Melissa Magstadt, South Dakota Secretary of Health
South Dakota Department of Health

125 Years of Health in South Dakota - Health Pioneers


Fellow South Dakotans,

     As we celebrate the 125th year of statehood for South Dakota, it is important to reflect on those individuals who, through the decades, have helped make this a great state. At the Department of Health we are particularly interested in noting those who have played key roles in advancing the health of the citizens of our state. In the coming weeks we will be featuring some of those individuals and health milestones on this site. Any such listing will inevitably be incomplete but it is our hope that these brief snapshots will introduce South Dakotans to some of the health pioneers whose efforts have helped create the quality of life we enjoy today.

Doneen Hollingsworth

Secretary of Health
February 2014


Dr. George Frazier

Dr. George Frazier

Medical Doctor

1876 - 1964

  • Was one of the first American Indians to receive a medical degree

  • Served at the Santee Sioux Agency until it closed

  • Served at the Lower Brule Reservation and then on the Rosebud Reservation

  • Received a Distinguished Service Medal from the Department of the Interior for his pioneer work and services performed in the treatment of trachoma


(Information and Photo Courtesy South Dakota Hall of Fame)

Ida Mallet

Ida Mallet

Self-trained Practical Nurse

1879 - 1962

  • Assisted Dr. F.M. Newman with his maternity cases for 34 years in Charles Mix and Lyman Counties

  • In 1930 opened her home in Presho to expecting mothers and other patients in need
  • Operated a home for the elderly after Dr. Newman’s death until her death at age 83

(Information and Photo Courtesy South Dakota Hall of Fame)



(no photo available)

Presentation Sisters


Arrived in South Dakota 1880

  • Converted part of the convent into a temporary hospital in 1900, to serve patients with diphtheria, which is how St. Luke’s Hospital was formed in Aberdeen

  • Established St. Joseph’s Hospital in Mitchell in 1906

  • Began operating McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls in 1910

  • Formed the Presentation Health System in 1978

  • Joined with the Benedictine Sisters of Yankton, South Dakota, in 2000, to sponsor Catholic hospitals throughout the region under the name of Avera

(Information Source: Presentation Sisters' website)

Dr. Frank Creamer

Dr. Frank Creamer

Medical Doctor

1885 - 1954

  • Served the community of Dupree, SD, for 39 years

  • Established free clinics for vaccinations and health examinations for school children and school athletes

  • Became a contract physician for the nearby Thunder Butte Indian Service where he worked on his goal to eliminate contagious diseases such as diphtheria and small pox

  • Built Dupree’s first hospital


(Information and Photo Courtesy South Dakota Hall of Fame)



(no photo available)

August Hoeger


1885 - 1970

  • Founded the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society in 1922

  • Believed care must be provided for the whole person, body and soul

  • Worked to make the Society to what it is today, the largest not-for-profit senior care and services provider in the United States

(Information Source: South Dakota Hall of Fame and The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society website)

Dr. William Donoahoe

Dr. William Donahoe


1886 - 1975

  • Became the first pediatrician in Sioux Falls

  • Promoted public health programs, especially for children

  • Served as the pediatrician to the Lutheran Welfare Society, the South Dakota Children’s Home, the Presentation Home for Children and the South Dakota School for the Deaf

  • Was fundamental in establishing the South Dakota Bureau of Vital Statistics

  • Introduced the first state's immunization program against diphtheria, saving countless lives

  • Founded the Pediatric Department at the University of South Dakota School of Medicine

(Information and Photo Courtesy South Dakota Hall of Fame)

Dr. Clarence Auld

Dr. Clarence Vivian “Doc” Auld

Medical Doctor

1886 - 1968

  • Graduated from medical school in 1909

  • Became a licensed physician in South Dakota in 1911 and practiced in the Plankinton area until he retired in 1962

  • Served many years, beginning in 1918, as the resident physician of the State Training School receiving $35 a month

  • Served as a medical examiner for three wars, WWI, WWII, and the Korean War


(Information and Photo Courtesy South Dakota Hall of Fame)

Dr. Roscoe Dean

Dr. Roscoe Dean

Medical Doctor

1891 - 1973

  • Served the medical needs of people in the Wessington Springs area

  • Worked on the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Committee to evaluate the Department of Health and determined it must license nurse-physician assistants to fill the void of medical providers in South Dakota

  • Was a constant supporter of adequate rural health care

  • Adopted as a member of the Crow Creek Indian Tribe for his medical care to the Tribe

(Information and Photo Courtesy South Dakota Hall of Fame)

Marion Bruce

Marion Bruce

Weather Modifier

1899 - 1975

  • Sponsored the Water Fluoridation Program which he organized and followed through the South Dakota State Legislature until its final passage




(Information and Photo Courtesy South Dakota Hall of Fame)

Mother Jerome Schmitt

Mother Jerome Schmitt, OSB


1899 - 1983

  • Founded and served as first president of Mount Marty College in Yankton which offers a nursing degree

  • Responsible for oversight of Sacred Heart Hospital as well as five other hospitals, several nursing homes, Mount Marty High School, and numerous elementary and secondary schools which the Sisters staffed in the four-state region

  • Became the first president of the South Dakota Hospital Association in 1948


(Information and Photo Courtesy South Dakota Hall of Fame)

Dr. Alonzo Peeke

Dr. Alonzo Peeke

Medical Doctor

1901 - 1992

  • Served the Volga area for several decades during the day and made calls in the evenings in Bancroft, Oldham, and Manchester

  • Was instrumental in getting the hospital built in Brookings

  • Was chosen two years in a row as the “Doctor of the Year” in South Dakota


(Information and Photo Courtesy South Dakota Hall of Fame)



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