Diseases 38
Quarantine Officer 39
Samoan Economy 40
Living Quarters and Climate 41
Back to Mare Island, 1944 44
Trip Home by Air 45
Building Hospital on Samoa and Sailing 46
Naval Reserves for Twenty-eight Years 48
Oak Knoll Naval Hospital, 1960 50
III POSTWAR PRACTICE IN UROLOGY 52
Finding Housing and Opening Practice 52
Postwar Reception from the Hospitals 53
Alta Bates Hospital History 55
Teaching Medicine 57
Establishing Residency Program in Urology at Highland
Providence Hospital Nurses and UCSF 58
IV ACTIVITIES IN VARIOUS MEDICAL ASSOCIATIONS 59
Alameda County Medical Association and Kaiser Doctors 59
California Medical Association 60
American Medical Association 62
American Board of Urology 63
American and International College of Surgeons 64
Urological Associations: Northern California, Western
Section, American 64
Testifying Before the Congressional Committee, 1974 68
Thoughts on Health Insurance 70
V SIDELIGHTS TO MEDICAL PRACTICE AND COMMUNITY SERVICE 74
Blue Cross Board 74
Alameda County Institutions Commission 76
Alameda County Mental Health Commission 78
Emergency Medical Services for Alameda and Contra Costa
Retirement Decision 81
Alameda County Blood Bank and Related Issues 81
Sugar Cubes for Polio Prevention 87
California Academy of Medicine 88
A Thank You from Kaiser Doctors 90
The 100 Club 90
Piedmont Boy Scout Council 91
Piedmont Emergency Preparedness Committee, Planning Commission,
and Schools 92
Vacations, Rotary, Masonic Lodge, Temple Sinai 95
Motivation for Community Work 96
Berkeley Foundation Award and Cal Connections 97
Changes in Medicine and Urology 98
Life's Lessons 101
TAPE GUIDE 103
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of our graduation from the
University of California at Berkeley, the Class of 1931 made the decision
to present its alma mater with an endowment for an oral history series to
be titled "The University of California, Source of Community Leaders."
The Class of 1931 Oral History Endowment provides a permanent source of
funding for an ongoing series of interviews by the Regional Oral History
Office of The Bancroft Library.
The commitment of the endowment is to carry out interviews with
persons related to the University who have made outstanding contributions
to the community, by which is meant the state or the nation, or to a
particular field of endeavor. The memoirists, selected by a committee
set up by the class, are to come from Cal alumni, faculty, and
administrators. The men and women chosen will comprise an historic honor
list in the rolls of the University.
To have the ability to make a major educational endowment is a
privilege enjoyed by only a few individuals. Where a group joins
together in a spirit of gratitude and admiration for their alma mater,
dedicating their gift to one cause, they can affect the history of that
The oral histories illustrate the strength and skills the University
of California has given to its sons and daughters, and the diversity of
ways that they have passed those gifts on to the wider community. We
envision a lengthening list of University- inspired community leaders
whose accounts, preserved in this University of California, Source of
Community Leaders Series, will serve to guide students and scholars in
the decades to come.
Lois L. Swabel
President, Class of 1931
William H. Holabird
President, retired, Class of 1931
Harold Kay, M.D. ,
Chairman, Class of 1931 Gift Committee
Walnut Creek, California
DONORS TO THE CLASS OF 1931 ANNIVERSARY FUND
Jane Bolton Adams
Robert E. Agnew
Margaret F. Allen
Dr. Wallace E. Allen
L. Stern Altshuler
Margaret B. Ancker
Janet Mills Anderson
Dr. Miles H. Anderson
Marie F. Anderson
Harry C. Andrews
Jean Cope Armstrong
Florence Hahn Ashley
Hope G. Athearn
Tadini Bacigalupi, Jr.
Charles L. Badley
Mary H. Baker
Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Baker
Mr. and Mrs. Howard F. Ballinger
Ralph C. Bangsberg
Pina J . Barbieri
Ellen Silver Barnett
Harold E. Barhart
Thomas F. Barrett
Beryl Evelyn Flick Bates
John D. Bauer
Grace Wallace Beckett
Charles F. Bedford
George R. Bell
Barbara Dunton Benedict
Hertha P. Bengston
Mary Woods Bennett
Virginia Smith Bennett
Anna 0. Bentzen
Lester J . Berry
Brigadier General Paul Berrigan
Jerome W. Bettman, M.D.
Lucille K. Bewley
Vivian Y. Blevins
A. Harry Bliss
Irene Fisk Blowers
George D. Bogert
Katherine Smith Bolt
Helen H. Bondshu
Aileen E. Boogaert
Helen R. Bottimore
Dr. and Mrs. James J. Brady
Clark L. Bradley
F. Glenn Bramble
Yaye Togasaki Breitenbach
A. R. Brooding
Dorothy W. Brown
Alan K. Browne
J. F. Brust
Jean C. Burtchaell
Mr. and Mrs. William T. Butner
California Alumni Club of Rossmoor
in memory of Alan K. Browne
Fred A. Camp
Mary E. Campioni
Judge Walter Carpeneti
Walter W. Carter
Elena Bianchini Catelli
Gladys N. Ceccotti
Daisy Wong Chinn
Francis Lai Chinn
Katherine I. Clark
E. F. Chase
Julia A. Cline
Betsy Kinkel Clopton
Waldo E. Cohn
Marie F. Colwell
James F. Conley
Maylou B. Conroy
Robert E. Cooper, Jr.
Dr. James Hallam Cope
George L. Cory
Lemuel C. Cragholm
Harlene Eachus Cripe
Arthur P. Crist, Jr.
Professor Charles C. Gushing
Charlotte Cerf Gushing
Theodore D. Dabagh
Dorothy E. Dady
George H. Danis
John 0. Davis, Jr.
Sidney V. Dennison
Marie Fitzgerald Devin
Mr. and Mrs. Leland Dibble
Frances C. Dieterich
Mr. and Mrs. Fred A. Divita
Alice K. Dolan
Ted A. Dungan
Mildred Squier Earl
Charles K. Ebert
Helen G. Ebert
Mildred Long Ehrhardt
Adele C. Eisman
Dr. Maurice Eliaser, Jr.
C. A. Emery
J. Gordon Epperson, M.D.
Dr. Ervin Epstein
Helen E. Estep
B. D. Evers
Doris F. Falk
J. Clarence Felcino
Dr. John M. Fernald
Clair N. Fishell
Margaret O'Brien Fisher
Dr. Howard B. Flanders
Katherine A. Fleager
Julia A. Foote
Dr. John Douglas Forbes
Elvin L. Fowler
Robert H. Frank
Julius H. Freitag
Mary C. Freitas
Evelyn L. Friedenthal
Gail Merwin Fritz
Arthur A. Frost
Elizabeth L. Fuller (Gladys Lund)
Y. Fred Fujikawa
Adelia S. Garard
Dr. and Mrs. Levon K. Garron
Edwin C. Garwood
William S. Gavin
Charlotte Ham Gerdes
Helen C. Gibson
Winifred S. Gibson
Ivy Winn Gill
Steven M. Goldblatt
Ruth H. Goodrich
Virginia W. Grace
Harvey T. Granger
Sterling Steffen Green
Mary Catherine Gustavson
K. Verner Haapala
Robert S. Hager
Elizabeth G. Hahn
Theodore E. Haig
Marlin W. Haley
Wilbur H. Halsey
Carl W. Handy
Mary Beth Hansen
Maurice A. Harband
Maurine S . Hardin
William L. Harr
Katharin F. Harrell
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Harris
Vivian C. Harrison
Robert M. Hartwell
Edith C. Hassan
Lois H. Hastie
Helena A. Quail Hawkins
Hazel J. Hawkinson
Margaret I. Hayden
Juan C. Hayes
Glan T. Heisch
J . Henry Heide
John J . Helm
Emily C. Herndon
Edith Meyer Herreshoff
Stephen G. Herrick
Nathan R. Hertzberg
Walter S. Hertzmann
Max L. Herzog
Dr. Allen T. Himnan
Elsie D. Hoeck
Mr. and Mrs. William H. Holabird
Robert W. Hollis
Wilfred Elliott Horn
Marjorie A. Howard
W. George L. Hughes
Donald E. Hunter
Ward D. Ingrim
Erma M. Jacobsen
Leonore A. Jacques
Raymond W. Jewell
A. H. Johnson
Mrs . Donald Johnson
J. W. Johnson
George H. Johnston
Ilene F. Joyce
Lillian M. Kavanagh
Dr. and Mrs. Harold Kay
Irma Meyers Kennedy
Mary M. Kennedy
Albert H. Kessler
Dorothy M. Kesseli
Kenneth A. Keyes
Frank M. King
Katherine E. King
Margaret Farley Koehler
Howard A. Koster
Etta Jean Kotcher
Adrian A. Kragen
Arleen A. Krentz
Fred N. Kruse
Ruth Ann Lage
Anne Gibson Lanpher
Scott H. Lathrop
Lowell A. Ledgett
Dr. Sanford E. Leeds
Jack R. Lehmkuhl
Edwin T. Lindley, Jr.
Mary Ann Linsdale
Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Lisherness
Flora Mattoon Locke
Dorothy Ford LoForte
Wilmer Grace Logan
Atha Darby Loggins
Fred W. Lorenz
Katherine S. Lorenzen
Marguerite A. Lorton
Dorothy R. Lowe
Bernice E. Lowenstein
Victor F. Ludewig
George J . Lyons
Mildred Wall MacLean
Kathryn Prost MacLeod
Baxter C. Madden, Jr.
Elizabeth F. Mahon
Genevieve T. Malstrom
Edward V. Martin
George W. Martin
H. E. Ma this
Benjamin S. Matsuda
C. Geneva McCann
Horace R. McCombie
Thomas B. McCord
Blanche E. McCormick
George H. McElroy
Sister Mary A. McFeeley
Helene Bing McGalliard
Imogene W. Mclndoe
Jewel Smith McKenna
Ruth E. McNulty
Frank W. McQuiston, Jr.
Clifford L. Merkel
Arthur H. Middleton
Roger F. Miller
Hazel Emery Mills
Henry G. Mishkin
Tulie Toru Miura
Jane Moore Mock
Margaret G. Molarsky
John F. Molony
Betty W. Moore
Alice K. Montin
Iwao M. Moriyama
Kenneth L. Morris
Anna C. Morrison
Rush S. Mossman
Ruth S . Mossman
Robert S. Mott
R. P. Murphy
Margaret D. Myers
Hudson F. Nagle
Alma Goyun Neubarth
Clem J . Nevitt
Scott and Ruth Waldo Newhall
Arthur W. Newman
Ferril R. Nickle
Meredith H. Nicoles
Mr. and Mrs. Richard H. Nida
Neal J . Nomura
Florence M. Odemar
Edith C. Oldendorf
Nichi Oka Onuma
Esther Carlson Osnas
Charles P. Paccagnella
Marion D. Pack
C. J. Paderewski
Edwin W. Palmrose
Mabel E. Parker
Catherine Chapin Parsons
Elsie Jeanette Plath
Jeryme C. Potter
Harold Trent Power
Milton H. Price
Margaret Sellers Priest
Bea Edwards Pruiett
Claire Hagerty Ranken
Walter H. Redit
William D. Reidt
Marie C. Reinhart
Frederick W. Reyland, Jr.
Embree E. Reynolds
Nancy Surr Richardson
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Riner
James H. Ripley
Mary E. Ritchie
Agnes R. Robb
Lawrence M. Roberts
Elsie Merrill Robinson
Elsie B. Roemer
Edgar 0. Rogers
Elizabeth D. Rollins
Alice Frances Rooney
Barbara D. Ross
W. Byron Rumford, Sr.
Elizabeth Y. Rusk
Margaret Scherer Sabine
William L. Sanoorn
Walter C. Schmidt
Griffith W. Sherrill
Helen C. Shirley
Ross T. Shoaf
Lois M. Shupe
Edna Stanbridge Sibole
Anne Meux Siegfried
Dr. A. E. Simmons
Helen C. Skidmore
Dr. C. C. Smith
Valerie W. Smith
John C. Snidecor
J. Robert Snyder
Frank Solinsky III
Halcyon B. Spencer
Harry C. Stanley
Lois I. Startt
Alta V. Steengrafe
H. G. Stevens
Elizabeth M. Stevick
Lucien B. St. John
J . Ralph Stone
Leonora Hohl Strohmaier
G. Douglas Sturges
Lois L. Swabel
George E. Sweeney
Anna Rose Taylor
Kathleen Lapham Taylor
Elise Heyman Terrill
Dr. Mary F. Thelen
Sanford M. Treguboff
Helen Kathryn Trevey
Inna B. Uren
Arthur W. Van de Mark
Elvin Van Ness
Robert N. Varney
Lawrence 0. Vireno
Ruth R. von Uhlit
Clifford Wayne Vredenburgh
Rather ine A. Walsh
Margaret A. Ward
Mae Heisler Watkins
Margaret H. Watzek
Priscilla S. Wegars
Ralph W. Weilerstein
Robert A. Weimer
Kenneth and Elsie Wells
Margaret C. Weymouth
Phyllis B. White
W. A. Wilkinson
Ralph E. Williams
Garff B. Wilson
Honora K. Wilson
Paul S . Windrem
Helen J. Winkenhofer
Elmer C. Winkler
Frederick De Boom Witzel
Mr. and Mrs. Leonard R. Wohletz
Marion G. Wolford
Harold A. Wood
Jane A. Woods
James S. Wyatt, Jr.
Mrs. Robert W. Yates
Verna F. Zander
Edward M. Zeller
Claude E. Zobell
Donors 1986 to 1991
Valentin 0. Arellano
Jean C. Armstrong
Mary C. Baker
BankAmerica Foundation (matching)
Mary Woods Bennett
Alan K. Browne
Raymond W. Cope
Fitzgerald Abbott & Beardsley
Elinor B. Freitag in memory of
Professor Julius H. Freitag
Mrs. Levon K. Garron
Charlotte H. Gerdes
Marlin W. Haley
Robert M. Hartwell
Juan C. Hayes
J. Henry Heide
William H. Holabird
William H. Holabird in memory of
John J . Helm
Aubrey H. Johnson
Adrian A. Kragen in memory of
Alan K. Browne
Flora M. Locke
Mrs. Wilmer G. Logan
Victor F. Ludewig
Kathryn Post MacLeod in memory of
Alan K. Browne
Margaret G. Molarsky
Donors 1986 to 1991
Anna C. Morrison
Mabel E. Parker
Jeryme C. Potter
Mrs. R. Q. Roemer
Edgar 0. Rogers
Elaine L. Routbort
UCB Alumni Club of Rossmoor in
memory of Alan K. Browne
Arthur W. van de Mark
Katharine A. Walsh
Donors 1991 to 1992
Mrs. Levon K. Garron
Marlin W. Haley
J. Henry Heide
Mr. and Mrs. William H. Holabird
W. George L. Hughes
Anna C. Morrison
Mrs. Jeryme Potter
Donors 1992 to 1993
Frances W. Garron
J. Henry Heide
William H. Holabird
Adrian A. Kragen
Donors 1993 to 1994
Wallace E. Allen
Charlotte C. Gushing
Sidney V. Dennison
William R. Eastman, Jr.
Frances W. Garron
Charlotte H. Gerdes
J. Henry Heide
William H. Holabird
John Howard Henry
Adrian A. Kragen, in memory of
Esther M. Osnas
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
SOURCE OF COMMUNITY LEADERS SERIES
Robert Gordon Sproul Oral History Project. Two volumes, 1986.
Includes interviews with thirty- four persons who knew him well.
Bennett, Mary Woods, A Career in Higher Education: Mills College
Browne, Alan K. , "Mr. Municipal Bond": Bond Investment Management. Bank
of America. 1929-1971. 1990.
Devlin, Marion, Women's News Editor: Vallelo Times-Herald. 1931-1978.
Hassard, H. Howard, The California Medical Association. Medical
Insurance, and the Law. 1935-1992. 1993.
Kay, Harold, M.D. , A Berkeley Boy's Service to the Medical Community of
Alameda County. 1935-1994. 1994.
Kragen, Adrian A., A Law Professor's Career: Teaching. Private Practice,
and Legislative Representative. 1934 to 1989. 1991.
Stripp, Fred S., Jr., University Debate Coach. Berkeley Civic Leader, and
Hedgpeth, Joel, Marine biologist, in process.
Heilbron, Louis, Attorney, in process.
Peterson, Rudolph, Bank of America administrator, in process.
Trefethen, Eugene, Kaiser Industries administrator, in process.
INTRODUCTION- -by Frances Simon Kay
It is an honor and a privilege for me to write a few words by way of
introducing my husband for 56 years, Harold Kay.
I first met him in Omaha, Nebraska in 1929. He was from Berkeley
and visiting relatives who were friends of my family. For the short time
we were together, he told me of the great University he attended and how
much he loved being a student there. That love has never waned, and his
interest, although not active now, has always been one of devotion,
loyalty and gratitude for his education, training, basic values, and the
meaning of relationships.
His many accomplishments, his desire to do as much as he could to
help others, his active involvement in so many organizations in his
profession, community, religion all attest to his great love of people.
We are very much a California family. I later moved to California
and was a graduate of UCLA. Our two sons are graduates- -one of
California in Los Angeles, and one of Berkeley.
Along with his many activities and his medical practice, he still
had the time to be a devoted husband and wonderful father and we are all
so very proud that the University has seen fit to honor him in this way.
Frances S. Kay
April 11, 1994
INTERVIEW HISTORY- -by Germaine LaBerge
In 1981, Dr. Harold Kay became chairman of the Class of 1931 Gift
Committee as the class considered possibilities for their fiftieth
anniversary gift to their Alma Mater. They chose an endowment for an
oral history series, focusing on alumni who have contributed in special
ways to their communities. Little did Harold Kay know that the class
would want, ten years later, to document his life. In fact, it took a
little over two years to convince him to say yes to this project. When I
first met Dr. Kay on the eleventh of January, 1994, to discuss the oral
history process and the important issues of his life, his departing
comment was, "I don't have very much to say."
Luckily for me and for future researchers, we forged ahead. Dr. Kay,
a specialist in urology, has made lasting contributions to the medical
community and community at large: as president of the Alameda County
Medical Association, he initiated the polio innoculation drive in the
sixties (sugar cubes); he opened the membership door to Kaiser doctors
who had previously been excluded (1963); he established the first
residency program in urology at Highland Hospital in Oakland. He spoke
about these issues and others in the four recorded sessions on January 20
and 27, February 3 and 17, 1994. We always met in the morning, either in
his family room or the "back bedroom," whose walls display his college
and medical school degrees, his memberships in various medical
associations and community organizations. My only sadness for readers of
this volume is that one cannot see the twinkle in his eye nor hear the
witty expression of his voice. Dr. Kay's sense of humor is unmatchable.
His deep love of people is a strong trademark -- whether it be a
patient, a fellow serviceman in World War II, a medical colleague, his
family. From an early age, he observed his mother collecting clothing
and food for people in need (including young Yehudi Menuhin and his
family) ; he watched his father organize the merchants of Berkeley to do
the same (including saving Alta Bates Hospital from bankruptcy in the
early days). Harold Kay has gone on to become a vital part of his
community also- -serving on the Piedmont Emergency Preparedness Committee
and the Planning Commission, participating actively at Temple Sinai,
Rotary, Masonic Lodge, and Shrine. He well deserves to be the latest
addition to "The University of California, Source of Community Leaders"
oral history series. Many thanks to the Class of 1931 for making this
Born in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1909, Harold Kay's family moved to
Berkeley< when he was three years old. He attended all Berkeley schools
and witnessed the Berkeley Fire of 1923. In his oral history. Dr. Kay
describes Berkeley in the early days and his family's experience of
warding off the fire and aiding the victims. Always headed toward the
University of California, he followed his older brother there in 1927,
taking part in many campus activities: he managed the advertising
department for the Daily Cal freshman year, participated in the Rally and
Reception Committees, witnessed the first theft of the Axe by Stanford
students wearing Cal rally caps.
After receiving his B.A. in international relations, he entered the
medical school at Creighton University, Omaha. Two years later, he
transferred to UCSF, receiving his M.D. in 1936. Dr. Kay describes the
two different approaches to medical education and his reaction to both.
He took some postgraduate training in anatomy at the University of
Edinburgh (Scotland) where he and his new bride, Frances Simon, witnessed
the beginning of the war in Europe in 1938.
Back to the states in 1939, Dr. Kay re-established his practice in
urology with an established physician, Dr. Albert Meads. In 1941, he
entered active duty as a naval officer, serving on Mare Island, San
Francisco, and American Samoa. In this memoir, he recounts his
experiences as the health and quarantine officer in Pago Pago, building a
hospital for the native population with surplus marine supplies, treating
elephantiasis and yaws. "There were 14,000 natives there, I guess we
examined 13,000, and did a lot of studies on it. They were all sent to
Washington, and of course, nobody got credit for it, except the navy,
[laughter]" Dr. Kay remained in the naval reserves for twenty-eight
He became a solo practitioner after the war and joined the staff of
several Bay Area hospitalsHighland, Alta Bates, Peralta, Herrick,
Cowell, to name a few. In addition he was consulting urologist at the
U.S. Veterans Hospital in Livermore, the U.S. Naval Hospital -Oak Knoll
(helping to keep it open), and the U.S. Air Force. He taught nursing
students at Providence Hospital and medical students at UCSF. In the
midst of his work, he encountered some prejudice because of his Jewish
faith. It prompted him, without bitterness, to take on leadership
positions on hospital staffs and in local, state and national medical
associations. He speaks about all this in his oral history, discussing
issues such as national health care, including Medicare, and testifying
before the House Ways and Means Committee on that subject in 1974 .
Dr. Kay's outside activities included membership on the Alameda
County Institutions Commission and Alameda County Mental Health
Commission. With a federal grant, he helped establish guidelines for
Emergency Medical Services for both Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.
His energy was endless. He served as president of the following:
Alameda -Contra Costa County Medical Association, Northern California
Urological Association, and the Western Section of the American
Urological Association. After retiring from active practice in 1976, he
took a "job" with the Alameda County Blood Bank and in his memoir speaks
about blood testing and the AIDS epidemic.
Frances Simon Kay is an important part of his life. Readers will
enjoy the story of their meeting and can read between the lines to know
that she has been his mainstay through many happy years of marriage.
Mrs. Kay always met the interviewer at the door and made sure conditions
were just right for our tape-recorded sessions. In addition, Mrs. Kay has
written a fine tribute to her husband as introduction to this volume, for
which we thank her. She also helped gather pictures and newspaper and
journal articles for background material.
The tape recorded sessions were transcribed by Shannon Page at the
Regional Oral History Office. Dr. Kay never met his transcriber but
spoke to her personally on tape, an example of his interest in others.
The transcript was lightly edited by the interviewer and Dr. Kay, indexed
by Cici Nickerson at the office.
As his life has enriched the lives of many others since 1909, so has
it enriched the life of the interviewer. Dr. Kay has not enjoyed good
health in the past couple of years, needing regular blood transfusions
and restricting his activity somewhat. Nonetheless he had good humour and
an ability to describe situations with depth and wisdom. I always went
away with a renewed sense of well-being and faith in humanity. For this
and for his many contributions, I owe Dr. Kay my gratitude.
June 10, 1994
Regional Oral History Office
The Bancroft Library
University of California, Berkeley
Regional Oral History Office
Room 486 The Bancroft Library
University of California
Berkeley. California 94720
(Please write clearly. Use black ink.)
Your full name
Date of birth
Father's full name
Mother's full name
p C <. " +*-^*j \^.- Birthplace ^o .
73<r*Us Xy. a. ST.
Where did you grow up?
Areas of expertise
Other interests or activities
Organizations in which you are active
I FAMILY BACKGROUND, CHILDHOOD, AND EDUCATION
[Interview 1: January 20, 1994 ]##
Parents Come to Berkeley
LaBerge: This is the first interview with Dr. Harold Kay on January 20,
1994. Why don't we start with you telling me about where you
were born and a little bit about your parents?
Kay: I was born in Omaha, Nebraska, on August 28, 1909. At the age of
three, we left Omaha and came to Berkeley, California.
LaBerge: What prompted the move for your parents?
Kay: My father was in business in Omaha with his brothers, and they
expanded and they asked him to leave. He came here because my
mother's brother had already was here in Oakland. Came here to
Berkeley because it was close by, and he went into the Lincoln
Market in Berkeley, an old establishment there.
LaBerge: So is that what he did?
Kay: Yes. He ran the Lincoln Market in Berkeley.
LaBerge: Was it like a grocery store?
Kay: It was a meat market and grocery store, on University Avenue
where Shattuck runs into it.
LaBerge: So is that where McDonald's is now?
Kay: No, I think Thrifty 's there now.
Kay: The street goes right into it. You know, when you go down
Shattuck Avenue, you have to turn left. If you kept going, you'd
go right into the store.
LaBerge: Oh, okay.
Kay: It's Thrifty.
LaBerge: Oh, there's a Thrifty, I think; you're right. Was he in that
business also in Nebraska?
LaBerge: Did your mother's brother also work here?
Kay: Yes, he had a market in Oakland.
LaBerge: So it was sort of in the family. What were your parents' names?
Kay: Anne Lesser Kay, and Joseph Kay.
LaBerge: Can you tell me anything about their background? Were they born
in the United States?
Kay: My father was born in Russia. My mother was born in Chicago.
LaBerge: Anything interesting in how they met or their background?
Kay: I know nothing about it. Very interesting to know nothing about
it. I know they got married at a very young age. They
celebrated a sixty-third wedding anniversary.
LaBerge: Wow. Did you know your grandparents?
Kay: Yes, I did. I had met them several times.
LaBerge: Did they live in Omaha?
Kay: They lived in Omaha. My father's grandparents, my mother's
father lived here in Oakland. Came to Oakland from Kansas City
many years before.
LaBerge: Do you have brothers and sisters?
Kay: One brother and one sister.
LaBerge: Older, younger?
Kay: I have an older brother and a younger sister. Fortunately, both
graduates of the University of California.
LaBerge: What are their names?
Kay: Sidney is my brother, and Shirley is my sister. My brother lives
in San Francisco; my sister lives in Stockton.
LaBerge: So you were the middle child.
Kay: I was the middle child.
LaBerge: Did that have any effect on you, the way psychologists talk?
Kay: No. None at all.
LaBerge: Was your mother a homemaker?
Kay: Yes. After many years --at first, she was working with my father.
LaBerge: In the market?
LaBerge: Did you also work in the market?
LaBerge: What did you do there?
Kay: Everything. Everything. I worked mainly in the delicatessen and
the poultry department. I drove in the summertime; we had
delivery service. This is a thing of the past.
LaBerge: Yes. I remember growing up in Michigan having delivery service.
Kay: So I knew pretty much Berkeley, as it existed then. Not now.
LaBerge: Did you get your license before age sixteen then? Were you doing
Kay: I think fourteen.
LaBerge: Did your brother and sister also work in the market?
Kay: My brother did, yes, in the latter years.
Recollections of World War I
LaBerge: Can you tell me something about your schooling in Berkeley?
Kay: Yes, I'll tell you about the schooling in Berkeley. I went to
Washington Elementary School kindergarten, first through sixth
grades. The school still exists.
LaBerge: On the corner of Martin Luther King, is it?
Kay: Yes, Martin Luther King and I forgot what the other street is.
The thing I recall mostly about that was when I was in
kindergarten, there was World War I. Each one had a garden, you
had to have a garden and take care of it.
LaBerge: At school?
Kay: Yes, at school. It was held behind the church that's right
there, one of the churches there- -I've forgotten it now- -but they
gave the backyard for this. We all had a little--.
LaBerge: Was it called a victory garden or--?
Kay: Yes. It wasn't victory yet; it was a war garden.
LaBerge: So what did you grow there?
Kay: I grew radishes.
LaBerge: Anything else you remember about World War I?
Kay: Yes, I remember very well during the influenza thing. I will
describe that to you: we all had garlic around our necks on a
string to keep the flu away. We wore masks when we went to
school because of the flu, during that. I remember selling
newspapers- -I guess I was four or five, five or six- -extras when
the war was declared, and when the war was over. We had no radio
or any communication except the papers. That's the way we did
I always remember when the war was over, on November
eleventh at eleven o'clock at night we got out of bed and went up
to Center Street and Shattuck, where there was a big celebration
held. There was a Southern Pacific station there, and the city
band. The fire department was there, police department. They
had bands and everything. Of course, most people don't remember
LaBerge: No, for sure. So at eleven p.m., that would just happen to be
California time when the news came through?
Kay: Yes, the news came through.
LaBerge: Did you know anybody who was fighting in the war?
Kay: No. A couple of relatives were in the war, but never fought
overseas. They were here.
I remember the other thing about World War I was where
Berkeley High athletic field is now, was a big empty lot, and
they were training pilots from Cal how to manipulate little
planes. I forgot what they called them, but the pilots were
trained there . They would go up about ten feet and then come
down on that big area, that lot, which is now a football field.
LaBerge: Would you go over there as children to just watch?
Kay: Watch it, yes. Just went there to watch it. I don't think these
things are important.
LaBerge: Oh, they are. There aren't enough people who are telling me
stories, or who would even know that- -this is sort of part of
history of Berkeley, too, and how it's developed.
Kay: Well, I could tell you a lot about that. But that's about all I
can remember about World War I .
The City of Berkeley
LaBerge: You lived in that section of Berkeley?
Kay: We lived in that section of Berkeley. That section of Berkeley
below Grove [now Martin Luther King, Jr. Way] had quite a few
professors, had the police chief and the mayor of Berkeley at one
time living there. It was a very nice --it wasn't the exclusive
neighborhood; it was a nice neighborhood. The exclusive
neighborhood has always been Claremont district. We even had a
farm- -when they say farms in Berkeley and laugh about it- -about a
block from us people had cows. They used to take them up to
Dwight Way to be in the hills in the summertime. And then they'd
bring them down and milk them. We used to see that.
LaBerge: I didn't realize until last week that Dwight stops at one point,
but it keeps going up there past Panoramic.
Kay: Yes. And then I don't think people remember, but all the- -where
Berkeley High is, there were homes there. They moved them all
down to- -I'm trying to think where it is --there were two square
Which we watched
Let's see, what
blocks of homes moved, and were moved down to McGee and
something. There's old homes down there.
LaBerge: To make room for the high school?
Kay: Yes. And the buildings around there. Used to take a day to move
a house. They rolled them; they used rollers, not wheels, but
rolling blocks and roll them along the street.
as kids because there was something happening,
else can I tell you about Berkeley?
LaBerge: Were Berkeley politics always so interesting?
Kay: No, not really. It was very conservative Berkeley politics. It
was a very interesting- -most of them were businessmen- -very few
women, of course. Thank goodness, [laughter] Very conservative.
LaBerge: Did the university dominate the town?
Kay: No. The university- -there were two parts to Berkeley. One was
the university which was separate, and then there was downtown
Berkeley, which was separate, completely separate. In the summer
time, of course, the university was practically shut down except
for summer sessions. Very few people came. But there was
definitely a university group and a city of Berkeley, which had
nothing but home -owned stores, which have now disappeared
completely, I think. I think the only- -there are two stores
still remaining. That would be Huston's and a jewelry store.
LaBerge: Oh, Lee Frank's?
Kay: Frank's. And that's about the only ones that were existing
before, now that many of the branches all came in. People I
don't think realize that we had two trains. Southern Pacific had
electric trains that served Berkeley from San Francisco, the
ferry to San Francisco, and Key Route. The Key Routes went on
one side of Shattuck, and the other one went on the other side of
Shattuck. Key Route ended at University. There was a Southern
Pacific station there for years. It was two blocks there, sort
of a triangle like. That was the Southern Pacific station. They
used to bring the mail in, in the mail car, every day in the
morning by steam train, leave it there during the day, and then
the outgoing mail.
People traveled by the trains and ferries to San Francisco,
and then they got excited, they put in a Berkeley ferry, which
was at the end of University Avenue. And of course, the Oakland
ferries and car ferry. You could take a streetcar for a nickel
from Berkeley and go all the way to Alameda.
want to know?
What else do you
LaBerge: What would you do for entertainment as kids growing up in
Berkeley? Is that go to Alameda beach, or go to San Francisco?
Kay: In the summertime, we went to Alameda beaches. Otherwise, we
played baseball. What the kids do today, never heard of soccer
and there wasn't basketball, or very much of it. Except
organized basketball games.
City Schools and Bov Scouts
LaBerge: Well, then, where did you go to junior high, after Washington
Kay: Garfield Junior High, which is now called I guess Martin Luther
King. At the present location of it, it had just moved there
when I went. It had been where- -Garfield had been where the Rose
and Shattuck Avenue, that whole big area, that block, that's
where the old school was. Then they moved down to where they are
now. For the first three years there, we had no sidewalks, so
when it rained, it was all muddy.
We had quite a school. In fact, quite a few of the people
at Cal today went to Garfield. And then I remember having a
drive to build an auditorium there. That was successful. We had
another drive to build a gymnasium, and that was successful. By
drives, I mean we went out to the public to get the funds.
LaBerge: Did the students participate?
LaBerge: Selling tickets, or--?
Kay: Selling tickets, and having shows and things like that.
LaBerge: Did you become involved in scouting when you were there?
Kay: When I was involved in scouting--! guess was there. I went all
through scouting except I came three merit badges short. The
reason of that was in those days, we had to take a bird merit
badge. Charles Keeler, an old-time Berkeley poet laureate, was
on the board. We used to go before a board. He was into birds,
and he questioned. Once you passed him, you were over it, but I
never did pass him. He was dynamite. I still remember him. But
he's a famous Berkeley person.
Was he Berkeley poet laureate?
I think so.
He must have had something to do with the scouts, also?
Yes, he was. He was on the board of review. We called it court
of honor. [laughs] You had a hard time passing bird study with
him. So I never did become an Eagle Scout. I went through
scouting with Fred Stripp, 1 if you remember him.
I sure do. I interviewed him right before he died. And we have
a picture in his volume, in fact, of him as an Eagle Scout with--
I don't know, four or five other --
He passed the bird study.
He passed the bird study,
[laughing] Well, it must have been
It was. I went up twice and failed it, and then gave up. Two
different times. Then in scouting, we had a scout camp in north
Berkeley. We used to go overnight. We'd take a streetcar to the
end of the line, what's now Kensington, and walk about two miles
to a camp. It was not an official camp, but our troop used to go
there on weekends. Then it became the Berkeley Camp; I don't
know whether it's still there or not, north Berkeley.
I don't know if there is one there,
something now. I don't know.
There might be a park or
Used to be there. That's about all about scouting. I have a
picture downstairs, but I don't know where it is, of scouting
when we had a drive for something during the war, or right after
the war. They took a picture of me for some reason, with a flour
sack or something. But I can't recall exactly what it was about.
From there, you went to Berkeley High School, is that right?
J See Fred Sheridan Stripp, Jr. , "Fred Stripp: University Debate Coach,
Berkeley Civic Leader, and Pastor," an oral history conducted in 1990 by
Germaine LaBerge, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library,
University of California, Berkeley, 1990.
And what memorable experiences did you have there?
particular teachers who influenced you?
One of the teachers at Garfield was a Mrs. Smith that I remember
very well. She had been at Washington and then came to Garfield.
She was a music teacher. But I never became musical. And then
at Berkeley High, there was a Mr. Grey in English. A Mr. Winter
was the Shakespearean teacher, and I remember him very well. He
used to play the part of the dog in one of the Shakespearean
plays that has a dog in it. He used to get on the floor and act
like the dog. Everybody waited for that.
I was not a very good student at Berkeley High. I played
football at only 130 pounds, on the football team, and played
basketball, at 130 pounds- -basketball team. I got to the end of
my second year and realized I had no- -I shouldn't tell you this--
I had no- -I think I had a C average. Therefore, I couldn't get
Deciding to Go to Cal
Kay: But at that time, the principal had the right, if he thought a
student was all right, to give him his credits to go to school-
college. So I went in to see the principal, who was [Carl]
LaBerge: Oh, do you know his daughter?
Kay: Yes. His daughter [Jane Biedenbach Koll] is a very good friend
of my sister's .
LaBerge: Okay. Because I interviewed her when I interviewed Mike Koll, 2
too. So what did Mr. Biedenbach--?
Kay: If I would get all straight A's my senior year, he would
recommend me to college. And I got all straight A's my last
year, after a C average.
LaBerge: Wow. In your home, was it assumed you would go to college? Was
2 See Michael J. Koll, "The Lair of the Bear and the Alumni
Association, 1949-1993," an oral history conducted in 1991-1993 by Germaine
LaBerge, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library, University of
California, Berkeley, 1993.
Kay: It was definitely. My brother had gone to college, and I had to
go. So I did it.
LaBerge: So you were definitely encouraged at home.
Kay: Definitely. In fact, my mother went with me in the discussion
with Biedenbach, in his decision to--I got all straight A's,
because I never had an A prior to that time .
LaBerge: Were you interested in science in high school, or no special
Kay: No special ones, no.
LaBerge: Did you know what you wanted to do at that point?
Kay: No, I didn't know what I wanted to do at that point. I had to go
to college. So I did.
LaBerge: Was it always going to be the university, or did you have any
Kay: There was no place else but Cal . During high school years, we
used to always go up there. Of course, the football games. I
shouldn't tell you, but the old California field had wire around
it, and we had cut the wire. We closed it up during the week,
and it was the way of our getting into the game, and to track
meets, and everything else. A group of us had made that
LaBerge: Were you all high school students who did this?
LaBerge: Is this where Edwards Field is now?
Kay: Yes, it's where Edwards Field is now. That was the main football
field and track field. Totally open stadium.
LaBerge: Well tell me, what prompted Mr. Biedenbach to--
Kay: Apparently --
LaBerge: --he must have seen something in you that--
Kay: I don't know. My mother took me there.
LaBerge: You think your mother influenced this?
Kay: Yes. And wanted to get me into college. So she asked him what
could he do, and that's what he said. Apparently, he didn't
think I'd do it. So the last year, I became [a member of] the
honor society and all those other things that the straight-A's
LaBerge: Was your brother still at Cal when you started?
Kay: No, he graduated in '26, and I started in '27.
LaBerge: What did you start out majoring in?
LaBerge: So you must have had some idea that you were going to go on.
Kay: Yes. My mother thought I should go into medicine.
LaBerge: So you did what she told you.
Kay: Yes. That's how I started. Of course, I always had the
opportunity of going back to work in the market if I failed.
LaBerge: Did you want to do that?
Kay: No. That's why I went to medical school --went to Cal.
LaBerge: How many science classes had you taken in high school?
Kay: Only the ones required.
Naval ROTC in College and The Panama Canal
LaBerge: Well, tell me a little bit about your college days. Did you live
Kay: I lived at home. We lived on the north side up on Rose Street,
had to walk to school. A man by the name of [Admiral Chester]
Nimitz lived about a block and a half from me, and I used to go
to school, would walk down with him many times, because that was
the naval ROTC [Reserve Officers Training Corps], and he was
LaBerge: Oh, this is Admiral Nimitz?
Kay: Admiral Nimitz. He was commander then, and then became a
captain. He used to walk to school with me quite often, just so
happened the same time we'd leave. Which was interesting. What
else do you want to know about it?
LaBerge: How did you happen to go into the naval ROTC? Was that a way to
finance your education, or--?
Kay: It was just something, we had to go into either at those days,
you either went into the army ROTC or the naval ROTC.
LaBerge: Oh, I see, it wasn't a choice.
Kay: And I had a choice, because I was in the second class of naval
ROTC. It had just started, and they had nicer uniforms. They
had nicer trips in the summer.
LaBerge: So how much time did that mean?
Kay: It was drill once a week, and two classes during the week. I
continued for four years. The last two years, they paid you. It
was ten or fifteen dollars. The naval ROTC was a very
interesting thing. In my sophomore or junior year, three of us--
I can't think of the names of the other two- -had an opportunity
to go in a battleship through the [Panama] Canal to New York.
That was an interesting trip.
LaBerge: Oh, I bet it was.
Kay: We went to Panama, Cuba, and two of us --one was going on to
France to give a student lecture in French at the university
there or something, and the other one and I had made plans to
come back on a freighter. We were all set, got a job as
deckhands on the freighter to bring us back through the Canal.
But going up the East Coast, the ship had trouble, and we were
two days late getting into where we were supposed to be in, and
the ship we were to meet had left. So we were stranded in New
York with five or ten dollars in our pockets, and no way to get
home, because my father had said, "Don't call for money to get
home. You went on this trip, and you have to get home now."
So I had an uncle who lived in New York. I went to work for
six weeks there and made enough money to come home. I came as
far as Omaha where my grandmother was, and she gave me the rest
of the money.
LaBerge: Oh, sure, you could touch Grandma for- - [laughs]
Meeting Frances Simon
So you took a train from New York to Omaha?
Yes, a train from New York to Omaha. And that was, I should tell
you, when I first met my wife on that trip out West as a blind
This was 1929, is that right?
You were just going to tell me how you met your wife in Omaha.
I was in Omaha for two nights and two days. I was leaving Sunday
morning. Saturday afternoon, I got a call. A cousin of mine
said, "This poor girl's date--." There was a big party that
night, which of course I was not invited to. This poor girl's
date was coming from out of town, and he cancelled her at four-
thirty in the afternoon. And would I please take this girl, just
to take her out there, just so she had an escort, and that would
be all. And it turned out to be my future wife. But I only met
her that one evening, and I left, forgetting about her, and came
home the next day.
Did she also forget about you?
Yes. Then we met nine years later.
Do you want to tell me that story now, while we're on it, how you
met nine years later?
Well, it was the same type of thing. I had just finished my
residency at Highland [Hospital] and went down to interview with
a cousin of mine who was a practicing physician in Los Angeles.
I was there for three days or four days, and sitting around that
first night, my same cousin said to me, "What are you doing in
Los Angeles? Why don't you go out?" I said, "I don't know
anybody in Los Angeles." She said, "You remember so-and-so from
Omaha. You had a date with her." I said, "Faintly." She said,
"Would you go out with her?" I said, "Okay, fix me up." And
that was it.
And by this time, had she moved to Los Angeles?
She had moved to Los Angeles in '30, I guess it was. She
graduated in '31 from UCLA [University of California at Los
Angeles]. We met, and then had our two nights there. Then I
came up north, and she came up here. We had a total of six dates
before we got married.
LaBerge: My goodness. I guess you were old enough to know your own mind
by that time.
Kay: 1 guess so.
LaBerge: So she came up here, and you lived up here.
Kay: Well, she came up here to visit, but then we got married in Los
Angeles, then came up here. Because nobody lives in Los Angeles,
[with twinkle in eye] Don't put that in. [laughter] Because
UCLA may get mad at me.
LaBerge: They could. What was her background? What did she major in at
Kay: She majored in economics. She only had one year at UCLA. She
was two years at the University of Chicago, one year at the
University of Nebraska, then UCLA.
Trip Through the Panama Canal. 1929
LaBerge: So let's see. We were doing the summer between your sophomore
and junior year--
Kay: When I went to New York.
LaBerge: What was that like, to go through the Panama Canal?
Kay: Well, there is an interesting story. You have to realize the
tradition of the navy. Apparently, classes were very important.
The class of '28, I guess, they were junior officers on board the
ship. The three of us lived with them, the junior officers.
Coming West, the class of '28 had put on a party in Panama City
for the class of '29. Going back, the class of '29 put on a
party for '28, and it was quite a party in Panama City.
It was interesting, we being the three of us, they gave us
jobs to kind of train us what to do on a ship. For example, we
were put on navigation, each one was to spend some time in
navigation. I ended my navigation by putting the ship on dry
land in the middle of Nicaragua. We had to spot where we were
all the time. That was interesting.
Then they put us in the engine room for three days while we
went through the canal, which was very interesting. It was quite
hot down there. I mean, these are watches, four on and four off,
watches. Now, it's very interesting because the ship we were on
had two-and-a-half feet short of the width of the canal- -if it
had been two-and-a-half feet wider, we couldn't have gone through
the canal. So they had a lot of trouble going through, and we
had to watch how close we were to the walls of the canal, because
the side of the ship, people didn't know that below there were
bellows sticking out for torpedoes that would be exploded
outside the ship.
And while in Panama, they had one plane on the battleship,
and they took us, if we wanted to go, for a ride over the canal,
we had the use of the planes. So they had us catapulted off the
ship in an airplane, and went over the canal and came back. It
was a very nice trip.
LaBerge: Had you ever been on a plane before?
Kay: No. We said we had been. That was the story of that.
LaBerge: Had you ever been out of California- -other than living in Omaha
Kay : No .
LaBerge: So this was really something.
Kay: Right. Oh, we went to Haiti, too. That was quite an episode
that we went to Haiti, Port-au-Prince. We were told in Panama we
didn't have to wear uniforms to shore, but in Haiti it was
absolutely necessary to wear a uniform to shore.
Kay: Because the feeling they had, the Haitians, for us. There had
been a great marine detachment down there trying to help them
out. Voodooism was prominent down there, and they played the
voodoo drums until they dropped dead sometimes. So the marines
were taking away their voodoo drums, and we had heard about that.
So we went to the marines to see if we could get voodoo drums.
They said they couldn't give them out to us.
We did take a car out into what we called "boondocks," into
the country, and the natives threw rocks at the car when they saw
the uniforms. So we had to turn around and come back. Then our
driver had a man with him who, he said, "You pay him." We said,
"We didn't hire him." He said, "You pay him." But fortunately,
it was at the marine headquarters where all this was taking
place, so one of the marines came over and said, "Are you having
trouble?" We told him. He said, "You go on into the
commandant's house where there is a reception. I'll take care of
So we were afraid after that. We did not go out at night
the three nights we were in Haiti, because of the fear of being
in uniform. They didn't like Americans at that time at all. And
they still don't, apparently.
LaBerge: How about Cuba?
Kay: Cuba, we were on our own. We did not have to wear uniforms. We
were there two days, in Havana. It was quite an open city in
those days .
LaBerge: Do you want to expand on that?
Kay: No, I'd better not expand on that, [laughter] There were a lot of
LaBerge: And no ill will toward Americans?
Kay: None at all. No, they were happy with us.
LaBerge: What did you do in New York for your uncle to--?
Kay: Well, he had just taken over some bankrupt stores there, grocery
stores. So I helped him do the inventory.
LaBerge: You were--?
Kay: I lived at his house. Before I contacted him, I had lived in my
fraternity house there. They asked for a dollar a day. I spent
a dollar a day for food. Used to go to the- -I forget the name of
the place --
LaBerge: Horn and Hardart?
Kay : Yes .
LaBerge: Yes. I went to school in New York.
Kay : And had one meal a day .
LaBerge: What was your fraternity?
Kay: Zeta Beta Tau. You've heard of it?
Harold Kay, circa 1931.
LaBerge: I have, but I don't know what the different fraternities are.
Kay: Louis Heilbron- -did you do Louis Heilbron?
LaBerge: I didn't, but someone did. Did he belong to the same one?
LaBerge: So you stayed there in New York- -was it Columbia's or NYU's [New
Kay: Columbia's, 125th [Street]. In those days, it wasn't quite as
bad. I slept there. The other fellow with me slept with me, but
he went home earlier. He got money from his father and he went
home. That was three or four days before I even found my uncle.
I found my uncle by calling home, reversing the charges. They
told me where he was, because I didn't know where he was. He
lived in New Jersey, so I went over and stayed with him and
stayed there six weeks to get enough money to come home.
LaBerge: Well, thankfully you had the time before school started, I guess,
to do that .
Kay: I got home a week before school started. We had planned the trip
on the freighter, which was going to take that long to come home.
We did go down to the waterfront every day, trying to get a job,
but there were no jobs. That was an experience, to see these
people waiting to get jobs on the waterfront, what was going on
LaBerge: Because this is right in the midst of the Depression, isn't it?
Kay: It was just before the Depression. Just before. So we were glad
we were going to college and not being a deckhand.
Berkeley Campus and The First Time Stanford Stole the Axe. 1930
LaBerge: Was it difficult to finance your way through college?
LaBerge: Because the fees were so low and--?
Kay: Fees were so low, and we didn't do very much. My father paid the
fraternity fees for me. I didn't work during college at all.
No, I take that back: I worked on Friday afternoons and
Saturdays in the store to get money for my recreation, which
was- -I got paid five dollars, and that was usually gone by the
end of the weekend. Very quickly. In those days, you took dates
out on the streetcar. Sometimes I got use of the car.
LaBerge: Did you have one family car?
Kay: One family car.
LaBerge: So it would be hard to all have the use of it. Where would you
go on the streetcar for entertainment?
Kay: To the theaters, and shows.
LaBerge: Did you ever live in the fraternity house?
Kay : No .
LaBerge: So you lived at home the whole time- -that also probably made it a
lot cheaper, to live at home.
LaBerge: I know you were involved in some things on campus, at least when
you were a senior. What activities?
Kay: Junior--! mean during school, I was on the Rally Committee. In
my senior year, I was chairman of the Reception Committee, which
was a group of juniors- -sophomores, rather, who were the
reception for all the football, and all the people coming to the
campus. I don't know whether they have it now or not.
LaBerge: I don't know if they do, either.
Kay: I was on the Rally Committee when the Axe was stolen. I remember
that very well.
LaBerge: The Axe was stolen by Berkeley, or by Stanford?
Kay: By Stanford. That was the first time they stole it.
LaBerge: Oh, my. What year was that?
Kay: Was that '30? I believe it was '30. We always used to take it
down to the bank at the corner of Center and Shattuck and leave
it there. We got it down there, and it was the people who took
it from us .
LaBerge: You were actually in the group?
LaBerge: So you would take it to the bank, like to the safety deposit box?
Kay: Yes, after --yes. And we went down there, and these people said,
"We'll take that from you." It was a Stanford group.
LaBerge: You didn't know it was the Stanford group? Oh, my gosh.
Kay: No. They had stolen our caps, so they were wearing rally caps.
LaBerge: What were your favorite courses when you were in college, or
Kay : None .
LaBerge: None? Any memorable teachers?
Kay: [pause] There was one in economics whose name was--what--
LaBerge: Oh, I'm trying to think- -Ira Cross?
Kay: Ira Cross. That's the one that I guess would be the best.
Otherwise, there was no one in particular.
LaBerge: Did you take a lot of economics courses?
Kay: Well, that's an interesting story. I took, of course, all the
pre-med courses. Came to- -applied to Cal medical school. I had
forgotten about a one -unit physics course which was given only
one semester, so they wouldn't accept me without that. And then
I realized--! had never realized any of this, but I was surprised
when the subject came up. So it was the end of my junior year.
I decided that I had to have something in case I didn't get into
medical school, so I went into international relations, the
School of Economics- -anyway. I took twenty-six units for two
semesters to get all the basics in everything in economics,
public relations and so forth. Of course, they would only give
me credit for sixteen. The other I had to take, so I had all
kinds of econ courses to take. I'm trying to think what other
courses I took- -anyway . And international law court, and things
My training in medicine, pre-med courses, made it very easy
for me to take the twenty-six units. I went to school Monday,
Wednesday, and Friday, classes all day long from eight to six.
Tuesdays and Thursdays I had the navy, and time to study. So I
got by that very well, considering there were so many units.
Tvo Medical Schools' Philosophies: Creiehton Univeriltv and UCSF
Kay: I went to Creighton University School of Medicine for two years
In Omaha. At the end of two years there, I had a 97 -point
average. Came back here and applied to Cal . I first applied to
Cal , went over and saw the dean, "Sorry, there's no room In the
class . "
LaBerge: And this Is UCSF [University of California, San Francisco]?
LaBerge: Do you know the dean's name?
Kay: No. But I had a very good friend over here, the provost of the
University of California was--
LaBerge: Oh, you told me: Monroe Deutsch.
Kay: Monroe Deutsch. So I went and saw Monroe, and I told him the
situation. He got on the phone, and he said, "The dean wants to
see you tomorrow morning at the medical school . " Sol went over
there, and he accepted me. He said, "We'll accept you with basic
grades of C, but not your grades from Creighton." "Yes, I'll
accept C." "And you may have to take special courses --to come up
to our standards, you'll have to do such-and-such during the
summer," which I did. I spent time in San Francisco doing extra
physical diagnosis and a lot of stuff and laboratory work.
This is just a sideline, but in the middle of all this, I
got a phone call from a laboratory man. He called me and said,
"I want you to come up here, I'm going to check you, an
examination." "Fine." So I went up, and he had put out twenty
specimens for me to read, and give him the answers. I went
through the twenty. Several of themhe hadn't seen them for
maybe four or five months, blood studies and stuff like that.
So I got seven out of the twenty right. That was terrible.
He said, "I just don't know what I'm going to do about that. But
I'll tell you, one of my students from your class who's right
over there, I'll call him over and show you how well they're
trained." So he put him through, and he got five. [laughter]
So he said, "Oh, I guess it doesn't work that way." So he passed
During that six months, they kept pulling me in for
different examinations. At the end of six months, and I had done
fairly well in the classes, average, and they called me and said,
"You need to be at the medical school tomorrow morning, we want
you to be examined by some doctor," just after finals.
So I went in before a board of about six cardiologists,
interns, and they quizzed me for about two hours and they said,
"Okay, you pass." That was the end of it. Then there was --so
really for six months, I was on trial, because they had never
taken anybody from Creighton. Creighton was a class-A school
along with UCSF, but two different philosophies. Creighton
trained you for going out into Nebraska to practice, or into any
boondocks to practice, in general practice. At Cal , they trained
you to be specialists and research people. So you got that
difference in philosophy.
LaBerge: Which did you like better?
Kay: Well, it's hard to say. Creighton was more family-associated.
You knew your professors, you could go up and talk to them, talk
to them. At Cal, it was a little difficult. They were too busy.
An interesting thing was after we- -this is another story
just to show you an example. When we had been to Europe, I guess
that first year, Edinburgh, came back, and on our way back we
stopped in Omaha and I went down to Creighton. The office girl
said, "Dr. Kay, so glad to see you." They welcomed me after all
these years, and remembered me and all that. I went to Cal, and
they didn't know who the hell I was. I was just a student, just
a doctor. No welcome. That was so different that after just a
little bit of Creighton they remembered me.
LaBerge: It was probably to your benefit that you had both experiences.
Kay: I think so. The two different experiences, very different. And
I get letters from both asking for money.
Maloring in International Relations
LaBerge: [laughs] Well, back to your undergraduate days: did you
graduate then with a degree in international relations, or--?
Kay: I got an A.B. in international relations.
LaBerge: What did you think you'd do with that, if that was the route you
were going to take?
Kay: I didn't know. I would either go on or find something to do with
it. But I had some basis of something to do. At that time,
international relations was early, it was a new school. It was
new. It was an interesting thing to study.
LaBerge: How about the economics, did that help you later on when you had
to set up practice and--?
Kay: A little bit; very little. You had to have econ courses. I was
taking undergraduate courses and graduate courses, and all kinds
of courses at the same time. But the orientation or organization
of pre -medical school organized my mind so that I could read one
book and think about three courses out of it.
LaBerge: So it was good training, then?
Kay: Excellent. In fact, I have to say that for pre-med.
LaBerge: I know that your mother wanted you to go on to medicine, but you
must have had something within you that kept you going at it,
Kay: In medicine, I was interested. Of course, the idea of enrolling
at Creighton came because this cousin of mine was back there.
LaBerge: Was he a professor, is that right?
Kay: Yes, ear, nose, and throat.
LaBerge: What was his name?
LaBerge: But to put in all that time and effort, you must have had some
kind of drive or--
Kay: Well, I had a drive to go on, because it was just something to
do. To have something to fall back on. Of course, I always had
the store to fall back on, but I didn't like it too well.
LaBerge: What did your brother do at Cal?
Kay: At Cal, he was the managing editor of the Daily Cal. I did that-
-freshman year I went on the Cal staff, managing the advertising
department. But I didn't like it. He had been the manager- -not
managing editor, the manager of the Daily Cal. their business
part. So that's what I was doing, I went out and got ads. But I
didn't like that too well. I guess I did that my freshman year.
LaBerge: It seems like you got involved in a lot of things on campus, that
you were in the midst of the activities.
Kay: Yes. And Senior Week, of course. But with being on the Rally
Committee and Reception Committee, I was busy. And the Blue and
Gold. I was in there, at '31.
LaBerge: I'm going to go back to the office and look it up.
The Class of '31 Committee
Class of '31. I'm in there, I think.
You obviously kept up those friendships.
Very much so. Kept up with the chairman of the class a few
No, he's on the committee. I already knew him. See, when it
came to our fiftieth reunion two years before, he called me and
asked me if I would work on it, if I would take the foundation,
if it is called that, gave money for them. What do you call it?
Not endowment, to raise money for the class,
out there with the foundation office.
Oh, in the Berkeley Foundation?
And so I got active
Yes. I think her name was Susan--. God, these names go by.
Anyway, it was this Susan who was running it, she and I decided
on the- -and then we had the little committee, but a very little
committee. And then we'd meet, and that's when we got very
active and decided to take on oral histories. Nobody knew what
oral history was, and we had our oral history. We sold the idea
of our oral history to our committee. It was tough. Most of
these people a lot of these people dropped out of college
because of the Depression. When they got out of college, they
were getting jobs. They all made a success, but they didn't want
to do a lot of running back to the university. We had an awful
time getting contributions. We got donations of five dollars,
and I felt sorry that we couldn't raise more than we did.
When we had our fiftieth reunion, only about 350 came, out
of 1,400 available.
LaBerge: I guess that's not so many, out of 1,400. It sounds like a lot.
Kay: We had 1,600 in the class; 1,400 were still alive or active. We
got 350, from all over the country. Then we decided- -that was
sort of a steering committee, was Alan Browne, a fellow named
Garwood in Berkeley, Lois Swabel, Fran Garron, Jean Armstrong,
Catherine McCloud. There were about eight of us, or ten of us.
Adrian [Kragen] of course. And we got together and decided that
we should have the reunion at fifty- fifth and then have a reunion
every year of people around here. That's the way we've all kept
LaBerge: You were talking more about your class and the reunions.
Kay: That we had each year.
LaBerge: Every year now.
LaBerge: Anything we've left out of your college experience? What about
your fraternity experience? You didn't live at the house, but
what were the activities?
Kay: Well, as anybody active socially in a fraternity.
LaBerge: Have lots of parties, and--?
Kay: Well, you used to have parties. And you have the annual party,
initiation party. I made some friends that are still with me.
In fact, last week one of them came over here and we had lunch
together, another doctor. I kept up with several, but not too
many. A lot of them were in San Francisco, and several in L.A.
In Berkeley, one of my friends; another fraternity brother went
back to Oakridge [Tennessee] during the war, and is still back
there. Mayor of Oakridge; stayed on. He was a chemist. That's
about all. We socialized a lot, but several- -one , two, three,
four, five--I can't count--have died in my class in the
fraternity. Just one or two of them still alive.
Influences of Mother and Religion
In all your schooling in any of those years, not just teachers,
but were there any particular adults that influenced you in any
way as to what paths to take in life, or encouraged you
No, not at the university or anything before.
How about your mother? It sounds like your mother was involved
She was very involved all through everything, yes. She was very
active and founded the California Alliance of Jewish Women. Our
basement at home was filled with clothes for kids to come up
there and get clothes during the Depression. People donated
stuff, and we had clothing in the basement, a whole wardrobe.
She gave, was in charge of giving money to students who needed
To college, during college years,
through school that way.
Quite a few of the people got
Had either of your parents been to college?
Neither one. It wasn't the thing to go to college in those days.
Then when I went to college, out of my high school class at
Berkeley, I think there were only about a third of it left, less
than a third went to college. In high school, we had a little
club. We called ourselves the Bachelors' Club, fourteen of us.
We kept up all through the years. There were fourteen of us.
Three of us went to college, to Berkeley. So that was --we 're now
down to fourteen at the last meeting, down to four members- -three
But you've kept meeting all these years?
We met off and on, yes. Took the wives.
What kind of religious background did you have growing up?
Were you practicing?
Yes. My mother was very active in that.
LaBerge: Did you go to the temple in Berkeley?
Kay: There wasn't a temple in Berkeley. My father started that years
later. We went to Oakland, Temple Sinai.
LaBerge: Okay, where you go now. So which temple did your father start?
Kay: Two of them in Berkeley. The one down on Bancroft, Orthodox one,
and then there's Beth-El, which is on- -is it Cedar Street?
LaBerge: I think it is. But you didn't grow up in an Orthodox family, or
Kay: No. Very Reformed. Very.
LaBerge: So did you go to religious school to learn Hebrew?
Kay: I went to religious school, not to learn Hebrew, because they
didn't teach us that in those days. A little smattering here and
a little smattering there. I was bar mitzvah'd and confirmed.
And while we are on this, in 1941, I started the Berkeley Lodge
of B'nai B'rith, and was president of that. And of course, then
the war came , and that was the end of that for me . I was on the
board of the temple for about eight years.
LaBerge: This is after the war?
Kay: Yes. And after the war, I was on the Jewish Federation for about
eight years. Board of directors. That was my contact with that.
Now, you've got the machine on?
Kay: We had our Sunday school in Berkeley, on Center Street, upstairs.
My teacher was Mrs. Menuhin, if you've ever heard of the
Menuhins. Yehudi Menuhin?
LaBerge: Oh, yes I have!
Kay: You've heard of him?
Kay: It was his mother.
LaBerge: You are kidding!
Kay: That's another part of my life. They came to Berkeley broke,
mother and father went to school, and they had this baby, Yehudi.
My folks used to send them food, clothing, money. They've been
friends of ours ever since.
LaBerge: Was he the sane age as you?
Kay: No, I was older. He's the same age as my sister. We've seen him
and know him very well. In fact, my folks and his folks were
friends for years. In fact, every time he had a concert, there
were two tickets for my mother and father.
LaBerge: Did you know, as he was growing up, that he was gifted?
Kay: Oh, yes. When I was thirteen, he played the violin at my house.
The day of my bar mitzvah. He was, what, eight I think then.
Seven. Yes, we watched him grow up.
LaBerge: I didn't realize that he grew up in Berkeley.
Kay: He was in Berkeley, and then he moved to San Francisco, and they
lived in San Francisco. I guess he was about five when they
moved to San Francisco, four. But I had to put that little in- -
LaBerge: That's wonderful. See, those are the kinds of things that will
pop up into your mind that are really interesting and important.
Kay: Not important, but just interesting. His mother is still alive;
his father died. I haven't talked to her for about six years.
There was a little trouble at the time. We're still friends. I
guess it was, I don't know, three, four, five years ago, we went
to see something at the- -not the Opera House, the other one,
across the street- -
Kay: No, the other one. The Opera House, I guess. Yes, at the Opera
House. My wife and I were standing in the lobby there for some
reason. Yehudi and his wife came in, to hear the same concert.
Nobody knew who he was, but we were standing talking to him so we
had a very nice conversation. An interesting sidelight.
LaBerge: Did his mother prepare you for your bar mitzvah?
Kay: No, they had gone before that. I was just a young boy.
LaBerge: Any other little treasures like that from your childhood that you
can remember, other--?
Kay: I'll think of them.
LaBerge: Did you read a lot as a child, or in your family did people read?
Kay: Some, but not too much. My mother read a lot, I know. She was
anxious to keep up with everything. She was quite a person. She
used to get money from- -go over to San Francisco and get money
from people like the Haas's, Fleishhackers , and others- -for
students, to give them loans.
Deciding on Urology
LaBerge: Once you finished with medical school, had you decided that you
were going to specialize in something?
Kay: Yes. I went on to residency after I finished my internship. I
had made up my mind either to go in with my cousin in ear, nose,
and throat, or just into urology as Dr. [Albert] Meads, who was
my mentor in my residency at Highland. I finally decided to go
into urology. At the finish of my residency, he made an offer
for me to come into the office with him. I was there for three
years with him.
University of Edinburgh. 1938-1939
Kay: Then we decided I needed some more work, and that's why I went in
1938 to the University of Edinburgh for a year in anatomy.
LaBerge: I think you told me before, they were famous for anatomy, is that
Kay: For anatomy, yes. The professor of anatomy at Cal was Saunders,
who graduated from Edinburgh. And then came back here. Well, in
Edinburgh, we had an interesting thing. The Munich thing took
place, and we'd been there ten days. The word went out that all
Americans [should] come home. So I went down to the consulate
and I said, "What should we do?" "I'll tell you about it. You
stay here, and I'll go home."
So then we decided to call the steamship company where we
had our tickets, and we said- -we couldn't get on the steamship
until October This was September.
LaBerge: September of '38, is that right?
Kay: Thirty-eight. And they informed us that if I took a reservation
and didn't go, I lost my ticket. However, I was in the naval
reserve now, in the medical corps. I knew where the --we had a
squadron of destroyers in London. I was eligible, so I didn't
worry about it.
LaBerge: And could your wife come too?
Kay: Yes. And those three days when Munich [conference] took place,
everybody went to work- -my wife went to work putting the gas
masks together. We dug underground shelters in all the parks; it
was quite hectic.
LaBerge: And this was in Edinburgh, or in London?
Kay: In Edinburgh. They had gun emplacements. This is a sideline:
they had no parks protecting their navy up there, they had like a
barrel from a gun at one place, and they had the firing part of
it in another place. If the Germans had known--! don't know why
they didn't know- -but they would have gone right in and taken
that without any trouble. But they prepared it anyway. And
Firth of Forth- -that ' s the famous naval station up there. That's
So we stayed on, fortunately. And everything was fine.
LaBerge: So you stayed until June of '39, or something like that?
Kay: Yes. In April of '39, I went to London for a week, and then we
went to Paris. Paris had no lights. They had all these little
blue lights in case of war. We arrived on a Friday, and the
sirens were going off during the day that they all prepared for
raids. The lights of Paris were down. It was interesting to see
LaBerge: Then did you travel more before you went home?
Kay: Just to Paris, and then back to London, and then back to
Edinburgh. London was interesting; we stayed at the hotel. Cost
us five dollars a day, and included breakfast for both of us.
Can you believe that?
Kay: The Cumberland Hotel was the hotel in London at that time that
had central heating, and that's why we stayed there. Right at
the Marble Arch. It's still there.
LaBerge: What did your wife do while you were at the university?
Kay: We had some cousins there, and she was with them. 1 don't know
what she did, actually. We had a bed- sitting room, which was in
one room, so- -rented an old house right next to a beautiful
LaBerge: And this was sort of like your honeymoon, is that right, too?
Kay: Yes, we had been married in January, and left here in August.
LaBerge: Did you take the steamship back, or did you take--
Kay: Yes, we took the steamship back. And that was quite a ride.
They were bringing horses to the World's Fair on a freighter, so
only half of the ship was full. So it would rock. It took ten
days to cross.
LaBerge: Did you enjoy that trip both ways?
Kay: Enjoyed it going over; we were on the steamship. Enjoyed it
coming back; there were 125 passengers, but only about twenty-
five of us went to meals.
LaBerge: I see. [laughs] Was there an odor?
Kay: No, it was just so rough. My wife--
LaBerge: Oh, I see what you mean.
Kay: My wife said, "Isn't there any way- -isn't there a subway or a
train we could take home?" She was sick the first five days.
LaBerge: How about if we end there, and then the next time we'll start up
Kay: Medical thing.
LaBerge: Yes. Well, we could start actually maybe with World War II, with
what you did during World War II.
Kay: Well, we could. Yes, I guess we could.
LaBerge: Okay. How does that sound?
That sounds fair.
The Berkeley Fire. 1923
[Interview 2: January 27, 1994 ]##
LaBerge: Our last time, we had finished with you being in Edinburgh, and
we were going to start with World War II. But before that, I
just wanted to ask you if you remember the Berkeley Fire.
Kay: Very well .
LaBerge: Could you talk about that a little?
Kay: Yes, I ' d be very happy to talk about that. I was going to
Garfield Junior High School, and about twelve o'clock, people
said, "Look at the fire coming over the hill." The Berkeley Fire
had started two days before, in Orinda. It burnt itself --they
knew about it. But at that time, there was a rule that nobody
goes outside of their territory. So the fire came to the top of
the hill, and when it got up there, they let everybody go home.
The fire started at twelve, started burning down into
Berkeley. It started down towards our house. We were living at
Eunice and Glen in Berkeley. My parents were out of town. My
brother was at UC . I went home about one o'clock. We took out
everything, took out what we thought was important- -silverware ,
and some clothes. The fire came to Cordonices Park, which was
just a block away from where we lived.
LaBerge: Did they send you home from school?
Kay: Yes. The wind changed, and so it missed us. It went on down the
hill, as you know, to the university. We had a market in
Berkeley, and they were getting ready to dynamite that, as they
had other buildings earlier. The fires changed so often. Where
the university now has a plant area, a whole big square block, I
can't think of--
LaBerge: On Oxford?
Kay: On Oxford. They had just opened a new church there, and several
homes. They blew that whole block up as a barrier, but the fire
went over the top of it. It spread to right in back of our
market on University and Shattuck, stopped right there. We had
moved everything, moved the books out of the store, of course,
closed the market, and moved all the food down to City Hall so
they could have it for feeding people, because we couldn't use
About three o'clock, the wind stopped. When the wind
stopped, the fire stopped. And as you most likely know, a lot of
people took their furniture out, particularly fraternity houses,
and put it all on the University of California field, which was
an open field. The furniture burnt, but the houses didn't.
LaBerge: Oh, my goodness. No, I didn't know that.
Kay: And it swept through there in two and a half hours. Almost as
bad as --seemed worse than the fire of '91. That's the story of
the Berkeley Fire.
LaBerge: Wow. Now, when you're talking about "we took the things out of
our house" --
Kay: My brother.
LaBerge: Just your brother and you?
Kay: Yes. My folks were in Omaha.
LaBerge: How did you get in contact with him when you were at school, or
did he come get you?
Kay: He came home, and I went home. We met at home. It was quite a
hectic time. Then the National Guard came in, and they set up an
encampment across the street from our house. You couldn't go in
and out of the area without a special pass. That went on for
I called my folks in Omaha to tell them what had happened,
and we went right through, no problem at all. But after that, we
couldn't talk to them. The lines were down. We were just lucky.
The other interesting part- -this may or may not- -my father
arrived in Omaha that night, got off the train, and there was
this big headline: "Berkeley Burnt Out." He was a little
LaBerge: I bet he was! And are you and your brother the ones who also
took the groceries down to City Hall, or did you have help?
Kay: We had help with the market. Because we saw it was going to
burn, so we sent- -took all the meat out. We didn't care about
the vegetables. Sent it to City Hall to be used for refugees,
and there were plenty.
LaBerge: That's a far cry from what you're hearing about people in the
earthquake right now, people are sell- -I don't think they are any
more, but last week they were selling water for like six dollars
a gallon, and things like that.
Kay: Yes. It was nothing like that.
Kay: We had some people whose house had been blown up come and live
with us while my folks were East. I guess they lived with us for
three or four weeks, because they had no place to go, and we had
the house. It's almost as bad as the fire in 1991 a block here,
and a block there.
LaBerge: Were you evacuated in the other fire, in the 1991?
Kay: Yes, the last night.
LaBerge: So where did you go?
Kay: My sister-in-law's, over on Trestle Glen. They evacuated us at
seven o'clock that night. This side of the street, and not the
other side of the street. I don't know why. That's the fire.
Now, do you want to know anything more about the Fire of
LaBerge: Not unless you have other things to say. I had a little book on
it. I had totally forgotten to ask you about it, and when I went
back to the office, someone said, "Well, if he lived in Berkeley,
he must have lived through the fire." And I thought that you
still lived down below McGee .
Kay: No, we had moved.
LaBerge: Is that house still standing?
Kay: Yes. Eunice and Glen, Berkeley, is still there. In fact, I'm
trying to think who it is- -somebody ' s son bought it, a friend of
ours, and I'm trying to think of the name of it. And then we had
a big move; we went from there to Rose and Arch, which is about
three blocks away. That's where I was when I went to college, we
were living there. And I guess that's all about the Berkeley
Oh, incidentally, at that time, we forgot when the fire came
over the hill. See, then they couldn't go outside the Berkeley
limits with the fire engines. They brought over a ferry load of
fire engines from San Francisco to help, came over on the ferry
boat. And then is when they decided that they were going to have
joint fire help, and they built Grizzly Peak Lookout following
that Berkeley Fire of 1923. It started two days before in
LaBerge: I didn't realize that. And had it been put out there?
Kay: No, it was still burning.
LaBerge: Just kept burning.
Kay: Never realized that it would be --and suddenly, the wind came up,
and bang. Just like the fire of '91.
LaBerge: How long did your parents keep the market?
Kay: From 1912 to 1963. I think so.
LaBerge: What was the name of it?
Kay: Lincoln Market.
II WORLD WAR II
Mare Island and San Francisco Naval Duty. 1941-1942
LaBerge: Okay, well, let's go into World War II.
Kay: We came back from Edinburgh, and I set up my own practice here.
LaBerge: Where was your office?
Kay: At that time, it was downtown [Oakland] on Franklin Street.
LaBerge: You were with an older doctor?
Kay: Originally, but when I came back, I came by myself. Dr. Meads
helped me, but I was on my own. My wife became pregnant with our
oldest son. We rented a house in north Berkeley. We were living
in an apartment at the time. We rented a house in north
Berkeley, moved in on December 1, 1941. The war was declared on
December 7, 1941, and on December 8, I received orders to report
to Mare Island on the thirteenth.
So that week, I closed up my office. We had paid first and
last month's rent at the house, so we stayed there until the end
of January, and then we had an apartment in Oakland. I guess
that's the story of the beginning of it.
LaBerge: Where were you on December 7?
Kay: There was a board meeting of the Berkeley B'nai B'rith. I got a
phone call at eleven- thirty to turn on the radio there, and we
heard it. So that was the end of the board meeting; came home.
We didn't know what to do at the time. It wasn't very long
before we knew what to do, with the blackouts. All the things,
closing the office.
And then I commuted from here to Vallejo, to Mare Island,
every day with a group of doctors. I'm trying to think of where
we met. We were about five of us, drove up to Mare Island every
morning, to be there at eight o'clock.
LaBerge: Did you get these orders because you were still in the naval
Kay: Naval reserve, and we had units. I was in a naval unit here in
Oakland, reserve unit. The whole unit was called to Mare Island.
After three months up there, my unit was sent down for training
to go overseas, but I was left there, fortunately. I stayed at
Mare Island then. I was transferred to San Francisco in a naval
recruiting station, because my wife was pregnant. With a little
inside help, I got these orders to go to San Francisco. I stayed
there until December '42, and then I got orders to go to Pago
Pago, American Samoa.
LaBerge: Before you go into that, your son was born then--
Kay : My son was born in April of '42.
LaBerge: For the record, do you want to give me his name?
Kay: Steven. And we gave neither son middle names, letting them pick
their own, and neither one has ever picked any. And what else do
you want to know?
LaBerge: Okay, so he was born in April of '42, and you were still
commuting to San Francisco.
LaBerge: All right, now you're going to Samoa. Before you got to Samoa,
what were you doing, just general medical practice?
Kay: No, none at all. I was doing recruiting; I was examining the
recruits for the navy.
LaBerge: So it was like a general physical?
Kay: Yes, general physical, and also we had tests to see if they could
become pharmacists' mates, things like that. People applied for
pharmacists' mates, and we examined them and decided. We had
quite an experience there. It was interesting.
LaBerge: Any episodes you want to relate?
Kay: Well, I guess the episode- -I'm trying to think of the name of the
fellow. A famous movie star, singer, caused a lot of confusion
because they had given him an appointment way above everybody
else, and I had the pleasure of flunking him for his physical.
All hell broke loose, because he was going to get this
appointment regardless. I'm trying to think of his name --Tony
LaBerge: Oh, you're kidding. Why did you have to flunk him?
Kay: He had some physical thing, I forgot what it was now. But he
didn't pass our regulations. And particularly not for an
officer. But I was overruled by politics. I say it was my first
exposure to politics.
Health Officer in Pago Pago. American Samoa. 1942-1944
Kay: I was in American Samoa for a year and a half. It seemed like
eighteen years instead of eighteen months. American Samoa was a
very important spot during the first part of the war, because it
was our only station between Hawaii and Australia. We'd have all
kinds of ships coming in, parking there overnight, because there
were submarines outside. We had submarine nets, we had air
American Samoa in January of '42 was shelled by the
Japanese, and they shelled it twice, two different occasions,
when at that time we had no military protection at all. There
were machine guns and that was all. They did the same thing,
they dropped the bombs in the middle of the bay, and if they had
turned their guns maybe 5 degrees, they would have destroyed the
base. They didn't, fortunately. American Samoa became the main
interchange between here and the south. We had one night as high
as 147 ships in the harbor.
Kay: The experience there was remarkable. I did everything. I did
general surgery. I went in the navy as a lieutenant junior
grade. I was in the navy a week when I became a lieutenant
senior grade. And in January of '42, they made a rule that
changed the date of rank for everybody, and I was caught in it.
So I stayed a lieutenant senior grade for eighteen, nineteen
months. Everybody else was getting promoted, but I was never
promoted because I missed, by this change of date of rank. But
then finally, that's another story.
So I was there, and I was in charge of the clinic there. We
had a clinic and hospital for the enlisted personnel. We also
had a hospital for Sanoans , we treated them both.
LaBerge: Did you have people who had been injured, or was it--
Kay: Just regular medicine, we had enlisted personnel of 3,500 people.
And then about five miles away, the navy came in and put up what
they called a Mobile 3 Hospital, which took care of all the
injuries that came through that way. That was the story of
The first twelve months, we were very busy, because the war
was going on, and then Tarawa took place. We were a staging area
for Tarawa; they did training there. They used to bring in every
six weeks marines- - [telephone interruption] - -they were training
marines for jungle fighting down there. They used to bring in
about 6,000 marines every three weeks, and then ship them out.
And then they came and changed everything to have it for Tarawa,
Tropical Diseases and American Diseases
Kay: After Tarawa, it was like shutting off water, because we got a
ship a day, and nothing else was happening. At that time, we
decided- -it was called filariasis, which was a disease of the
natives- -you know, our word for it was mu-mu. The mu-mu was the
native word for it. They had this elephantiasis, that's what I'm
thinking of, it caused elephantiasis. So we had nothing to do,
so we started studying it. There were 14,000 natives there, I
guess we examined 13,000, and did a lot of studies on it. They
were all sent to Washington, and of course, nobody got credit for
it, except the navy.
During the time we were there, the natives- -the mosquitoes
bit at night, sundown, sunset. A lot of the personnel would go
out into what we called the bush, and got these bumps, had
lymphatic involvement from the thing. People in Washington
decided that anybody that had that had to go home. We, of
course, down there just felt there were some rules to be
involved, but we hadn't followed Washington rules. We never
found any military personnel having elephantiasis. We found that
if you've been exposed to mosquitoes at least forty-five years,
then you might get elephantiasis, but they had the filariasis,
very common amongst them.
In the navy, American Samoa, 1942. Harold Kay is pictured
second from left.
LaBerge: Did you find a cure for the filariasis?
Kay: Staying away from the mosquitoes. And while I was down there,
the penicillin became available, and it was a godsend down there
to have it. I think that was one of the best things that ever
happened to us down there. It took care of a lot of the diseases
and things. There was another disease called yaws amongst the
natives; we never got it. We started treating them with
penicillin and clearing them right up. It was caused by a
spirochete similar to syphilis. As a result of that, there was
no syphilis in the natives in Samoa, because they all had yaws,
they had the other spirochete. And when we cleared it up with
penicillin, it was fine.
The other interesting thing, I was the- -what do you call it-
-not immigration, but checking the ships coming in and out, for
the health, the quarantine officer. Because before I got there,
a ship came from Hawaii, which was a ten-day trip, and they
arrived there and they got chicken pox down there. Killed off
about seventy-five natives, and of course, we got all excited.
LaBerge: Was it Americans who brought the chicken pox in?
Kay: Yes. And Americans brought in gonorrhea, but fortunately by the
time they got there, we were able to treat that. The other
interesting thing, I thought, was that I could go on all the
ships--! used to go out in a little boat, the pilot boat, and
meet them outside and get two things. First of all, get the
clearance; second of all, make deals for fresh vegetables on the
ship. We didn't have any. But only one country would not let us
board their ship, and that was Russia. So I hadI'm trying to
think what the name of it was. Anyway, I had the right to put
everybody in quarantine unless I okayed it, so I , of course, put
the Russian ship in quarantine. They only stayed there--! guess
we had about five Russian ships in and out in eighteen months.
And they weren't very good. The British were very good.
Then most of the war ships that had been damaged in the
South Pacific came to Samoa and stayed overnight, then went on to
Hawaii. We saw an awful lot of damaged ships. One ship, I'm
trying to think of the name, had some thirty- five dead sailors on
board that they couldn't get to. They were going back to Hawaii.
LaBerge: Did you have the USO or some kind of entertainment ever, or--?
Kay: We did occasionally, when they came to entertain at the Mobile
Hospital, which was several miles away. Mrs. [Eleanor] Roosevelt
came and visited, and she wanted to go into a certain ward. They
wouldn't let her go, because that was where they had the
gonorrhea. She was determined to find out why she couldn't go in
there. But she was the only visitor from the States. They had a
couple of USD shows out there .
We had the Red Cross. The Red Cross became a problem to us.
We had a man down there, and the Red Cross provided him with a
car, and everything he needed- -food, candy. He kept the candy to
give to the natives, because he became involved with some
natives, which was quite a problem there. See, we had 3,600 men;
we had about fifteen officers at the naval station; we had five
navy nurses. I was involved in protecting the navy nurses, so
they could not go out after nine o'clock at night until six
o'clock in the morning. I didn't use marines as guarding them,
but I used what we called fita-fita guards, which was a navy--
mostly Samoans. They had, as far as I was concerned, they had
the mentality of about a twelve-year-old. You tell them to do
something, and they would follow through. So I put guards around
the navy nurses' quarters, and informed nobody goes in, nobody
goes out. And nobody went in, nobody went out, without
permission. See, what else was there?
LaBerge : So only the navy nurses had a curfew?
LaBerge: And the guys didn't?
Kay: Only the navy nurses, because as you can imagine, five white
nurses with 3,600 at the station- -there were about 36,000 marines
on the island- -there was a commandant, special commandant, for
the marines. The navy who controlled American Samoa --the
governor was the navy captain, the attorney general was a navy
man, the health officer was a navy man, who was me- -every
official in the Samoan government was navy, navy-controlled. We
all had two positions.
LaBerge: How do you think our presence there either changed or influenced
American Samoa for--
Kay: It changed completely; it helped them out. Today, It's very--
they're on their own. I went back a few years ago for the first
time, and I couldn't believe the changes, because everything that
I had seen before was gone. They have two big sardine factories
there, which weren't there before.
Incidentally, during the war, there was this Catholic school
for the natives out in one of the towns there.
LaBerge: So before that, what was the economy based on?
Kay: Very bad. They--
LaBerge: You were saying the economy was based on the naval station.
Kay: Naval station, and a root called taro and some oils that they got
from taro. But the highest -paid people were the navy people.
They were paid at about a seaman first class, which was about $50
LaBerge: Were these Samoans?
Kay: Samoans, all Samoans. They had beautiful outfits, and when the
cruise ships used to come in before the war, these people put on
dances and uniforms and all this. Of course, during the war,
there were no cruise ships. They were the guards we used. We
didn't trust the marines.
LaBerge: Why didn't you trust the marines?
Kay: They sometimes didn't follow orders.
Living Quarters and Climate
Kay: We were down there in the heat and so forth- -you see, it rained- -
we had 200 inches of rain a year. The humidity was 85 and the
temperature was 85. My first experience, I was there one day,
and brought a raincoat and put it on. It was raining for half an
hour, and so about the first shower there, I was wetter inside
than outside. So I no longer wore--. We used to let the rain
rain, and dry out right away.
Used to go to mess, we'd have to take off our shoes, our
boots and our socks and roll up our pants, because there 'd be two
feet of water. It's unbelievable, but we survived it. We lived
five officers to a house, right on the water. We had a native
who came and did all of our laundry, kept up the house. She--
there were three doctors, a dentist, and a chaplain. So she used
to ask us medical questions, and we found out that she was
treating the natives out in the bush. She'd ask us questions.
I don't know whether this is interesting, but we had nothing
to do, but we had a rule that whoever took a shower every night,
whoever got through first had to fix the drinks. We had a
Baptist minister, and we always saw that he was the first one to
get the drinks. Two drinks at home before dinner was the limit,
so if we had over two drinks, we didn't go to dinner. We'd stay
home and drink some more, [laughter]
While down in Samoa, the word came out that all doctors were
to remove all signs of being a doctor. All officers would take
off their ranks. Doctors were to be trained how to use small
arms, so the Japanese wouldn't know what they were doing. So we
used to go out and practice shooting. We all had to have at our
bedside at all times our sidearm and canteen of water. We had
two of them; I had one filled with whiskey. Because we had
I bet you became very close.
Very close, very close. The only ones I know that's living
still, one that's a pediatrician in Los Angeles, and I've seen
him; one who's an eye doctor from back East, I never see him; one
was a dentist that's living up in Vallejo. I don't know where
the others went. That would be interesting to record that.
This is just a sideline, mainly for you. This doctor, the
doctor in San Francisco where I had gone for treatment was
What was his name?
Duggan, in San Francisco. He had become very friendly with the
padre, the captain in the marines. So he used to come over, and
we had many discussions with the Baptist, padre, and myself
regarding religion, which of course is taboo in the navy and
women, but we'd stay up, go way into the morning hours. It would
be very interesting. Because the Baptists don't believe in any
alcohol at all, and we'd sit there and drink and have the
discussion. That's just a little sideline.
Kay: The most horrible thing was Tarawa. At least, we gave a party
for the doctors who were going.
LaBerge: Tell me, what was Tarawa?
Kay: Tarawa was an island in the middle of the Pacific the Japanese
had, and it was very vital for our communication between there
and China. It was well fortified, and they expected to take it
immediately, in a day. It took three weeks to take it. Some
people with us had been trained to go in after the combat troops
had taken it, but it got so bad at Tarawa that they had to go in.
Any of the doctors that were there that night were all killed.
Sad news when we heard about it. Including a classmate of mine
LaBerge: So then the U.S. did take it?
Kay: Did take it. It was an awful thing.
LaBerge: What year was that?
Kay: Forty- three. December of '43, because I went- -a couple of times,
on an inspection trip in the area. I had a chance to go to
Tarawa unofficially. There had been an order to take no trips
unofficially, but these pilots were leaving and Tarawa was about
150 miles from there. They were going to spend Christmas Eve in
there. I had nothing to do, so they said, "Do you want to take a
ride?" I said, "Sure."
We got there Christmas Eve, and the Japs came back up.
Fortunately, there was a safe place underground. Because see, I
could never say I was under fire, because I wasn't supposed to be
LaBerge: How about your mail back and forth? Was it censored?
Kay: It was censored, everything. That coming to us wasn't censored,
but everything going out was censored. When I came home, I saw
many of my letters had been cut. I could never tell my wife
where I was; I could tell her what I was doing, but could never
tell her where I was. They censored that out, along with
everything else. The censoring was being done right there,
before it left the port.
One night, we got a call, and they had five Japanese
prisoners. They were bringing them in there to stay overnight
before they went on to Hawaii. They had a doctor, and maybe he
would talk to me . I went down there to see the captive, and he
wouldn't say a word. I asked him questions, and he wouldn't say
a word. I think they were about the only five captives they had;
usually, the Japs would kill us and we'd kill them when we
captured them, bang, bang, bang. So we didn't take many
prisoners. They shot us, and we shot them. That was one of the
tales of World War II which was bad. They marched them off and
the marines would sit there and shoot at them. That's enough for
Back to Mare Island. 1944
LaBerge: So when were you sent back to the United States?
Kay: About the middle of '44. I was sent back to Mare Island, where
we did nothing but urology.
LaBerge: Did you have to put in a plea to be at Mare Island?
Kay: No. I found out in the navy, your number one choice you never
got; your number two choice, maybe; your number three, always
was. So I put Mare Island as number three.
LaBerge: Weren't you smart! What did you put for number one and two?
Kay: One, the hospital ship, and I wanted the hospital you know. I
got my hospital ship, and by then I was in Mare Island until the
war was over, in the middle of October. In September, you had to
have so many points to get out, and I was short about ten points.
I had to stay in for a while.
Then in October- -
LaBerge: This is '45?
Kay: Forty- five. October, my wife was pregnant with the second child.
In October of '45, we got word that I was being transferred to
the hospital ship. But I had two weeks leave. So at the end of
two weeks, I went down to San Francisco and reported in. The
girl there said- -you see, the war was over- -"Do you really want
to go?" So I said "No," and she said, "Step over there." So I
was out .
The hospital ship I was supposed to meet came in the day
after I was released. If I hadn't gone that day, I would have
been on this hospital ship, went to the peace treaty signing in- -
where was it, Japan--! would have been over there. Fortunately.
So I was out of active duty. We were living in Vallejo.
Where was your wife living while you were in Samoa?
She was down with her family in Los Angeles with the baby.
Trip Home by Air
LaBerge: You did a lot of moving around then, didn't you?
Kay: Yes. And on leaving Samoa, all the people I had gone with were
going first. They all left on the ship on a Tuesday morning, and
I remember I had said goodbye to them. Wednesday morning, my
orders came in, first available transportation, either air or
sea. So I took air.
Came back, and couldn't make any calls, so I arrived in San
Francisco and called my wife, and she came up the next day. She
said, "I'll be there tomorrow," forgetting that transportation
was hard. Our reunion was held in a Pullman car in San Jose. I
went down to San Jose and got her. She went on the Lark. And my
son would have nothing to do with me, for the first couple of
months. I was a stranger, and I spoiled their whole life.
Because he had been down there, and he was living with her mother
and father, sister. All those people are important to a child.
I spoiled it, and he wouldn't have anything to do with me. Took
two months before he would come to me. And it's been fine ever
LaBerge: I guess I've heard other people say the same thing, that it was a
real hard transition afterwards.
Kay: Hard for them. I came back to Mare Island, and I was there when
the war ended. The navy life is different than life that we
knew. We worked during the day, and then had the cocktail hour.
I am convinced that I drank more liquor than I did the rest of my
Down in Samoa, we had to each have our drinks every night.
I'd saved up a case of scotch and a case of bourbon which
couldn't get here until the ship had. Finally got somebody on
one of the ships to bring it back. In my trip back from Samoa, I
knew when the ship was coming, so I went down. I'd seen the
people all off. I came and met them all when they got off the
ship. [laughter] They looked at me, and said how the hell did I
do that? But I was there.
In the navy, you go by rank. I was the medical officer for
the area with two stripes. Mobile 3 had a regular navy captain
with four stripes, but he was under me. That aggravated him no
end, how could a two-stripe be in charge. I was trying to be as
nice as I could, but he got very upset with me. He wouldn't talk
to me, so 1 got an order for some doctors who were needed
someplace else, so I assigned all his doctors over that were
under him. He became quite friendly, as you can imagine.
So the day that I left Samoa, he was going, too. He was
going down to New Zealand, and I was going--! didn't know about
it--l was going to New Zealand, had a chance to be on that plane.
I could go down there first before I went home, check out New
Zealand. The transportation officer said, "You know, Captain So-
and-So is going to be on that plane." I said, "Thank you. I'll
go back to Hawaii." Took us two days to go from Samoa by air to
LaBerge: So you never went to New Zealand?
Kay: No. And then Hawaii --it was twelve hours by air, twelve hours.
I slept on the mail sacks, it was a mail plane.
Boy, talking about Red Cross, this guy down there did all
these natives, gave them candy and everything, and then he got
sick. He had to come in to the clinic in to me, and I told him I
needed some special candy- -he had a cirrhosis and needed sugar.
So I got plenty of candy, and when I had previously asked for
candy, he never had it. So I got a lot of it after he was sick.
So I said, "Okay, finally take this, and you're going to be
shipped back to the States tomorrow." He said, "You can't do
that. " So he went.
Building Hospital on Samoa and Sailing
Kay: While in Samoa, after the marines had left, they all moved out,
and they left a lot of stuff behind, and we found it. I built a
new hospital there for the base, built a thirty- five -bed
hospital. I thought it was pretty good, well designed. When I
went back now, it was gone. But at that time, we used it. It
was quite a hospital, thirty- five beds. I had a lot of fun with
planning that, I planned it the way I wanted to.
LaBerge: And what would you do to get--?
Kay: There was enough equipment on the island that the marines had
left, that we were able to do this. Everything brand new.
LaBerge: And you just got regular navy guys to build it?
Kay: Yes. They had a battalion down there of seabees, assigned to the
station, and they did it. For recreation, I learned how to sail
a ship, sail a yacht. See, when the war broke, all the navy had
to be out of sight. They sunk them all. After Tarawa, we had
nothing to do. We had some kind of divers that went down and
brought them up. So I got hold of a forty- foot sailboat and had
it all fixed up. I was planning to ship it home, but when I got
out, I left it there.
LaBerge: Have you sailed since you've been back here?
Kay: Yes. We sailed down there. I learned how to sail, learned how
to do all that. That last six months was sort of like
recreation, we had nothing to do. Except every week, a tanker of
oil came in, because we could assign their gas, that's where they
unloaded, to be shipped down further. I don't know how many
millions of gallons of gas were left there. Because somebody in
Washington forgot to shut off the supply, and we just came and
put it out in the boondocks. I've often wondered what happened
We had an air station, air field- -five airplanes could take
off at the same time. This was how important it was. That's
where a lot of navy planes came and landed. I don't think people
here realize how important American Samoa was.
LaBerge: I'm sure they don't.
Kay: Because it was really the only post we had. The nicest ships
that came in were the British. They would have us aboard for
rum. We had them all- -French, Italians- -not Russians. All of
our Allies were there. British, French, Russian. I used to go
out and quarantine- -now, that's what, I was the quarantine
LaBerge: Okay, that was the name of it.
Kay: I went out on board with the pilot just like--
LaBerge: In the movies?
Kay: Have you ever been on a cruise ship?
Kay: Well, the pilot boat goes to the ship to bring it in. That
became quite an experience. I always went to the mess officer to
see what vegetables- -we had no fresh vegetables, no fresh fruit.
We had bananas, and papayas. But no milk. There would be a
deal, we could make it. It was very interesting. I learned that
the navy is run by its petty officers , warrant officers , not by
the officers. That was my experience in the navy.
Naval Reserves for Twenty-eight Years
LaBerge: Well then, since we're talking about the navy, you stayed in the
navy as a reserve officer.
Kay: Stayed in as a reserve officer. I was in for a total of twenty-
eight years. In the navy, we had made arrangements to have a
unit stationed at Peralta Hospital, so we met there. We would
meet there thirty- five times a year to get credit. We had a
meeting from twelve to two once a week. Then we had a unit at
Alta Bates, and then when the Korean War came, they took a lot of
our officers away. By now, I was a captain in the navy. My
advancement came very quickly. I was lieutenant commander senior
grade, then I became a commander in six months, and then became a
captain. In other words, I caught up--
LaBerge: With where you should have been?
Kay: Yes. In the navy, they put up what they call "all nav
promotion," and they took a whole group of people up from one
date to another, and they advanced them one rank. I was never in
that. But I always got my promotions by appointments. In other
words, I was named in every promotion.
LaBerge: What was the other thing called, where the whole group--?
Kay: All navs . All nav.
LaBerge: So then when you retired, were you still a captain?
Kay: Yes. I retired after twenty-eight years of duty. First of all,
you don't get paid after twenty- six years. And secondly, they
were making one naval captain an admiral each year, and I was up
for admiral in about 300 years.
LaBerge: In 300 years? Oh, well why- - [laughs]
Kay: So I dropped it. The last two years in the navy, in this unit, I
was the commanding officer, and I went back to Great Lakes
Training Station for a week. They gave us a course back there on
how to use nuclear weapons- -and I had a week there. We lived in
the bachelor's quarters. The second floor was reserved for women
officers. We never stopped at the second floor. That was new to
us, because in our day, bachelor's quarters were for men only.
Women lived on the second floor and we lived on the third and
fourth floor. Again, I am sorry, but I sleepwalk. So that's the
LaBerge: That's been an interesting experience.
Kay: Anybody that gets into the navy, if they possibly can, should
stay in the reserves. It's very useful now.
LaBerge: Because you get a retirement pension?
Kay: Yes, it's very nice.
LaBerge: And that wasn't too bad, to have a meeting once a week?
Kay: In the army, you had to go away for two weeks.
LaBerge: Yes, in the summer or something.
Kay: In the navy, you did, too. But not while we had units. One in
Oakland at Peralta, and the other one that was Alta Bates.
LaBerge: Doesn't the air force reserve- -don' t they have to go away too for
Kay: Yes, all of them do. But this was a special--.
LaBerge: A special deal.
Kay: So I still had a little contact in Washington.
LaBerge: I see.
Kay: His name is Nimitz.
LaBerge: Oh, that's right! He's the one you used to walk to class with.
Kay: Every day.
LaBerge: That came in very handy, very handy.
Kay: He never made arrangements for the medical units but his
assistant warrant officer could do it. After being in the navy,
you learn how.
Oak Knoll Naval Hospital. 1960
Kay: Then about that time the navy came out and they wanted to close
Oak Knoll, and move everything to San Francisco. I met with
them. I met with a group that came out for everything in Alameda
County. But the interesting thing was, there was a captain in
the hospital corps, not a doctor. He had been my petty officer,
chief petty officer, when I was in San Francisco, and doing naval
recruiting. Now he was a captain in the hospital corps, which
was very interesting. He was with this group that got stationed
here. Kind of old time --hadn't seen him all during the war, or
since the beginning of the war. Interesting. Spent three days
LaBerge: Whether Oak Knoll should stay open or not?
Kay: Kept Oak Knoll open. Explaining to them how it worked for us and
how important it was to all the area. Now I see they've closed
Before Oak Knoll was opened, there was one pathologist at
Mare Island, and he didn't go overseas. He was transferred to
Oak Knoll as a first officer there, and he had a little shed out
on the golf course that was then at Oak Knoll. Two officers
assigned. So I saw Oak Knoll from the beginning. It used to be
a beautiful golf course. People don't realize that. The
officer's club there was the clubhouse.
LaBerge: I think we've finished World War II and the navy.
Kay: I think we have.
LaBerge: Unless you think of anything else there. How about, then,
getting back to regular life and the birth of your second son?
Kay: The birth of my second son took place in Vallejo, in December of
LaBerge: And his name is?
Kay: Robert. He's a doctor.
LaBerge: He's in Cleveland, is that right?
Kay: Cleveland, Ohio, at the Cleveland Clinic
III POSTWAR PRACTICE IN UROLOGY
Finding Housing and Opening Practice
LaBerge: Did you stay in Vallejo?
Kay: No, we moved around. We wanted to go to Berkeley and find a
LaBerge: Was it difficult to find housing?
Kay: Very difficult, yes. We found a place in Piedmont to rent.
Because after all, I didn't have any money. I did have whatever
severance pay. We lived there for two years. I opened a
practice, and Dr. Meads who did my residency and let me use his
office two days a week, which started me off, he helped me.
LaBerge: What had you done with all your equipment when you closed your
office when the war started?
Kay: I gave it away, so that I didn't have too much equipment. I gave
it to this Dr. Meads, he took my stuff. He was an older man. A
fine teacher. I came back, and worked in my office and three
weeks after I was in practice, I developed dizziness, Just in
three weeks. Have you ever heard of Meuniera's disease?
LaBerge: I've heard of it. I can probably find it in the dictionary.
Kay: You're dizzy, and can't stand.
LaBerge: Was it a result of being overseas, or--?
Kay: I don't know what it was. It was a great thing to have happen
when you had your office open three weeks . So when I got over
that, then I opened my practice again in Dr. Meads' office.
LaBerge: Where was the office?
Kay: On Grand Avenue. Then I was there for about six months, and then
moved onto the hill.
LaBerge: So you were really starting from scratch.
Kay: Yes. In '44, Dr. Meads had been very active in the Western
Section of the American Urological Association, he'd been
president. During his presidency, I became a member of the
Western Section of the association.
LaBerge: Was it a prestigious thing, like did you have to be invited?
Kay: You did then, but not now. Let's see, what else. That was the
beginning of some of my interests in politics. I joined the
Alameda County Medical Association in '37. At that time, it was
Alameda County, not Contra Costa. That came later. So I joined
that in '37, before the war. In fact, the last six months before
I went to Edinburgh. And then, I practiced again in '45.
Postwar Reception from the Hospitals
The interesting thing was, which I'll never forget, is I came
down to the hospital after I was discharged, and didn't have any
civilian clothes. It was military uniforms. And they said, "So
glad to see you. How are you getting along? When are you
getting out?" I said, "I'm out." "Oh." I really had a cold
reception, never had a good welcome. It was fine, as long as I
was not going to be bothering anyone in practice.
But that you were coming, and you were going to be a rival, or
I guess so. Very interesting. I came back, and I went to the
hospitals that I had been associated with before. The only
hospital that really took me was Peralta. They said, "Give us
your phone number and address, and you're on the staff." The
other hospitals, I had to reapply.
Really. I am so surprised. I would think that anyone who had
served their country would have been welcomed back.
It was a very interesting episode to find that out.
make application to the other hospitals.
I had to
LaBerge: The last time, we ended with you coming back to Oakland after the
war, and you were telling me about rejoining the medical staffs,
and how you weren't really welcomed with open arms.
Kay: Except for one.
Kay: Peralta. That's the only one. I had to reapply to all the
others, and had to go through all the rigmarole of getting on
LaBerge: What kind of rigmarole is there?
Kay: You have to make an application, and then they decide whether
they want you on or not .
LaBerge: Can they decide no without cause?
Kay: Yes, in those days they could. One hospital in particular said
no because of my religion.
LaBerge: You're kidding! Which hospital?
Kay: Samuel Merritt.
LaBerge: You are kidding! Did you ever join later?
Kay: Yes, I did. I joined later, and became an active staff member.
But originally, that was the case.
LaBerge: I can't even believe that.
Kay: Nobody can today, but it's true. The same reason I couldn't ever
join the Claremont Country Club.
LaBerge: Did you make an application?
Kay: No. Now they take Jewish members now you can join. Couldn't
join then. It was interesting.
Kay: I got involved in Berkeley at Herrick, and was president of the
staff for about a year. I quit. Had a run-in with their
LaBerge: Why did you decide to be president in the first place?
Kay: They asked me.
LaBerge: They asked you and--
Alta Bates Hospital History
Kay: And I took it. I think one of the reasons was I was from
Berkeley originally. Although they were a little upset because
my father had saved Alta Bates- -nobody knows about that. But
Alta Bates almost went broke in '31 or '32, and my father, being
a merchant in Berkeley, got all of the creditors together and
said, "Look, let's keep this open." Alta Bates was a very small
little place. Alta Bates was there, the woman.
LaBerge: Oh, she was?
Kay: Oh, yes, I knew her very well. Creditors took [commercial] paper
for the future, and that's why Alta Bates is there today. My
father was the man behind it. But you'll never find his name
anyplace. My father served on the board for many years, he was
treasurer for many years. He was not given, at the end of his
life, the recognition he deserved. We were told that, "If you
give us $7,500, we'll have a picture of him." I said, "You've
got to be kidding." That I'll never forget. I've never quite
gotten over this.
LaBerge: For doing that. Was the hospital where it is now?
Kay: Yes. There used to be an old house and Alta Bates had the wing
of the old house --the first part of the house that was built is
gone now. They redid it, but it's all on the same spot. Where
the south edge of the hospital is, that's where she was. She had
a nursing school there. I think people have forgotten about
LaBerge: Is that how it started, the nursing school was first?
Kay: Well, the hospital was first, and then she had a nursing school.
She was a nurse-anesthetist. She was interesting. She was never
married. She adopted a boy, Charles Bates. They often wondered
how she never married and had a boy. I knew him very well. That
was Alta Bates.
LaBerge: Did they name the hospital after her because she contributed, or
because - -
Kay: It was originally named after her; the Alta Bates Nursing Home.
[Interview 3: February 3, 1994 ]##
Kay: Alta Bates Hospital started as a- -Miss Alta Bates had a little
small house, and started taking patients, I forgot the exact
date. And then she had a nursing school attached to it, because
she loved to teach. She gave anesthetics- -she was an
anesthetist. She was never married; adopted a son and a
daughter, and raised them. I don't know what's happened to them.
LaBerge: Is their last name Bates?
LaBerge: So it was well established, though, by the time you--
Kay: Oh, yes. By the time I came along, they already had the big
building, and it's now been torn down and replaced by this
present building. I became active there at the same time I
became active at Herrick. But Alta Bates was there until she
died, giving anesthetics.
LaBerge: Vas the hospital named after her because she was so active, or
did she help raise the funds?
Kay: Because she was active. She started it- -it was Alta Bates Rest
Home or something in the beginning, and they kept the name. From
'31 to '35, they almost went into bankruptcy, and I think I told
you the story of my father, went to other merchants and said to
them, "Let's take paper instead of money to keep them open." And
that's what they did.
LaBerge: You did tell me. While we're talking about the hospitals, is
there a different philosophy at the different hospitals you
were- -because you really went to a lot, when I look at this list.
Kay: Well, there wasn't too much- -Herrick, of course, was a different
type of hospital at the time. It took everybody, and standards
were high, but not as high as the others. Alta Bates was very
Establishing Residency Program in Urology at Highland
Kay: Well, you had to have good standing in your profession. That's
what I mean. Recognized well by your associates. Feral ta,
Providence, and Merritt were top-grade. I was president of
Highland Hospital medical staff, which was the county hospital.
I worked out there some twenty-five years, started a residency
program at Highland in urology, which went on for about twenty
years. It was stopped because of some rulings. But there are
about eight urologists in the area who were trained there.
LaBerge: How would you go about starting a residency program?
Kay: You had to get approval from the American Board of Urology. When
they gave your approval, you had to get your program together,
how many years you were going to do this, this, and this. How
much clinical work, how much practical work, how much research,
how much anatomy. And when you got all that together, then you
presented it to the American Board of Urology, who accepted or
didn't accept it. And they accepted it.
At that time. Highland had a lot of residencies, which I
don't think they have now. They had several departments.
LaBerge : So how many other doctors did you need on the staff to do that?
Just to do the urology residency?
Kay : We had nine .
LaBerge: Because when you started, you were one of the few urologists,
isn't that right?
Kay: When I first started in practice, I was one of seven in the whole
area. There are now forty- three.
LaBerge: That's still not a big number, is it?
Providence Hospital Nurses and UCSF
LaBerge: You also taught at Providence Hospital?
Kay: Taught nurses at Providence Hospital for about ten years. Taught
them about urology.
LaBerge: And what else- -UCSF?
Kay: For three years, when I first started, I went over and taught as
a- -I don't know what they call them, assistant something.
Because of the traffic, I quit.
LaBerge: Were you teaching nurses there, or medical students?
Kay: Medical students and fellows, residents.
LaBerge: Did you like that part of your career, of teaching?
Kay: Very much so.
LaBerge: So when it says that you interned at Alameda County Hospitals, it
didn't mean Highland?
Kay: Yes, that's Highland.
LaBerge: Just Highland, okay.
Kay: That's it. Well, Highland and Fairmount were the two of them
together. As an intern, you spent three months out at Fairmount,
and nine months at Highland. When you're a resident, you spent
all the time at Highland. While at Highland, I had served in the
emergency department under "Brick Muller," who was an alumnus of
California. I don't know whether you know the name or not.
LaBerge: No, I don't.
Kay: He was a famous end for the University of California football
team, I think their first All-American for the University of
LaBerge: Do you know about what year that he was--?
Kay: He was in '21 or '22.
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IV ACTIVITIES IN VARIOUS MEDICAL ASSOCIATIONS
Alameda County Medical Association and Kaiser Doctors
LaBerge: Okay, I can look it up. When you decided to go into urology in
the first place, how did you decide, for instance, to go into
solo practice rather than joining Kaiser or joining a group?
Kay: We didn't have groups. I didn't join Kaiser, you'll see in
there, Kaiser was not well accepted. During my presidency, I got
Kaiser members to join the association. That was quite a thing,
and I got a very nice letter in there [pointing to scrapbook]
from Kaiser talking about how nice I was.
LaBerge: Join the urological association, or join which?
Kay: County Medical.
LaBerge: Oh, they weren't members of the County Medical?
Kay: They wouldn't elect them. I became president and made some
LaBerge: That sounds almost like the way we used to think of osteopaths.
Kay: Of course, we thought of osteopaths that way until- -I'm trying to
think when it was; I was in the House of Delegates of the
California Medical Association when we decided to give them their
M.D.s and accept them. Then I had the job of deciding who in
Alameda County should become an M.D. All the osteopaths here but
one got their M.D. immediately. One person jumped the gun, said
he was an M.D. about three months before we accepted them, so we
postponed him for many years. That's a little issue, as
president of the ACCMA.
When I joined the County Medical, it was only Alameda County
Medical then. Years later, we joined with Contra Costa County.
Let's see, what else? We used to have monthly meetings of the
County Medical where you discussed cases, where you discussed
practice of medicine. But the association got so big that they
only have an annual meeting [now], and discuss nothing medical,
just social, and all of the business of the association is taken
care of by committee.
LaBerge: Are you required to join?
Kay: You were then. You're not now, but you were required then to
join hospital staffs, and you had to be a member of the County
LaBerge: I was wondering if it was something like the California Bar, that
you have to be a member.
Kay: No. But the hospitals wouldn't accept you. I don't know whether
they do now. You had to have County Medical membership. And if
you belonged to the County, you didn't necessarily belong to the
State, but eventually it became if you belonged to the County,
you had to belong to the State Medical.
LaBerge: How did you get involved sort of in politics in these different
associations? What motivated you to do that?
Kay: I don't know. Well, I think actually--! shouldn't say that one
of the motivations was because of my religion, but no member of
my religion had been active in any of these organizations. I
just wanted to prove that we were no different than the rest. I
guess that was the beginning of it. See, I was the first Jewish
president of all these things, first one in the state off ices- -
no, I wasn't the first in the state offices; I was the second
California Medical Association
But once I got started, the County Medical, if you were on the
board of the County Medical, you automatically became a member of
the House of Delegates of the State Association.
Which is called the California Medical Association?
Okay, I'm looking at these dates here.
What did the House of
Kay: They're the ones, the governing body, of the state, and they
decide what politics and so forth. They also had a section of
scientific, so that at all the conventions, there was always a
scientific meeting associated with it. New cases, new ideas, new
drugs, new everything, were presented.
LaBerge: Did the California Medical Association have an ethics review
board or something like that, too?
LaBerge: So were you involved in that?
Kay: When I was chairman of the council, I was. Not until then.
LaBerge: So would you be involved in setting up the programs, and--?
Kay: Yes. It was interesting. In the California Medical Association,
you have the House of Delegates, and then you have your officers.
The president is the selected- -the president of the California
Medical Association is sort of the titular head. He does public
relations. The council, which is about fifteen members, had a
chairman, and they ran the business part, ran everything in the
California Medical Association.
LaBerge: And you were chairman in 1968?
Kay: Yes, to '71.
LaBerge: Until 1971?
Kay: Yes, '68 to '71. I was vice chairman a few years before.
LaBerge: So you actually ran the business of the--?
Kay: Yes. What we were going to do and when we were going to do it,
and set up the programs, set up the meetings. We had a meeting,
an annual meeting, and special meetings. The council would meet
LaBerge: And then the whole association would meet once a year?
LaBerge: That's a lot of meetings- -that' s a lot of time that you invested
I usually would go on Friday and Saturday.
LaBerge: Where would they be held?
Kay: Either up here in the north, or in Los Angeles.
LaBerge: So San Francisco?
Kay: San Francisco or Los Angeles.
LaBerge: So the county and the state ones were kind of interrelated in
Kay: Very well, very much so, yes.
American Medical Association
LaBerge: And what about the AMA [American Medical Association]?
Kay: The AMA is- -the California Medical Association had so many
delegates going to AMA, and I became a- -
LaBerge: It says alternate delegate.
Kay: --alternate delegate from the California Medical Association to
the AMA . And the AMA you know about I ' m sure .
Kay: It's the medical body of the United States. Used to have a big
membership; practically every doctor. Today they don't have all
of them. There are all kinds of suborganizations- -American
College of Surgeons, American College of This and American
College of That. But the AMA is still the top one. I became a
delegate, I forgot when.
LaBerge: It says 1964.
Kay: I became a delegate.
LaBerge: Or alternate delegate.
Kay: And then the delegate, I guess, was the last four years I was
LaBerge: What kinds of issues came up in those years that--?
Well, during that ' 64 time came up Medicare and we were very
opposed to it. We took up different items, laws- - [interruption]
Resolutions about how to handle this problem or that problem- -
smoking, education, schools, medical schools, new cases it was a
combination of everything.
Was one of the issues Medi-Cal or Medicaid?
No. Not when I was in there,
came towards the end.
That came later. 1 guess that
American Board of Urology
LaBerge: While you were belonging to those groups, were you also a member
of the American Board of Urology and--?
Kay: I was on the American Board; I became a member of it by taking an
examination in '47, I think it was. That was an experience. You
had to have fifty cases, twenty-five major and twenty-five minor,
write up the history, present it to them, and then you went back
to Chicago for an oral examination, and then they decided whether
to make you a member of the American Board.
LaBerge: So this was after the war?
Kay: After the war, '47. I had all these cases typed up, had them
review them, dictated them to somebody. And then went back, and
spent three days in Chicago. One day was spent in pathology
examination, one day in oral examination, and one day just
getting out of there.
LaBerge: Did you find out right away whether you passed or not?
Kay: Yes. Well, they didn't say you passed, but anybody that was on
the borderline was called back for a second examination, so you
LaBerge: You didn't have to do this in order to practice, right?
Kay: No, I could practice without that, but that helped my identifying
myself as a urologist. If you don't have your board, you have
trouble getting positions at hospitals, Medicare patients etc.
American and International College of Surgeons
LaBerge: What about the American College of Surgeons and the International
College of Surgeons? Is that the same kind of thing?
Kay: No, two different things, joined the American College- -became a
fellow of the American College of Surgeons. I became a fellow
[looking at wall] it's right here.
LaBerge: Okay, 1947.
LaBerge: So did you have to make application--?
Kay: You make application and present why you should be a member of
it, and then they accept you. American College of Surgeons was
sort of an adjunct to the American Medical Association that
specialized on people doing surgery. And in urology, you do
surgery. And then, I got interested in the International College
of Surgeons, if you went overseas or anything, they were
connected with overseas associations. Very good thing. I was on
their board for about a year.
LaBerge: Okay, because it says on here that you were the past regent.
Kay: Yes, that's the regent for this area.
LaBerge: Would you get new information from other countries, what other
people were doing?
Kay: That's right, from the International College of Surgeons. Today,
the American College of Surgeons has become more international,
so I haven't heard much about the International College of
Uroloeical Associations: Northern California. Western Section.
LaBerge: Well, then we have these different urological- -we've got Northern
California Urological, Western Section, and American.
Kay: All right. Northern California Urological was established in
Oakland. For about ten years, the urologists in Oakland used to
meet every three months and invite people from San Francisco, and
they would invite people from Sacramento to come and join with
us. Interesting thing, I guess I can say it, if a program was
put on by the University of California, Stanford people didn't
go. See, Stanford was in San Francisco. If Stanford put on a
program, UC people didn't go. We would go to both. So we
decided to have the meetings over here, we invited them. And
that's when we started the Northern California Urological
LaBerge: Were you one of the founding members?
Kay: I guess so, yes. And eventually I became president of that.
LaBerge: Well, it says president, 1962.
Kay: That's right. So it started about, I'd say around '58.
LaBerge: And I assume the purpose of that was to keep up on what was new?
Kay: What was happening in the area here, and what was new in the
area. It is still going, and what we do there is if people bring
interesting x-ray cases there, for an hour they have what they
call an x-ray conference. Then they usually have an outstanding
speaker, and then they have dinner. It's usually held in San
Francisco. And it became very active because Stanford and
California people were taking part in it, and became members of
it. It was sort of bringing everybody together.
LaBerge: It sounds like you were instrumental in getting the group
together, and not keeping them so separate.
Kay: We did.
LaBerge: Now, it's interesting- -they didn't identify you as being part of
the University of California?
Kay : No .
LaBerge: You were just from Oakland.
Kay: Oakland. Oakland was a different area.
LaBerge: Do you still go to those meetings, or not?
Kay: I haven't been--I get invited every they meet every three
months. In fact, there's one this season, which is the one in
March. I don't know whether I'll go there or not. It's too much
trouble to go over there. I haven't been there for a couple of
years, but I used to go.
LaBerge: And what about the American Urological Association? Is that
something that you join just by being a urologist, or is it--?
Kay: You can, but usually it's because you're a member of the Western
Section. The Western Section is the eleven Western states. They
meet once a year presenting cases, all kinds of cases,
interesting cases. When I first started, it was presented by
individual practitioners. The last few years it's been taken
over by either southern California medical schools or San
Francisco medical schools. They sort of run a scientific
In the Western Section, I went to the American Urological
Association about the same time. I would go to the meetings of
the American Urological, which are held all over the country.
And then in- -I forgot the date there --when I became a member of
the board- -
LaBerge: It doesn't say board, but it says president, 1970.
Kay: That's of the Western Section. But I became a member of the
American Urological Board of Directors, I think, in '77--I don't
know if it's down there.
LaBerge: It isn't down there.
Kay: I was on there just for two years, I think it was '77 to '79. I
was out of practice at the time, and there were concerns about
that, because I wasn't practicing medicine, wasn't practicing
LaBerge: But then you were president of the Western Section in 1970.
Kay: President of Western Section, yes.
LaBerge: So what did that involve?
Kay: That involved running a convention.
LaBerge: And also keeping up correspondence and things like that?
Kay: Correspondence with different people, yes. The offices were in
Los Angeles, so a lot of stuff came out of L.A. and the house
office of the A.U.A. in Baltimore.
LaBerge: It sounds like you almost needed a full-time staff to keep up
with all these board associations you were on.
Kay: Yes. I had a very efficient secretary here who took care of it.
LaBerge: What was her name?
Kay: Helen Gile. She was with me for twenty- three years. She worked
with me for twenty- three years.
LaBerge: Because I imagine you had to write speeches and articles and--
Kay: Well, I was supposed to get help from the --what do you call him--
well, the executive director. Western Section was the, I guess
executive director, to help you with the California Medical
Kay: You didn't interview him, did you?
LaBerge: We were talking about Hap Hassard--! want to get this on tape. I
didn't, but Malca Chall in our office has interviewed him just in
the past year.
Kay: I know, because they presented it at the last class reunion. He
came over. I hadn't seen him in maybe five years, and he had
aged so much I didn't recognize him.
LaBerge: Was he in your class?
LaBerge: What was he involved in?
Kay: He was the lawyer and then secretary of the California Medical
Association. Quite a nationally known person.
LaBerge: So anyway, all those kinds of people helped you--
Kay: Helped me with the things, yes.
LaBerge: Tell me, how did you find the time to do all of these things
besides your practice and your family?
Kay: I just--during the whole time, my practice never suffered. If I
had to turn a patient over to another physician, I did.
Otherwise, I worked all of it, figured it out.
LaBerge: Because it involved a lot of traveling, too. Did your wife
usually go with you?
Kay: She only went to the annual meetings. She didn't go to the other
meetings. There was an organization called the Public Health
League of California, which was a big organization and it went
out of existence except for the Board of Eight. I was on that,
'71, quit it about three years ago. We had money, we turned it
over to the University of California Medical School. That was
for lobbying purposes in the state capital. Which was an
Was that the only group that you belonged to that did lobbying?
Well, that and the ACCLU [American College of Clinical
Urologists]. That was national, urology, and this was state
Testifying Before the Congressional Committee. 1974
LaBerge: So why don't we talk about some of the lobbying, including- -we
could start with the fact that you presented a speech to the
Kay: We could do that if you want to, but that was when I was
president of the ACCLU. We got interested in a couple of cases
where longtime costs to people with serious illnesses, congenital
illnesses, would cost money and people were running out of money.
We took that on to see if we could get some help for them, and
that's what I lobbied for.
LaBerge: Some federal monies for?
Kay: Yes. So it ' s- -actually used the word "universal health
insurance," which I wonder about now, but anyway, help these
people that had insurances that ran out. They were going to have
to be taken care of forever. Very difficult.
LaBerge: So I just want to say for the tape that I'm holding in my hand a
speech that Dr. Kay gave on May 23, 1974, before the Committee on
Ways and Means, United States House of Representatives. And it
says, "Regarding national health insurance."
Kay: Is that of interest?
LaBerge: Really interesting. Why don't you tell me a little bit about
that experience of appearing before the Ways and Means Committee?
Kay: Well, it was interesting in that we had to get them to print up
the speech the day before, and I was helped with that by the
secretary of the association. And then we presented it to them
twenty- four hours before you appear. And then- -
LaBerge: Then did they have it printed up after you presented--?
Kay: And then my wife was with me at that time. We went to the House
to the meeting room. I was about the fourth person to appear.
Started talking about eleven- thirty. As I finished, they didn't
ask questions, because it was lunch time. That was the end of
LaBerge: Were you relieved?
Kay: Yes. But I was all ready to answer questions. I had a past
president with me, all ready, too. You sit at a table, just as
you see on television. They sit up ahead of you. You read to
them. That was it. Lunch came along, and they left.
LaBerge: Who were some of the representatives?
Kay: I'm trying to think. The main guy- -I'm trying to bring back his
name. The chairman of the Ways and Means Committee then- -I think
he became an alcoholic. Got in trouble with alcohol after being
the head of it for some twenty years.
LaBerge: Was it one of those Southern representatives?
LaBerge: Possibly Wilbur Mills?
Kay: Representative, yes. And I can't think of the other people.
LaBerge: Besides the fact they didn't question you; otherwise, you might
have remembered them.
Kay: I would have remembered them. I just gave my speech, and then
they adjourned for lunch and didn't ask me to come back.
LaBerge: Who else gave a speech that day?
Kay: I don't know who the others were, but I was the only one from
LaBerge: But the other people were also physicians?
Kay: The other people presenting speeches? No. The others had other
problems that they were presenting to them.
LaBerge: So it didn't have anything to do with health insurance.
Kay: No. I was the only one doing it, because they handled health
insurance, Ways and Means Committee.
LaBerge: So what came of this? Nothing?
Kay: Absolutely nothing. Not even a thank you.
Thoughts on Health Insurance
LaBerge: Since we're talking about that, tell me your thoughts on health
insurance today, and what is happening.
Kay: Well, health insurance today, same thing- -universal health, but I
don't think government should be involved in it the way they're
going to be . I think the quality of medicine is going to go
down, and we're going to have a lot less doctors in medical care
and cases where it will be very poor. If [President William]
Clinton has all of his ideas.
An example- -this is just one case that would come out of the
recommendations, cystoscopy, which is one examination we do.
We've been doing it originally in our office, and they decided it
was too expensive, so then they went to a hospital, and then they
went to these surgical centers. Came out yesterday, surgical
centers can no longer do their cystoscopies , either in your
office or the hospital. Which is about double the cost of what
the surgical centers charge. These sort of things aggravate you
in a way.
And then even the regulations and bureaucracies which are
going to be established to run this thing, it's going to cost so
much money. I think it's absolutely wrong. I think we have to
look- -if they want to see how wrong it is, look at the Canadian
system, which is broke, and the English system, which is broke.
When you think you'd have to wait six months for a surgical
procedure which today you can get the next day or two, that is
not good on the mentality or on the health, and as a result, many
cases may be lost, malignancies developing, waiting six months
for treatment is not good. Pardon me.
LaBerge: No, I want to hear exactly what you have to say.
What would your
My suggestion would be less government control. I think the
insurance companies, if they wanted to, could cover everybody
without any difficulty. Having been on the board of Blue Cross
and knowing at that time what they were making, they could have
covered a lot more conditions. I think it's greed of money for
people- -for insurance companies. I shouldn't say greed, but--.
When you were running your practice, when you first started, was
there health insurance at all?
Well, there was insurance, but nothing like it is today. We
didn't have- -people paid their bills. We had to collect bills
from people, very little to do with insurance. If you had
insurance it was Social Security- -Medicare and Medicaid. I had
to hire a special person just to take care of that. That's where
the cost in medicine has gone, part of it. The paperwork is
tremendous. The hospitals are not being regulated right. The
hospitals are top-heavy with executives, and I feel that they
should be controlled better than they are. When you think an
aspirin costs five dollars.
You mean when you're a hospital patient and you get an aspirin- -
For a while, and this is some of the doings of the different
organizations I've belonged to, we requested and got that, when a
patient went to the hospital, they were given a bill right then,
that showed everything that was done. Today, they refuse to give
you that bill.
So you never
Well, they say it isn't ready to give it to you.
see what's actually spent.
So you never even get it in the mail?
We used to get a copy of everything and you could check on it. I
remember one time I ordered one thing and they charged the
patient for ten of them. You go back and tell them, show them
where they were wrong. This doesn't occur today. And that's one
of the problems of medicine, as far as I'm concerned.
In the offices, every effort is made to get as much out of
the insurance companies and Social Security and all those things,
and Medicare, to make up for these differences, regulations.
When you were on the staffs of different hospitals, was there
anything- -did you have a say in any of that, how--?
Kay: Well, we did have a say. We had a say about giving the patients
or not giving them medications, but we tried a lot of things.
But the administrators were pretty strong. I'm trying to think- -
the Hill-Burton Act came out. It's an old act. They were giving
money to hospitals for enlargement and things like that. I had
an idea, and I went to all the three hospital boards and
presented it, that they buy an area up on the hill [Pill Hill in
Oakland] and set up a central laboratory, central x-ray, central
emergency. Each hospital board turned it down, because it would
take away from them. But it would have saved a lot of money. I
found out afterwards- -I was furious about that --they don't want
to save money.
LaBerge: Was this the three hospitals that are on the hill?
Kay: Yes. That was central everything, just one. Hill-Burton would
have built it. I went to those three boards and presented it.
They didn't want to lose their own identity, because it would
mean that they wouldn't have these departments, which they could
make so much money off of. And their own pharmacy- -they wanted
pharmacies. In other words, it would be a central building to
those three hospitals. Now all three hospitals are together.
LaBerge: Now it's happening by--
Kay: I guess--
LaBerge: Because they couldn't survive alone, I guess. Is that right?
Kay: That's right. Peralta went out, Providence- -Providence could
have, because they have a strong backing. They saw the
competitors joining, and they joined. And now it's confusion on
the hill [now called Summit Medical Center] .
LaBerge: Have you gotten involved at all in Summit Medical Center, how
that's come about or not?
Kay: I was already out of practice.
LaBerge: Any other incidents like that, where you had an idea, where you
saw something that could be done, and--?
Kay: No, I guess that was the best one to give as an example. Where
are we now?
LaBerge: We're just sort of in these professional associations, and we
haven't talked about the Blue Cross board yet, which isn't really
a professional, so--. And we've mentioned every one here so far,
all having to do with medicine.
Kay: All right.
LaBerge: But you might have something else to say, like about being
president of any of these boards, or any more lobbying type
Kay: No, I have nothing. They were interesting; we traveled all over
the country for them. Hawaii. Conventions in Hawaii,
conventions in New York, conventions in Florida, conventions in
Chicago, New Orleans, St. Louis.
LaBerge: And Mrs. Kay went along with you? Would you make a trip out of
Kay: We made a trip out of it. Usually, we would take a few days
afterwards. I would pay the organizations and the hotels so I
took her along.
V SIDELIGHTS TO MEDICAL PRACTICE AND COMMUNITY SERVICE
Blue Cross Board
LaBerge: How about, why don't you tell me about being on the Blue Cross
board, and how you were invited- -
Kay: Well, I was invited on to it by a colleague who was interested in
it. We used to meet every month. It was a very interesting
thing. There were five doctors and ten businessmen, I was three
years on the board. Blue Cross was established by the insurance
company, nonprofit insurance company. Originally, it was
established just for hospitals. Toward the end, it became
involved with doctors. It was started in 1936 here in Oakland by
a doctor who built up quite an organization. Today they're
We had several --we had to keep a reserve in case there were
any catastrophes. But in addition to that, they only had a 7 to
9 percent overhead. As a result, they were able to save a lot of
money, had a lot of property. That was good reserve. The
president then, after I quit, the president decided that the
executive director was removed, or the CEO. They have a new man
who has different ideas. They've lost a lot of property. We had
the building downtown, but they moved to the headquarters to Los
LaBerge: Building downtown Oakland or San Francisco?
Kay: Oakland. It was all here in Oakland.
LaBerge: So this was the national headquarters, then?
Kay: Yes. Well, Blue Cross of California. There's Blue Cross of
every state, and a national headquarters that's back East
someplace. Every state has a Blue Cross, but it started here in
LaBerge: Okay. And what was the relationship between Blue Cross and Blue
Kay: Now, Blue Shield was an outgrowth of the California Medical
Association. They were primarily for doctors, and then they went
to hospitals. They were originally sort of an arm of the
California Medical Association. I got into trouble, because I
didn't spend much time on them. When I was chairman of the
council, I didn't look up to them. So I never got along with
them. I didn't feel that they were doing things quite right. So
I never got along with Blue Shield. Actually, I was on the board
of Blue Cross. In many states, Blue Cross and Blue Shield are
LaBerge: That's what I thought.
Kay: But in California, they're separate. They wanted to make it
together, and they came to us . I remember making a speech, and I
said, "You know, you're like a rowboat coming to a big ship,
trying to equal and be a big ship. We're the bigger one. We
don't have to think about it all." So when I said it, I got a
phone call the next day, "Please come over to Blue Shield as our
guest, we want you to see everything." I got the royal
treatment, showed me everything.
LaBerge: But they're still separate, is that correct?
Kay: Yes. Separate in California. Nationally, they're together.
LaBerge: Because I remember growing up, hearing them together- -Blue
Cross/Blue Shield, like it was one thing.
Kay: Yes. But that wasn't in California. See, originally there were
Blue Shield physicians who were not a part of the hospital
LaBerge: What didn't you like that they were doing?
Kay: Oh, they were doing a lot of funny things. For example, they
were giving out lists of doctors who weren't their members,
making statements. They were cutting down on a lot of things
that they should not have done. They started cutting down on
LaBerge: For certain procedures?
Kay: Yes. Had to wait a long time to get money from them. Then they
started categorizing procedures, telling you what you could
LaBerge: So I take it you must have had patients who did have Blue Shield?
LaBerge : What was the issue or the issues when you were a member of the
Blue Cross board, or weren't there any major issues? It just
happened that it kind of fell apart later?
Kay: Fell apart after changing management. We had to have a reserve
to make investments. And we did. Issues of how much fees should
be, how much we had to pay out. For example, January and
February and March were outgoing more than we ever got in. Those
are sick months. The rest of the year wasn't too bad.
Alameda County Institutions Commissions^
LaBerge: We're going to talk about the Alameda County Institutions
Kay: The Alameda County Institutions Commission was a commission
appointed by the county board of supervisors, and the primary
thing was running health establishments under Alameda County.
For example, all the clinics, Highland Hospital, Fairmount
Hospital. It consisted of eleven members in the community. I
think it was five doctors and members of the community. We would
meet at least once a month. We ran the hospitals. Then we had a
member of the board of supervisors on there with us, and we
controlled the clinics and everything.
LaBerge: Are there clinics outside of those hospitals?
Kay: Yes, there are clinics throughout Alameda County. Free clinics.
LaBerge: Oh, like the Berkeley Free Clinic?
LaBerge: I didn't realize there was anything, for instance, besides the
Berkeley Free Clinic.
Kay: There's one in Oakland, in east Oakland, one in San Leandro. And
it was a great group, we had a lot of problems there. One of the
greatest problems was collecting money from people who used the
hospital and were billed and never paid. We would find that
there was about $1 million a month that wasn't collected. We
recommended that they put the collection, they have a cashier and
have people pay as they left, but the board didn't approve it.
See, we were- -we made suggestions and recommendations, and they
had to be passed by the board of supervisors . That was quite a
And then I guess I was on that for around eleven years.
Then the board of supervisors decided to do away with the
commission, they would be the ones who ran everything.
LaBerge: And it went downhill?
Kay: [motioning downhill]
LaBerge: Because the county was picking up the tab for all that?
LaBerge: How were you appointed to the board?
Kay: By a county supervisor. It was appointed by county supervisors.
LaBerge: For instance, would he have chosen you because you were active in
the medical association?
Kay: Yes. My associations with others, and also I knew him.
LaBerge: What was his name?
Kay: From Alameda. He was on the board for a long time. I can see
him, but I can't get the name to you.
LaBerge: Did you serve with any other interesting people?
Kay: They were all interesting. I can't remember their names; there
were a couple of doctors, but I can't remember their names. But
the other people, one was Ben Aiken.
LaBerge: I've heard that name.
Kay: He was on the board. Paul Sampson was a doctor who was on that.
I can see him, but I can't think of the name of this guy.
LaBerge: That's fine.
LaBerge: Tom Bates?
Kay: Tom Bates was on it. He never cane; he sent his assistant. He
cane to a couple of neetings, but he sent his assistant the rest
of the tines. With long hair.
Alameda County Mental Health Commission
LaBerge: What about the Alaneda County Mental Health Commission?
Kay: That was just a sideline. That was about every three months, one
meeting. I was on there for about two years. That cane as a
result of my being on the board of Alameda County Institutions
LaBerge: What kind of things did you do on that?
Kay: They discussed- -a lot of discussion about mental health, about
change in practice, needing more hospital beds. The county did
not come through and the governor changed his mind.
LaBerge: Meaning Governor [Ronald] Reagan?
Kay: Yes. That was his idea. How to take care of them. Making
arrangements for them through the county funds.
LaBerge: Did you encounter in your practice, people who needed mental
Kay: No. Never in my practice. I was just on this committee. I was
on it a couple of years. I'm trying to think of the name of the
person on the board there, who was mayor of Hayward. And now
there's another member who is on the board of supervisors now,
which is very interesting. She served. There were about three
men and about five women. All right? That was a minor thing.
Emergency Medical Services for Alameda and Contra Costa Counties
LaBerge: Okay, that was a minor thing. What about, then, the Emergency
Medical Services for Alameda and Contra Costa Counties?
Kay: Well, that's why I got this whole thing together [resume]. Is
there a date on it?
LaBerge: No, but you said it was after the date of this resume, which was
1982. So after 1982, I'm guessing?
Kay: Earlier than that. It was about '79. It was a joint powers
commission formed by Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, federally
financed every year to work out a two-county emergency service,
emergency medical service. I was the medical director for it.
LaBerge: Was this after you retired?
Kay: Yes. And we first met, the first year we were with Alameda
County out at Fairmount [Hospital], had an office. I had one
assistant, one nurse who was my assistant. And then we got
bigger. We got a new director- -the fellow that was directing was
part-time directing Alameda County. A guy came in from
Pennsylvania, and he was there two years, and we ran out of
money. But we established principles and fundamentals for the
emergency medicine for the two counties. And they have followed
them ever since.
That was my first real experience with the federal
bureaucracy. How to write reports to get money, whether you need
it or not.
LaBerge: You mean if you write it correctly and you don't need it, you can
still get it?
Kay: Yes. The guy that was the head of this thing was very efficient
LaBerge: What was his name?
Kay: I forget. I took him out of my mind, I was so mad at him. At
the very end, I pushed--.
Kay: Had to do with disbandment of this organization because of this
fellow, I'll think of his name. Because he would ask me
something, and I would disagree with him, and he would go over my
head and do it anyway. He would put in a request, "Approved by
the Alameda -Contra Costa County Medical Association." Had to get
an endorsement from them. He wrote up the paper to get the
money, and put in that he had had approval, but I knew he hadn't.
He irritated me, so I went out to the county one night and I
told them not to approve it. They didn't get the approval from
the medical association and didn't get any more money. He worked
out- -had an office, had an elaborate office in the Kaiser
building down there- -the MacArthur/Broadway building. He had a
very nice suite of offices there, everything was paid for. He
had [counting] five people working in there. He hired his
girlfriend as a secretary, which was not right, because he was
supposed to open it up for everybody. I called attention to it
after a year, so they opened it up.
But this was the sort of thing that bothered me . His
American Express card was paid for out of this, and he took
vacations and had the thing paid for. He's now down in Ventura
County, I'm trying to think of his name. That's my Emergency
Medical Service. I'm still on the Emergency Medical Committee
for the county. They call it an overall committee, and it's sort
of the committee to approve everything. I'm still on that; I
don't know how much longer I'll be on it.
LaBerge : How often do you meet?
Kay: Every three months. I've missed the last two meetings.
LaBerge: For instance, do you send out these principles to each hospital
in the area, like to Alta Bates, for instance, and make them
abide by it?
Kay: They have to abide by it. And to the ambulances, and to the fire
department. All this, they're controlled by certain rules that
are established. Recently, one's gone out: do not resuscitate a
patient if the family does not approve. And then the training of
the paramedics, went through all emergency principles. Made
several trips on that. One to Kansas City, one to Minneapolis,
one to Seattle, to study their systems. If you ever want a heart
attack, have it in Seattle.
LaBerge: Oh, okay. [laughs] That's good to know.
Kay: One of the best treatment centers for heart attacks. Outstanding
emergency services and care.
LaBerge: In your practice, did you have a lot of emergencies, or not? I
would think not.
Kay: Not too many. Occasionally, somebody would start bleeding. That
was an emergency. Or post-operative bleeding. But not too many.
LaBerge: So you didn't get a lot of calls at night or--? [Nods "no."]
Kay: In the last few years, the nurses have changed and we had a lot
of foreign nurses. So I used to have to stop in the hospitals
and check how they were doing. You talk to them, and they say,
"Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes." And you don't know if they
understand. After a couple of experiences of trying, made a rule
that I would stop in the hospital before I cane home, because
there were chances that they were not following instructions.
And this is at every hospital where you had patients?
lot of traveling around.
Just to check to see if they were all right. I used to call in,
and I'd get these yeses. The next morning, I'd find the yeses
should have been no. Funny that way.
That's very commendable. I'd like to be one of your patients.
No, you wouldn't. Not now.
Why did you decide to retire when you did?
still in good health, it sounds like?
Because were you
No. I was in good health, but I had a hip replacement in 1976.
They promised me that I'd be out and back to practice in two
months, and at the end of nine months, I was still not well. So
I decided with a solo practice, going back after being out nine
months was not worth it. So I quit. I had a man in the office
who took my practice; I sold it. He's still in it, and is doing
What's his name?
His name is Robert Safran. That was seventeen years ago.
Wow. Well, you have kept so busy, though, with all of these
different boards, it looks like.
Alameda County Blood Bank and Related Issues
Kay: Yes. And then I went into- -I guess I was eleven years at the
LaBerge: I'd like to hear about that. How are we doing timewise? Would
you like to stop and pick up later?
Kay: I don't care, I'm not going anyplace.
LaBerge: Okay. And you're not too tired?
Kay : No .
Kay: During the blood bank, that's several years ago.
LaBerge: I've got 1982 to 1993 for the Blood Bank.
Kay: January 1 of '93. They fired us. It seems --
LaBerge: They fired you from your volunteer position?
LaBerge: No, it wasn't volunteer?
Kay: You had to ask that question!
LaBerge: I'm sorry! [laughs]
Kay: There were five of us retired doctors, and we used to go out on
what they call the mobiles.
LaBerge: Those big buses or whatever?
Kay: Well, not the big bus; they're separate. Go out to the different
schools, different agencies, different places that have drives,
and we would be there because it was required that a doctor be
present. That was very interesting, because I went to many
schools throughout the county.
LaBerge: High schools?
Kay: High schools and colleges. We went to the university at least
maybe twice a semester. Mt . Diablo [Diablo Valley College], the
state college. That is a beautiful college. Ohlone down at
Mission San Jose. And then all the different high schools. And
it was interesting, because you got to see people, got to know
Then we started, I guess about four years ago- -I was out for
a while, and when I came back, I couldn't go on the mobiles. I
was in the center. They always had a doctor in the center all
day long. That was interesting, because you got to see people,
got to know people.
LaBerge: Would you be called to talk--
Kay: Talk to people when there were problems, talk to them when the
nurses found problems, when there were questions of whether they
were eligible or not, we were the ones who made the decision.
LaBerge: I know a couple of times that I went and my blood count was down,
I couldn't give. They always asked me, did I want to see a
Kay: Ask to talk about why it was down. We used to talk to people.
Then in October '92, they changed directors. The new director
came in, and she wants to run the whole thing. She's there
alone; did away with all the doctors.
LaBerge: Is she a doctor?
Kay: Yes, from San Francisco. So she's running it alone.
LaBerge: And she's the only doctor? And no doctor goes out on the mobile
units? And that's not a regulation?
Kay: I thought it was, but it isn't now. The mobiles don't go out as
much as they did. I don't know why. See, they set up centers,
more centers, satellite centers all over.
LaBerge: I didn't realize that.
Kay: There's one down in Union City, there's one over in Pleasant
Hill, and where is the other one? Martinez, I think.
LaBerge: Who is the new director? You don't want to mention it? Who is
the old director?
Kay: Sylvia Hoag is the old one.
LaBerge: How did you get involved in that in the first place?
Kay: Well, I had nothing to do, and I asked the executive director- -
not Sylvia, but it was run by the county. And of course, having
been president, asked how about a job?. So they gave it to me.
There were several before all this that had done this job. Six
or eight doctors I have worked with have died.
LaBerge: It sounds like a great job for someone who's retired.
Kay: It was excellent. Kept us on our toes, because we had to keep up
on everything. And we went through the AIDS thing.
Unfortunately, at the beginning of the AIDS it came out that
people got AIDS by donating blood. Now, somebody made that up.
We had a couple of cases that occurred in '83 and '84 when people
sued, because then we had AIDS but we did not have the tests
then. Today, the blood that you get from the blood banks is
about 99 and 99/100 percent pure. A lot of people want to see if
they can give their own blood, so they come in and give blood for
two or three weeks until they have enough. I get blood
transfusions every three weeks, and I have no questions. Because
I know all blood is tested.
LaBerge: I know when I've given blood, you get a little questionnaire
Kay: Asks all the questions.
LaBerge: You can say yes or no, in case you didn't want anyone to know you
maybe had AIDS .
Kay: That's right, afterwards, yes.
LaBerge: But do they still--?
Kay: They still do that.
LaBerge: Then do they still test that blood?
LaBerge: Even if you said, "Yes, I'm fine"?
Kay: Yes. They test it all the way through. Every bit of blood is
LaBerge: So when did the blood bank start doing these tests routinely?
Kay: Routinely, '85. And then they've increased the tests as they
came out. You're tested for everything.
LaBerge: Because you worked there, were you involved in any of the
controversy, or was there another board that dealt with all of
Kay: There's a board, the blood bank board. We were just working. We
I'm even more interested because somebody we think we're going to
interview is Bernice Hemphill.
Hemphill, from San Francisco.
Irwin Memorial Blood Bank which is different from us.
problems; they had real problems.
Did you have anything to do with other blood banks?
Well, we are a member of the American Association of Blood Banks.
I won't give you the name. Because you'll go tell her.
No, I won't tell her.
But I might have more questions to ask
The one thing that got me was before she came, she put in a fish
tank in her office, a tremendous fish tank, which- -she loves
fish, exotic fish. That, to me, was a tip-off. If you have to
have a fish tank before you come to work--.
Just off the cuff, what kind of problems did Irwin Blood Bank
have that you didn't have?
Well, the AIDS deal. They had a lot more people who had AIDS who
tried to give blood, and try to get by with it. That was their
problem. Here the doctors made the decisions. Now, the nurses
are making the decisions. And that's what they were doing in San
Francisco all the time.
I see. So you don't think- -there isn't some regulation from the
American Association of Blood Banks?
I don't think so. I don't know,
apparently it's been dropped.
I thought there was , but
What's the difference between these blood banks, for instance,
and the Red Cross?
Separate units. Pardon me --the Red Cross at times hasn't had the
same standards as the American Association. I don't know if you
know too much about the problem, but now they're getting into
line. They're better. We had no American Red Cross in this
county, San Francisco, Contra Costa County. They had it in San
Jose and Santa Clara Counties. We interchange, but not as freely
as we interchange with the American Association of Blood Banks.
LaBerge: Meaning that you have credit at one blood bank and go to another
Kay: We don't have interchange with American Red Cross.
LaBerge: You mean you don't interchange with the American Red Cross?
LaBerge: Apparently, what I know about Mrs. Hemphill is that she was
instrumental years ago in getting that--
Kay: She had it in San Francisco. She was a nurse, and she was the
first one to get this started. She --they mention her name as
sort of the flag of American Association of Blood Banks. Is she
LaBerge: You know, I don't know. We aren't doing her because of any Cal
connection. I don't think that she is.
You know, you've had such a wide variety in your career, not
just limited to your specialty. It must make it interesting.
Kay: It was very interesting, all those things I did outside of it. I
gave up being active in urology because of my son. We had a
doctor who used to come to all these meetings, and when he got
older he just sat and did nothing. He was ninety-some years old
when he died. But he came up to the last minute to the meetings.
My son said, "Don't you be a so-and-so," the name of the doctor,
"and go to these meetings."
LaBerge: Had your son been to these meetings, so he knew this?
Kay: Yes, he noticed that. He knew this older doctor as my son had
presented a paper and was given first prize for an outstanding
paper, given by people who were out in practice.
LaBerge: What was the paper on?
Kay: I don't remember.
LaBerge: But this is your son who is the doctor?
Kay: Yes. It was a medical paper.
Sugar Cubes for Polio Prevention
LaBerge: Are you in a mood to talk about the polio epidemic and your
involvement with the sugar cubes?
Kay: Sure. That's when I was president of the association. We got
together with San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara, and we
picked out a Sunday that we were going to present for twenty- five
cents, or if you couldn't afford it, free, cubes of sugar with
the polio, and then we had Polio Sunday.
LaBerge: Do you know what year this was? I'll Just look it up.
Kay: I think it was '63, '62 or '63. I remember going to all the
centers, as many as I could make, but they made sure everything
was going all right. Very successful. We did about 90 percent
of the people .
LaBerge: So you went to almost all the centers, adults and children.
Kay: On that Sunday, yes. To see if everything was in place and was
working right. It was very successful. There were a lot of
volunteers who acted at the centers. We gave people a sugar cube
with the vaccine in it and they ate it and that was it.
As you know, it's kept polio out of circulation.
LaBerge: It sure has. And I know later, when my children were babies,
anyway, there was some kind of liquid that they would squirt in
LaBerge: But even before that, I remember as a child at school lining up
to go get shots. Were you involved in that before--?
Kay: No. The only thing I was involved in was as an intern thing.
They had four or five kids on respirators.
LaBerge: Is that what gave you the inspiration to do this?
Kay: No. Just got the other one when they got the vaccine, it was so
cheap we decided it would be well to, as a public health thing,
just kind of to do that. And the medical association was the
leader in it. That's what medical associations should be.
Dr. Harold Kay (middle) prepares to eat a sugar cube as part of the "Knock out
Polio" program, 1964. In the background is a map of Contra Costa and Alameda
LaBerge: As opposed to being just political?
LaBerge: When you were involved in all of these professional associations,
were there any other big things like polio that you needed to
take a stand on, or--?
Kay: No, not really. Well, the biggest, as I said, was Medicare.
When we had several special meetings of the House of Delegates of
the AMA. I still remember the AMA answered it very emphatically,
yes. A spokesman rented the big hall, he sat in the middle of
it, and there was nobody else there. He gave a speech against
Medicare. It's still in my mind that he gave that, very
The thing that used to bother me is when a patient would
come, the family would bring him, drove a chauffeured car, and
he'd come in and present Medicaid and Medi-Cal for the bill. At
that time, they weren't too anxious to pay their bills. I felt
that those who can afford it were using it all up, and those who
can't afford medical care aren't getting it.
LaBerge: Now I'm thinking, do you want to talk about what you've done with
the city of Piedmont? From what I'm looking at, the things we
have left to do are your community involvement in Piedmont, and
maybe Masonic and Shrine, Rotary Club, Temple Sinai.
Kay : Okay .
LaBerge: Unless there's something I'm missing. Or we can do it another
Kay: We can do it another time.
LaBerge: Okay, why don't we do that.
California Academy of Medicine
[Interview 4: February 17, 1994 ]#//
Kay: All right. I forgot to tell you about the California Academy of
Medicine, which is made up of all branches of medicine. It meets
once a year in San Francisco on a Saturday night, and it's
formal. You have to be elected into it. I joined it in 1947.
LaBerge: How do you get elected into it?
Kay: People put your name up, and then they vote on you. They send
out a ballot with the names of the people to go into. There are
quite a few people from the East Bay, San Francisco, and
throughout the northern part of California.
LaBerge: For instance, what would be a reason someone wouldn't vote for a
Kay: A local reputation. They have speakers on medicine from
throughout the country.
A very interesting thing that I think might be of interest
to you, not necessarily in the book, but for years and years,
they always had a cocktail hour, dinner, and then the speaker.
And after a couple of meetings where people fell asleep and
started snoring during the meeting, they changed the format: the
speaker first, then the drinks, then the dinner. And at most
clubs today, most meetings, you'll notice that many times the
speaker speaks first before dinner.
LaBerge: I think that's a good idea. Were your wives included in these
Kay: Wives were not included.
LaBerge: I see. How did that go over?
Kay: It was very upsetting to them, because we'd get dressed formally
without them, and on a Saturday night. It was only once a year,
LaBerge: Is that still going on?
LaBerge: Any memorable speakers you heard?
Kay: I can't remember any.
LaBerge: But the idea was it kind of kept you abreast of everything in
Kay: Of general medicine.
LaBerge: Do you remember who nominated you to belong?
Kay: Dr. Meads.
A Thank You from Kaiser Doctors
LaBerge: In your scrapbook, there were several nice letters from him to
you congratulating you on being president or--
Kay: Yes. Did you come across the letter from the- -[pause] A letter
I got from the HMO [Health Maintenance Organization] in Oakland.
LaBerge: Yes, I did, thanking you for helping them out, from Kaiser.
LaBerge: Yes, it was very nice. There was some problem with something in
Hayward, was that--?
Kay: Well, it was in all the hospitals, they wouldn't let them join
the association. They had trouble with the community, when they
LaBerge: So you were instrumental in getting the Kaiser doctors into the
The 100 Club
That was a very nice letter.
Academy of Medicine?
So anything more on the California
No, that's all. And the 100 Club, there's a local club made up
of 100 members. Again, you had to be voted in or recommended by
Just doctors, or--
Everybody in the community. I don't know whether it's still
going on or not; I dropped out about eighteen years ago. You
would give $100, and you'd have one meeting a year, and half the
money went to the local boys and girls clubs. It was a
charitable- -although they did have a wonderful dinner.
LaBerge: Was that for couples, the dinner?
Kay: It was not.
LaBerge: That was just for the men, too?
Kay: I like men.
LaBerge: I see. I understand you do! [laughter] Was this kind of a
rotary -type thing, or--?
Kay : No .
LaBerge: I guess I'm trying- -is the community the East Bay?
Kay: Yes, it was just the East Bay. A local thing. I don't know
whether it's still going or not.
LaBerge: So who nominated you for that one?
Kay: A Dr. Tucker from Peralta Hospital.
Piedmont BOY Scout Council
LaBerge: You were involved in other boys and girls things, like I noticed
you were on the Boy Scout Council.
Kay: From Piedmont, for twenty- five years.
LaBerge: What did you have to do for that?
Kay: I used to meet, when they had meetings, I was the doctor
representative on it. And of course, when my boys were growing
up, I went to camp with them, overnights, and was active with
them. Both boys were in scouting; my older boy was an Eagle
Scout. My younger boy went up to Star Scout, I guess it was, and
all of his friends had dropped out, so he dropped out,
LaBerge: Well, you know earlier on the tape, you told the story about
yourself and scouting.
LaBerge: Were you also a troop leader or something for your boys?
Kay: No, I wasn't.
LaBerge: But you were on the Piedmont Boy Scout Council. Well, you were
on certainly longer than your boys were involved; you were on for
twenty- five years.
Piedmont Emergency Preparedness Committee. Planning Commission
LaBerge: I know there were other community things; I don't know if they
involved kids or not, but City of Piedmont Emergency Preparedness
LaBerge: What did that involve?
Kay: Involved meeting until we got everything set up. I was setting
up an emergency in case of any disaster, and I got four
containers at four spots in Piedmont where they have emergency
supplies. The three schools, and then the one at the
LaBerge: Where did you get the containers?
Kay: Donated, two of them from Blue Cross, and the other two, I forgot
exactly who donated them.
LaBerge: Did that take about a year to set all that up, or longer?
Kay: No, not quite a year. And then I was on the- -I taught emergency
medical, I talked about that. Did I say about the planning
LaBerge: No, you didn't.
Kay: I was on the planning commission for six years in the city of
Piedmont, chairman the last two years.
LaBerge: What did that involve? Are there zoning or--
Kay: Involved a meeting once a month, hearings on planning in the city
of Piedmont. In between times, we would examine the projects
that were being proposed to us to see firsthand what they really
LaBerge: Building projects?
Kay: Right, building projects, additions and so forth. Anything that
the planning commission does.
LaBerge: Is that an elected thing?
Kay: No, appointed. I was appointed by the mayor, who at the time was
a doctor, Gil Cochrane . And a comment was made, "A doctor on the
LaBerge: Well, how about a doctor for a mayor? [laughs]
Kay: That was right.
LaBerge: Well, if anyone had known you, they would have known that you'd
been involved in a lot of community and volunteer things that you
have more than just one little set of knowledge there.
Kay: Right. It was interesting. What was most interesting was, I
guess, was the reaction of citizens to other people.
LaBerge: Can you give me an example?
Kay: Well, there was to be a redistribution of a lot, and we had a
hearing one night and some thirty people came to object. The
interesting thing was, they'd say, "We've been neighbors for
years and we love you, we think that you're wonderful, but don't
you dare make those changes." That, to me, was sort of the idea
through all of it. People would come and object for just unusual
things, such as losing their views, losing their identities, and
didn't like the color of the walls on the outside, or didn't like
the trees they were planting, and it was a variety of objections.
One of the sad things, which I don't think- -I guess you
don't need to know about it, but this one woman up in one area
didn't want something built, and I went up and saw from her
bedroom where this would be objectionable. We were going to
lower it. I left the house, and in the next day I hear she
committed suicide. That was the most pathetic thing for me,
having been with her just the day before, and telling her that
we --what we were doing for her. That stuck out in my mind as one
And while on the planning commission for the city of
Piedmont, we used to have a gasoline station- -we actually had
two- -and we closed one and put a bank and a market and so forth.
And the fighting over the removal of the gasoline station to put
a bank went on to such an extent that we had to have a public
hearing, which was most unusual to have, to hear from people. We
finally decided to approve the removal of the gas station and
putting in a bank, in the city of Piedmont, which was an
interesting sidelight to the planning commission.
Oh, I bet. Was that the Bank of America, or Wells Fargo?
Wells- -whatever Wells Fargo is now. [Wells Fargo]
Do you think that this city is more unusual than- -
This city is most unusual. In most cities, it's locally and
citizen- run, and you have your voice in everything that you want
to have it in. We have a classmate in the class of '31 who
attends every single city council meeting and objects to
everything. Class of '31 at UC. Of course, the city people turn
to me and say, "Your classmate was up today." I shouldn't tell
you all these things.
No, you can cross this out when it comes out if you don't like
it. Did Mrs. Kay get involved in anything in the city too, or
you were her representative? I imagine she's been involved in
other community things.
She was very involved at the beginning in the Oakland Museum, the
White Elephant sale for that, and other community things.
Primarily when the children were in school, she was involved in
women's auxiliary of the medical association, the county medical.
Otherwise, her prime thing was raising her children.
Well, let's see.
What else? Anything more on the city of
It was on the wall, maybe you saw it- -I was made honorary chief
of the fire department.
Yes, I wondered what brought that on?
That was the establishment of the emergency services. I used to
take care of them. Then I am a volunteer policeman for the city
LaBerge: What does that mean?
Kay: I used to do a lot of office work, and home searches- -when people
are on vacations, we check their houses. Now I've been doing
very little because of my health, but it meant doing that. We
have about twenty- three , twenty-five senior volunteers, and they
check out houses, they do a lot of extra work at the police
department, in the property room, which I did, too, for a while
for the Piedmont department.
How many years have you lived in Piedmont?
We've lived in Piedmont since '45. We have lived in Berkeley;
the war came along and we had to move, and then when we came
back, we wanted to go to Berkeley. We couldn't find a place to
live. We rented a house in Piedmont, and two years later, we
bought our home, and then have lived in Piedmont since then.
Your children went to all Piedmont schools?
All the children went to all the Piedmont schools,
went to California schools.
One to Berkeley, and one to UCLA, is that right?
That's where they graduated from, but they both went to
[University of California at] Santa Barbara to begin with. Went
to Santa Barbara, started- -our idea with coming from a small
community like Piedmont and going to a small college, like Santa
Barbara was at that point, was a slow step in going to the two
LaBerge: That was a good idea.
Vacations. Rotary. Masonic Lodge. Temple Sinai
LaBerge: Well, while we're talking about your children, did you do family
vacations or activities other than Boy Scouts?
Kay: Yes. For ten years, we went to Lair of the Bear every year. It
had just started. Then our older boy by that time was too old to
be with the family, so he went out to work in summertimes. Our
younger one took a trip to Canada with us for three weeks. And
then we also went to the East Coast, took a car trip for two
weeks up and down the East Coast another summer, going to all the
places you're supposed to go, such as Washington, Boston, New
LaBerge: Otherwise, did the family travel with you when you went to your
various meetings, or just your wife?
Kay: Just my wife. Not all the time, but most of the time.
Conventions particularly; not the average meeting.
The Kay Family, 1959: Harold, Frances, Steve, and Rob.
LaBerge: I know you went back to American Samoa at least once.
Kay: Once. We went back there, and saw a complete change. Couldn't
believe how things had changed. Couldn't believe they opened two
tuna fisheries on one side. The town itself had more industry
than before. Things that I had seen built when I was there were
LaBerge: How about your hospital?
Kay: The hospital had been destroyed and they started a new one.
LaBerge: What about Rotary? I have that written down as something you
were involved in.
Kay: I joined Rotary, Piedmont Rotary Club, I believe it was twenty-
four years ago, twenty- five. I'm still a member of it. I became
president in 1971, I believe, to '72 of the Piedmont Rotary.
Rotary is known throughout the world. I don't have to discuss
what they do.
LaBerge: Okay. And how about Masonic--?
Kay: Joined the Masonic Lodge, I don't remember exactly when. Became
a Shriner. I dropped out of that years ago.
LaBerge: And then Temple Sinai, you've been somewhat involved there.
Kay: I was very involved in that, on the board of directors for twelve
years. Didn't hold any offices. Still a member; been a member
LaBerge: I'm just amazed at all the things you've done in your life, and
how you had time--
Kay : To practice.
Motivation for Community Work
LaBerge: Well, to practice, and to do this, and to do a good job at all of
it, and where the motivation came from.
Kay: I don't know. Well, I guess it was--I really don't know where it
Because a lot of people would Just sit back and say, "Oh, let
George do it."
I didn't feel George could do it. What made me think of that, I
don ' t know .
Or maybe you thought George wouldn't do it.
That could be it.
It must have started early in your life, because you said you
were active when you were in college, for instance, and Rally
Week and all those kinds of things, which is kind of a beginning.
Yes, it was. I guess really it started, I was active in
scouting, as a scout. That could have started it. In Berkeley
at that time, in scouting we did a lot of community things. I
have a picture someplace showing the drive for Christmas food, I
believe. We had those drives that many years ago. Serving with-
-what's his name?
Fred Stripp. We were in the same troop.
It sounds also like your parents were very involved in the
community, like your mother helping refugees and getting
scholarships, and it must have--
Yes, they were. And my father was a businessman in Berkeley and
was very active in the city of Berkeley. They asked him to be on
the city council several times, but he refused that.
And I'm just interested, has it carried on with your sons?
your sons involved in their--?
No, neither one. I know my son in San Francisco isn't, the
lawyer, but the doctor in Cleveland I don't think is- -his main
concentration is on the Cleveland Clinic.
Berkeley Foundation Award and Cal Connections
LaBerge: I noticed in your scrapbook that you have won an award from the
Berkeley Foundation, the trustee award for fundraising- - it didn't
say for fundraising, but I think that's--
Kay: That's what it was, yes. That was doing the time with the class,
our fiftieth anniversary. That's where it started, our support
of this deal that you're doing now.
LaBerge: How did you happen to take that on? Did someone ask you?
Kay: The president of the class asked me, who was Stern Altshuler at
that time. He since has passed away.
LaBerge: Have you been involved in other things at Cal besides your class?
Kay: I think I told you, I was at the hospital out there --
LaBerge: Oh, that's right, at Cowell.
Kay: At Cowell for twenty-five years. Otherwise, I was not involved.
LaBerge: Did you drive yourself around to all these different hospitals
when you had to go from one to the other?
LaBerge: You didn't have a chauffeur?
Kay: [makes face]
LaBerge: [laughs] Some people do. I just--I didn't think that you did.
Well, let's see. We talked about the time you went to Washington
to testify, but then in your scrapbook I saw another note that in
1960, you were there to fight to keep the Oakland Veterans
Hospital in Alameda County.
Kay: I wasn't there; that was done in Oakland here. They had sent a
delegation from the navy, five officers, to come out to see about
Oak Knoll being closed, and we had a meeting with them. That was
the time when- -I think I told you about --the corpsman that became
LaBerge : Yes .
Chances in Medicine and Urology
LaBerge: I'm coming down to the end of my list, but you may have some more
things. What about changes in medicine, changes in urology,
since you started to practice?
Kay: There have been marked advances in medicine and in urology, from
simple little things where we did a lot of surgery, things today
they treat by other means, such as breaking up stones in the
kidneys by laser beams, by new medicines that we do not have to
do as much surgery, and diagnosis is much easier than it used to
be. It's interesting that in urology, you could make an accurate
diagnosis in between 95 and 97 percent of your cases, without
exploratory, which was a great help, and gave me the satisfaction
of treating my patients.
LaBerge: Okay, the change came--
Kay: Most of these changes have come after- -in the last eighteen years
after I've been out of practice, but I have followed them
LaBerge: For instance, in your practice, did you treat adults and
Kay: Yes, I did both. I was head of urology at Children's Hospital
for ten years. We used to treat adults and children. Today,
that's broken into adults and mostly--and especially a pediatric
bureau, which gradually developed over the last twenty years,
which I think is a good idea.
LaBerge: There was also in your scrapbook a letter from a grateful
patient. You must have gotten more than just one, about how--
both that you had the real art of medicine, besides the science,
and that she was afraid of her operation except she had such
confidence in you that--
Kay: I don't remember reading that.
LaBerge: I can't remember what her name is, but you'll have to look back
at that. So how many days a week would you do surgery?
Kay: In my days of practice, we didn't have special days for surgery.
When it came up, we just scheduled it. We usually scheduled it
depending where the person lived, and of course, what convenient
times we could get their surgery scheduled. Most hospitals, I'd
get it in the morning; one or two hospitals you had to wait until
the afternoons; I would prefer not to do surgery in the
afternoons because I think unless it was an emergency, I didn't
think it was right for the patients to have to wait that long, or
that I'd like to have to cancel office hours to do surgery. I
had office hours every day except Wednesday, the famous doctors'
LaBerge: Right. But then you worked on Saturday, probably.
Kay: Saturday mornings. And then gradually gave that up. Today, I
think doctors give up a lot of the time, but they're going to pay
for it soon, when somebody controls them, more than they're being
controlled now. And for the record, they are being controlled
LaBerge: Who are they being controlled by now?
Kay: By the government. I realized that I had to hire a special girl
just for insurance forms and things to be sent to the government
in my last few years to carry on practicing medicine. And that's
one of the costs of practicing medicine that people lose sight
of, that there's so many forms and so many regulations that you
have to have a person trained in your office to be able to take
care of it, or as a lot of people do, have outside agencies that
do it, which costs money. That's lost sight of in this cost of
LaBerge: Would you say there are other changes in general medicine, too?
Kay: Yes, this is true throughout. I see that in the last few years
solo practices are no longer in existence, because of the cost of
doing business, and by business with the forms which I have just
described. And you're going to see more and more groups of
At one time, you asked me how I could carry on all of my
outside activities. I had several colleagues who I used to sign
out to, and they carried on very well for me.
LaBerge: You mean, for instance, if you were going away--
Kay : Going away, I'd sign out to somebody. They'd take over, and vice
versa; when they went away, I took their practice. Of course,
telling our regular patients we were going to be out of town, so
it was only in emergencies that that occurred. That was one of
the pleasures of practicing in the East Bay: the doctors were
all very friendly and very cooperative between ourselves. It
wasn't a case of stealing patients or talking about the doctors.
This community was a very good community to practice medicine in.
Not like many others in the country, and some that are not very
far away from here .
LaBerge: San Francisco, for instance?
Kay: Did I say that?
LaBerge: You didn't say that.
Kay: You said it. For once, you're right
LaBerge: Just from your life experience, what are real life savers for
you? What has kept you going? I can think of one I'd suggest,
is your sense of humor. Do you think that's helped?
Kay: That helped a great deal. I took things serious when they were
real serious, and took things lightly, and didn't make a lot out
of things. I think that has a lot to do with success.
LaBerge: What else like that has been important?
Kay: To give of yourself to people, and to help people when they need
help. That has been my philosophy. I guess that's the end of
LaBerge: Do you want to end it there?
Kay : No , no .
LaBerge: That made me think, the other picture in your scrapbook is a
wonderful one of Yehudi Menuhin and his sister.
Kay: We were very close through the years, and we still are.
LaBerge: Anything else, though, that you want to say to sum it up, or
about family life or anything like that?
Kay: No, I think that one of the things in family life you have to
give and take between each other. We had one philosophy: we
never went to bed after an argument without making up. That's
good for you, you know.
LaBerge: That's very good for me.
Kay: And talk it all out.
LaBerge: Well, your marriage has certainly lasted- -
Kay: A couple years.
LaBerge: A couple years. [laughs] Anything else that you want to add?
Kay: I think we've got enough.
LaBerge: Okay. We'll end there, and I'll just end by saying thank you
very much for sharing more than just one interview.
TAPE GUIDE- -Harold Kay
Interview 1, January 20, 1994
Tape 1, Side A
Tape 1, Side B
Tape 2, Side A
Interview 2, January 27, 1994
Tape 3, Side A
Tape 3, Side B
Tape 4, Side A
Insert Tape 5, Side A
Tape 4, Side A resumes
Tape 4, Side B not recorded
February 3, 1994
Tape 6, Side B
Interview 4, February 17, 1994
Tape 7, Side A
Tape 7, Side B
INDEX- -Harold Kay
Alameda County Medical
Association, 59-60, 87-88
Alta Bates Hospital, 48, 55-56
Berkeley, City of, 1-7
Berkeley, Fire of 1923, 31-34
Biedenbach, Carl, 9, 10, 11
blood banks, 81-86
Boy Scouts of America, 7-8, 91-92
Blue Cross of California, 74-76,
California Academy of Medicine,
Creighton University, 20-21, 22
government regulations, 79, 100
Hassard, Hap, 67
health insurance, 68-72, 100
Herrick Hospital, 54-55, 56
Highland Hospital, 13, 28, 57-58
Kaiser Permanente Hospitals, 59,
Kay, Anna Lesser (mother), 1-3,
10-11, 25, 28
Kay, Frances Simon, 13-14, 30,
35-36, 44-45, 67, 69, 73, 94,
Kay, Joseph (father), 1-2
Kay, Robert (son), 50-51, 86, 95,
Kay, Steven (son), 35, 36, 45,
Keeler, Charles, 7
Medi-Cal/Medicare, 71, 88
medical practice, 98-100
Menuhin, Yehudi, 26-27, 101
Merritt Hospital, 54, 57
Naval ROTC, 11, 12
Nimitz, Admiral Chester, 11-12,
Oak Knoll Naval Hospital, 50, 98
Pago Pago, American Samoa, 37-42,
Panama Canal, 12, 14-15
Peralta Hospital, 48, 53-54, 57
Piedmont, City of, 92-95
Providence Hospital, 57-58
Red Cross, 40, 46, 85-86
Stripp, Fred, 8, 97
Summit Medical Center, 72
Tarawa Island, 43
University of California,
Berkeley, 17-20, 21-24
Blue and Gold, 23
Class of '31, 23-24
Daily Cal. 22
UCSF, 20-21, 50
University of Edinburgh, 28-30
World War I, 3-5
World War II, 35-48
Meads, Dr. Albert, 28, 35, 58, 89
B.A. in History, 1970, Manhattanville College
Purchase , New York
M.A. in Education, 1971, Marygrove College
Member, State Bar of California since 1979 (inactive status)
Elementary school teacher in Michigan and California
Experience in legal research and writing, drafting legal documents
Volunteer in drug education program and hunger programs,
Oakland and Berkeley, California
Interviewer/Editor in the Regional Oral History Office in fields of
law and University history since 1987.