By Callie Metler-Smith
Chances are if you were born in Stamford you were delivered by Dr. Tony Selmon. In fact you would be hard pressed to find anyone over 35 that lived in Stamford that wasn't seen at one time by Dr. Selmon in his 36 years as a General Practitioner and OB/GYN doctor. Stamford suffered a great loss to the community Monday, January 16, when Dr. Selmon passed away at the local hospital that he worked at for so long.
Tony Selmon was born to John and Emma Selmon on February 1, 1917 in Spur, Texas. His father, “Scandelous" John, was a career cowboy who started out as a ranch hand on the Spur Ranch. When the Swenson Brothers bought the ranch he was working on, he just stayed on with them and in 1919 he moved with his wife and two-year-old Tony out to the old headquarters located on the Flat Top Ranch. Thus began young Tony's induction to the cowboy way and he remembers fondly his dad loading into his model T a black with white face Shetland pony he named "Jug" to serve as Tony's first introduction to horses.
When he got old enough he started to school at Tuxedo, and the next year his parents got a small apartment in Stamford so he could start 2nd grade in town. The family lived in town during the week, but many weekends were spent out at the ranch home about 12 miles outside of town. Selmon enjoyed school and played football, injuring his left knee one of the years he played. Stamford High School only went to the 11th grade then, and he graduated from school in 1935.
From that point he did a little of everything, working with his father on the ranch and then moving to Burkburnett where he dug ditches for the gas company there. Less than a year after moving there though, he moved back to the ranch and worked as a ranch hand until he entered commercial college in Ft Worth and studied bookkeeping. After completing the course, he was hired at Hardey Motor Company, which was located right off the east side of the square in Stamford.
About this time, Selmon began courting his wife, Maxine Roland. She was going to school to be a teacher, and one day he picked up her psychology textbook and became interested in it. He decided he wanted to be a psychiatrist, but in order to do that he would have to get his medical degree. He enrolled in Texas Tech's pre-med program and after graduation was accepted to Galveston's medical school where he acheived his medical degree.
He hadn't been in medical school very long when after a long day of studying, he turned on the radio to hear of the bombing of a place called Pearl Harbor. He remarked that he had never heard of Pearl Harbor before that date, but it was not a place he would soon forget.
Selmon enlisted in the United States Navy, but was allowed to finish medical school. He graduated in 1944 and was sent to a Naval hospital in San Diego to do his internship. The San Diego hospital was huge having at any one time more than 10,000 patients. Wounded or sick soldiers, both Navy and Army, were brought in by the shiploads to this hospital.
After completion of his internship, he was sent to Washington where he was tapped to go to China. While he was awaiting orders, he was reassigned to San Fransico where he worked on one of two barracks barges. These barracks barges were about the length of a football field and three stories tall. Tugboats would pull them to provide support for ships. Selmon relates that his barge was pulled by tug boat from San Fransico to Pearl Harbor. He said the boat moved around 4 miles an hour, and it took them 2 weeks to get there. By the time he reached Pearl Harbor in 1945 the war in Europe was over.
After staying in Hawaii for two weeks, his unit moved on to the South Pacific and reached just east of the international dateline. He said that at night they traveled with complete darkness with ships all around them. One night all the lights were turned on and the cannon went off in celebration as the word spread that the Japanese had surrendered. Selmon stayed in the South Pacific for another 7 to 8 months. He hurt his knee again while playing tennis and was put in sick bay and moved to Hawaii and then on to Corpus Christi in 1946. He was then discharged and came back to Stamford where he joined the other practicing doctors, Dr. E.P. Bunkley and Ike Hudson. He practiced in Stamford a total of 38 years before retiring at the age of 66.
He came home to more than just a medical practice. Tony and Maxine were married on June 11, 1943 and his daughter Tee was born on January 23, 1945. His two sons John Richard and Matthew Roland were born in his next few years home.
Dr. Selmon was called back into the military in 1953 where he served again as a doctor on a Navy ship that carried troops and dependents back and forth to Japan. The round trip took around a month, and the ship carried about 2,500 people at a time. He made six trips with his ship. Following his discharge, he joined the Naval Reserves and served many years as a reservist until he retired.
After retiring from his medical practice, he enjoyed spending time with his wife and woodworking. His wife, Maxine, passed away after 68 years of marriage in 2011. Nowadays he spends his time watching a lot of TV. He says he mostly watches the news.
Tee went on to be a doctor in the Air Force, and she trained at the Mayo Clinic to be an orthopedic surgeon. When she got out of the military, she had a private practice in Wisconsin where she still lives.
John went to Texas Tech and did a lot of flying and gave flying lessons in California. He now lives in Los Angeles where he works for Boeing. He has two children.
Matthew is a cardiologist who practices in Austin. He has two boys and two girls.
A few years ago during an interview with the Stamford, Dr. Selmon reflected on his life and joked that he had delivered a lot of babies. He also said the best thing about being a doctor was helping people. He was one of the three doctors that built the Stamford Health Clinic that still stands beside the hospital today. There is no doubt that Dr. Tony Selmon has been a true asset to the town of Stamford. He died just prior to his 100th birthday.