The Valley of Heart's Delight

Palo Alto Surgeon
Office Address 172 University Ave


A scholarly, expert surgeon of high scientific attainments, whose distinguished services in the cause of suffering and imperiled humanity-particularly during the recent crisis incidental to the epidemic of the influenza have conferred an enviable lustre upon Palo Alto, the scene of his conscientious labors is Dr. La Forest E. Phillips, the widely-known physician and surgeon whose splendidly-equipped offices are at 172 University Avenue, while his handsome residence is at 337 Hamilton Street.  He was born at Surry, Hancock County, Maine, on March 7, 1876, the son of R. F. Phillips, who is happily still living, retired, at 2526 Hilligas Avenue, Berkeley. He was long a lumberman, actively and extensively engaged in that industry in both Maine and California, and he married Miss Mary Frances Gaspar of the same place, both  Mr. and Mrs. Phillips coming from very old New England families, long established in Maine.  The Phillips family is of Welsh origin, and their hardinhood is attested by the fact that there has not been a death in the circle for the past fifty years.  Dr. Phillips has two brothers and two sisters.  Agnes has become the wife of J. O. Davenport, a pioneer of Monterey and a member of the Davenport family hailing from Massachusetts, where for generations they were prominent whalers.  They sailed around the Horn and came to California and Monterey in early days; and settling in California identified themselves with important industries.  Mr. Davenport is at present in the lumber trade at San Francisco.  A. R. Phillips is in the automobile business at Oakland.  La Forest Ethelbert Phillips is the subject of this review.  Rodney Forseth Phillips, Jr., is also in the automobile trade, in San Francisco.  Julia Josephine is the wife of Dr. Clearance Page of Berkeley.

In 1878, La Forest Phillips came out to California with his parents and settled in Mendocino County, where his father entered upon what was to prove an engagement of forty years as a very trusted employee with the L. E. White Lumber Company; and our subject grew up in Mendocino County, at Fort Bragg, later removing with the rest of his folks to Point Arenas.  He attended the local schools, and in 1895 was graduated from the Mendocino high school.  Then he took up serious study at the Cooper Pre-Medical School and prepared to enter the regular department, and having matriculated at the Cooper Medical College, of San Francisco, he was graduated with the class of '99, and is now an alumnus of the Medical Department of Stanford University.

Upon graduating, he accepted an internship as a house physician and surgeon in the San Francisco Hospital in 1901, and he then went to Jackson, Amador County, and hung out his shingle.  During the World War, he volunteered to give his medical services,  and he was in line for appointment to a responsible post; but the armistice interfered before the Government could call upon him.  Now, having settled at this important center of scientific investigation and practice, Dr. Phillips does a general surgical and medical service, and gives his whole time and attention to the best and lasting interests of those entrusting their difficulties to him.  During the awful epidemic of influenza, Dr. Phillips had no less than 125 cases under his immediate charge, and he won the enviable distinction, as one of the most successful doctors in California, of brining almost all of his patients safely  through.  He has a beautiful suite of offices and there, with every facility that could be desired, treats minor surgical cases. For major operations, however,  he takes patients to the Palo Alto Hospital.  Naturally, on the account of his high standing, Dr. Phillips is frequently called upon to consult with other physicians of eminent standing.

At San Francisco, on July 25, 1901, Dr. Phillips was married to Miss Bella Pierce, a native of San Francisco, and the daughter of the late Samuel J. Pierce, well-known San Francisco contractor and builder; and their home-life has been brightened through the gift of four children, each already speaking for itself in the world,  Frances took a course in the Pre-Medical School at Stanford and is married to C. M. Jenks, a Stanford graduate, and resides at Merced; and La Forest, Jr., who is a student at Stanford University in the Pre-Medical Department.  Alberta I. is in the Castilleja School at Palo Alto, and Rodney Pierce is a pupil in the William Warren Military Academy at the same place.  Of exceptionally bright mind, and kind, considerate and helpful disposition, imbued with high ideas as to the conscientious performance of professional duty, Dr. Phillips has won the high regard of his fellow-citizens, while his accomplished wife and wide-awake children are justly popular and real favorites in Palo Alto and in Stanford University.

Transcribed by Carolyn Feroben, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County, California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 990