Dr. James Schaepe - Ilion NY

IHS Class of 1950

James Lee Schaepe, M. D.


1959 Ilion - Schaepe
Dr. James Lee Schaepe IHS 1950


James Lee Schaepe was born on November 30, 1931, in Ilion, NY. He was the son of Douglass Schaepe and Mae Sykes (Holmes) Schaepe. The family grew to five sons: Douglass H. Jr., George W., Herman A., James Lee and William and one daughter, Nancy. The family lived at 81 South Third Avenue. His parents would later divorce and his mother would later marry Niram Holmes.


1932 - Schaepe Family Tragedy


Utica Daily Press December 5, 1932


On December 3, 1932, Hiram Skinner suffered the tragic loss of his younger brother, Clayton Skinner, age 7. Two other victims of the tragic drowning in Weber Pond, were the young brothers, George Schaepe and Herman Schaepe, Jr. who lived at 81 South Third Avenue. George Schaepe was just one week shy of his sixth birthday when he died. Douglass Schaepe, Jr. had turned seven years old in June. The Schaepe brothers had spent the Saturday afternoon playing with their friend, Clayton Skinner. The Schaepe boys went down the hill to meet up with Clayton at the Skinner family home; a big yellow house near the corner of Elm Street.

"When the three boys failed to report at their respective homes for the evening meal, an immediate alarm was mounted. They were good boys, and it was unlike them to be late. The search was begun by Herman Skinner, the father of Clayton; Mrs. Schaepe, the mother of George and Douglass; their uncle Louis Lacy; and their grandfather, Herman Schaepe, worked with officers Frank Ford and Bydsen Watson."

Utica Daily Press December 5, 1932
Utica Daily Press, Monday December 5, 1932 - Part I

Herman Skinner's Discovery of Bright Feathers of Lads' Indian War Bonnets Under Thin Ice,
Leads to Recovery of Bodies of His Son, Clayton, 7, and Playmates, George Schaepe, 5, and His Brother, Douglass Herman, Jr.

Utica Daily Press, Monday December 5, 1932 - Part II

Getty Weber Pond Ilion 1

You can zoom in to see this copyright protected 1906 map of Weber Pond in Ilion.
www.gettyimages.com - Ilion zoomable map

Weber Pond 1906
Weber Pond was located in the vicinity of what is now The Diss Baseball field.

"The body of Clayton Skinner was brought to the surface about 10 Saturday night. Dr. James W. Graves, Herkimer coroner called and after a preliminary investigation, reported the boy had been dead several hours."

"Mrs. Schaepe was among the watchers on the bank, with Mr. Skinner, when Clayton's body was recovered. The certainty that her two sons had suffered the same fate was established and almost overcome, she returned to her home and to her two younger children. Meanwhile her father stood watch as after long minutes, the body of the first grandchild and then the second, came to the surface."

"At the Skinner home, the father, mother, two brothers and five sisters went about the routine of the day, trying to ease the burden of sorrow for one another. In mid-afternoon, Mr. and Mrs. Skinner went to see about a plot in the cemetery. It was stated in both homes that funeral arrangements were not completed."

"Mrs. Skinner stated to neighbors who called yesterday that it is her own hope and consolation that the death of Clayton may teach caution to other boys, and that her sorrow may result in sparing other families similar tragedies. She and Mr. Skinner, the grandparents of Clayton, his brothers, Hiram, 8, and John, 11, the twins, Lola and Lula, 12; Ada 14, and Margaret, 16, were trying their best to act and speak in normal fashions....but the baby, little Barbara, who is just a year and a half old, seemed to sense the terrible event and cried almost constantly."

"This morning the school bells will have a sad message for the playmates of the three little first grade pupils."

By EDNA. R. COE - The Utica Daily Press


Douglass Herman Schaepe Jr. Armory Hill Cemetery - findagrave.com

George W Schaepe Armory Hill Cemetery - findagrave.com


High School Years

Perhaps the tragedy that befell his brothers influenced James to become a life guard. In 1948, James was listed as one of the lifeguards at the Ilion Municipal Pool. "The swimming pool, which opened Thursday, was a favorite cooling-off spot for hundreds of Ilion youths over the weekend. Supervisor at the pool is Neil Etson with Sue Bronner, Grace Day, Robert Nunneker, James Schaepe and Frank Callahan as lifeguards." He was President of his Junior Class and attended Boys State. He was also a letterman in track.


Ilion High School Graduation 1950

James graduated with a class of 89 seniors in 1950. The graduation ceremony was held in the Capitol Theater before an audience of nearly 1,000 persons. James Schaepe earned a College Entrance diploma. Musical interludes were provided by the senior choir and James Schaepe was the violin soloist. James Schaepe was accompanied by Mrs. Maude Wood.

1959 Ilion - Schaepe
Dr. James Lee Schaepe IHS 1950


Post High School Graduation

James served in the United States Navy from 1950 to 1954 before attending Johns Hopkins University. In 1959, during his second year as a medical student at Albany Medical College, he was selected for a special Summer Fellowship Award by the New York State Division, American Cancer Society. He was one of 30 medical and dental students from the four upstate medical colleges selected for the three-month summer programs in selected medical centers for advanced work in cancer diagnosis and treatment. He received his medical degree from Albany Medical College in 1962. He interned at The Genesee Hospital in Rochester, and completed his residency there in 1965.

The marriage of Dr. Schaepe, on June 16, 1962, was reported in The Albany Knickerbocker News. "Dr. James Lee Schaepe and his bride, the former Peggy [Marguerite] Burke, who were associated with Albany Medical Center Hospital, will live in Rochester where he will be on the staff of the Genesee Hospital. They were married June 16 in St. Mary by the Lake Church, Bomosee. The bride is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William T. Burke of Castleton, Vt. The bride is a graduate of Albany Medical Center School of Nursing. The bridegroom, son of D. H. Schaepe and Mrs. Niram Holmes of Ilion, attended Johns Hopkins University and was graduated this month from Albany Medical College." (* Note - Peggy Burke is the sister of William Burke. William Burke started his first teaching assignment, as a 6th grade teacher at Barringer Road School, Ilion NY in 1967. Mr. Burke was my 6th grade teacher.)


Joins Mohawk Valley General Hospital Staff - 1965

The Herkimer Evening Telegram June 29, 1965 edition, announced the return of Dr. James Schaepe to his hometown, Ilion. "Dr. James Schaepe, formerly of Ilion, has been accepted as a member of the Mohawk Valley General Hospital medical staff as of July 1, according to a release following, last night’s meeting of the hospital's Board of Managers. August Oliver, president, said that Dr. Schaepe would be affiliated with the local institution and the medical team of Dr. Arthur Applegate and Dr. G. Roger Weeden, of Mohawk."

In 1965, Dr. Schaepe was named as one of the physicians who were planning to occupy the London Bridge Medical Building. By 1967, Dr. Schaepe's office was listed as 42 West Street; in the building that previously shared the medical offices of Dr. Theodore Carney and Dr. Donald Davidson.


Dr. James Schaepe - Ilion Physician Years

Dr. Schaepe did not maintain a practice in Ilion for very many years. However, while he was here, he did have some interesting medical cases. The Utica Observer Dispatch reported on June 13, 1967 that he treated a gunshot victim. Arnold F. Leuenberger, age 36, of 69 W. Clark St. suffered a bullet wound in his upper leg and was treated by Dr. James Schaepe. The April 8, 1968 edition of the Herkimer Evening Telegram announced that he treated a patient for possible botulism.

Dennis Elmer, 23, of 111 John St., was released from Mohawk Valley General Hospital yesterday after treatment with a special poison antidote that was flown to the hospital from Lederle Laboratory, near New York City.

Dr. James Schaepe, Ilion, said the illness was diagnosed as possible botulism. This is a poison that may infect preserved or canned food. Dr. James Schaepe, Ilion, said the illness was diagnosed as possible botulism. This is a poison that may infect preserved or canned food.

Dr. Schaepe described the sickness as possible botulism caused by home canning.

The serum was flown from Roxbury, near New York City, to Oneida County airport. Oneida County Deputy Sheriff William Jones rushed the serum to Ilion as soon as the plane touched down at about 2:15 a.m. yesterday.

The Oneida County sheriff’s department said it received an emergency call early yesterday morning from Mrs. Doris Hartmann, night supervisor at Mohawk Valley General Hospital, that the package of serum was arriving at the airport from the Ranapor Air Delivery firm.

Dr. Schaepe noted that "home canning by regular steam methods is unsafe in that it will kill the bacteria, but will not kill the spores that later make the deadly toxin that causes botulism.

He added that "for canning, it is safe to can by steam under pressure-cooker methods.

On Sept 28, 1967, Dr. and Mrs. James Schaepe, 3 Lewis St., Ilion, welcomed their third son, David. The older sons were, Christopher, born in 1963 and Steven, born in 1965. Dr. Schaepe was appointed Ilion village health officer at an annual salary of $1,344 in 1968. While living in Ilion, he also continued using his musical talents by joining The Little Falls Symphony Orchestra, per The Evening Telegram, February 17, 1968.

Orchestra members from Herkimer include: Carl DesChamps, Miss Frances Ridley, Philip Scalise, of the Herkimer High School music dept.; also Dr. R. W. Dussault, Miss Jo Ann Lukomsk, Miss Christine Brown, Mrs. Olga Kokey.

Mohawk members: Ronald Burke, Charles Anthony, and Donald Rankins, David Spencer, Mrs. Alwina Parr.

Ilion: Walter Griswold, concert meister, Dr. James Schaepe, Sam H. Nile Jr., Robert Wood, Mrs. Patricia Radley.

Frankfort: Mrs. Jean Clifford, William D. Clifford, high school music dept.; Miss Janelle Snell, Miss Barbara Nicestro.


Dr. Schaepe 1968 - Present

Dr. Schaepe moved to Delmar in August 1968 and opened a small family practice in Slingerlands in 1969. In 1972, The Oneonta Star reported that Dr. Schaepe joined the staff at The Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital in Coopestown.

Dr. James L. Schaepe of Delmar has joined the professional staff of The Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital here as an Associate in its Department of General Services with privileges in general medicine according to Dr. Charles Allen Ashley, Bassett Hospital Director. Dr. Schaepe, who is 42 years old, is a native of- Ilion and graduated from high school there in 1950. He served in the United States Navy from 1950 to 1954 before attending Johns Hopkins University. He received his medical degree from Albany Medical College in 1962. He interned at The Genesee Hospital in Rochester, and completed his residency there in 1965. Later that year, he opened a family practice in Ilion before moving to Delmar in 1968 where he had since conducted a family practice. He is a Diplomats of the American Board, of Family Practice, one of tile newer specialties in the field of medicine. While practicing in Ilion, he was a staff member of the Mohawk Valley General Hospital there, village Health Officer, and Director of the Herkimer County Chest Clinic of the State Department of Health. During his practice in Delmar, he was a staff member of St. Peter's Hospital in Albany, clinical instructor in the Department of Community and Preventive Medicine at Albany Medical Center, and preceptor in Its Family Practice program. Dr. Schaepe is a member and past secretary-treasurer of the State Academy of Family Practice and served on its Commission on Education this year. He also has served on its Ad Hoc Committee for liaison with medical schools and hospital residencies in Family Practice. He and his wife, the former Marguerite Burke, have three sons, Christopher, 9, Steven, 7, and David 5. They will be living at 96 Chestnut Street.

His career would later take him to Massachusetts where he resides today. The Amesbury, Massachusetts Municipal Council appointed Dr. James Schaepe to the Board of Health on April 13, 2010. In 2011, he was a proponent of "...re-establishing fluoride in the water, based on a study from the CDC. He suggested that the town should look into using liquid fluoride instead of powder. The town of North Andover uses the liquid form and has had great success with it." Dr. James Schaepe, MD was listed as an emergency medicine physician in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

Dr. Schaepe attended his 50th Class reunion from Ilion High School in 2000. He also attended his Albany Medical College Class of 1962 reunion. He currently lives in Peabody, MA. He will be 90 years old on November 30, 2021.


THREE ILION BOYS DROWNED IN WEBER'S POND December 5, 1932 - Utica NY Daily Press 1932 a (1352).pdf - fultonhistory.com
BODIES OF DROWNED BOYS ARE RECOVERED FROM POND AT ILION December 5, 1932 - Utica NY Daily Press 1932 a (1366).pdf - fultonhistory.com
Lifeguards - July 27, 1948 - Herkimer NY Evening Telegram 1948 01542.pdf - fultonhistory.com
Ilion High Graduates Class of 89 - June 1950 - Herkimer NY Evening Telegram 1950 01468.pdf - fultonhistory.com
James Schaepe Mirror 1950 - page 20 - The New York Heritage Digital Collection - Ilion Free Public Library Yearbooks Collection
JAMES SCHAEPE ILIONITE GETS SPECIAL GRANT - August 12, 1959 - Herkimer NY Evening Telegram 1959 01987.pdf - fultonhistory.com
Peggy Burke Engagement Announcement - March 31, 1962 - Utica NY Observer 1962 - 2612.pdf - fultonhistory.com
Peggy Burke Married To Dr. James Schaepe - June 26, 1962 - Albany NY Knickerbocker News 1962 a - 5253.pdf - fultonhistory.com
James Schaepe Weds Vermont Girl Recently - June 29, 1962 - Herkimer NY Evening Telegram 1962 01666.pdf - fultonhistory.com
Named to Valley Hospital Staff - June 29, 1965 - Herkimer NY Evening Telegram 1965 01883.pdf - fultonhistory.com
Medical Center Being Built - July 21, 1965 - Herkimer NY Evening Telegram 1965 02113.pdf - fultonhistory.com
Reelect Staley To Board Post - January 31, 1967 - Herkimer NY Evening Telegram 1967 00311.pdf - fultonhistory.com
Police Investigate Ilion Man’s Wound - June 13,1967 - Utica NY Observer 1967 a - 1558.PDF - fultonhistory.com
Son born in Ilion - September 29,1967 - Herkimer NY Evening Telegram 1967 03005.pdf - fultonhistory.com
Falls Symphony Slates Concert - February 17, 1968 - Herkimer NY Evening Telegram 1968 00518.pdf - fultonhistory.com
Ilion Village Board Tables Action On Sale Of Park Land - February 27, 1968 - Herkimer NY Evening Telegram 1968 00617.pdf - fultonhistory.com
CANNED FOOD VICTIM IS RELEASED ILION - April 8, 1968 - Herkimer NY Evening Telegram 1966 01051.pdf - fultonhistory.com
Valley Needs More Doctors - August 30,1968 - Utica NY Daily Press 1968 a (6048).pdf - fultonhistory.com
RICHFIELD NOTES August 17, 1973 - Herkimer NY Evening Telegram 1973 01844.pdf - fultonhistory.com
Dr. James L. Schaepe joined the professional staff of The Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital December 9, 1972 - The Oneonta Star - www.newspapers.com
Office Slingerlands - Albany NY Times Union 1969 - 6328.pdf - fultonhistory.com
Albany Medical College reunion Class of 1962 - educationdocbox.com
Dr. Schaepe Appointments Town Minutes - www.amesburyma.gov
Niram Holmes Obituary - Stepfather June 15, 1981 - Utica NY Daily Press 1981 - 4308.pdf - fultonhistory.com
Douglass Herman Schaepe 1971 - Armory Hill Cemetery findagrave.com
Mae Sykes Holmes 1993 - Armory Hill Cemetery findagrave.com
Douglass Herman Schaepe Jr. 1932 - Armory Hill Cemetery findagrave.com
George W Schaepe 1932 - Armory Hill Cemetery findagrave.com


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