DR. HENRY HOFMANN LOOS
1887 - 1963
By Shirley L. Brown
the early years of the 20th century, large cities across the United
States enjoyed the luxury of large modern hospitals, but rural
counties such as Matagorda County were not as fortunate. When
Stephen F. Austin began the settlement of southeast Texas in the
early 1800s, doctors to care for the health needs of the settlers
were among the new residents. Many of those physicians had learned
their medical skills by apprenticing with practicing doctors and few
had had the opportunity to attend a medical school. In spite of the
skill of those early physicians, they were often hindered by a lack
of experience and sufficient facilities to treat more serious cases.
The first hospital to meet the medical needs of Matagorda County
would not be established until after 1910 in Bay City which was
founded in 1894 as the county seat of Matagorda County.
Henry Hofmann Loos was born December 15, 1887, in Baltimore,
Maryland. His parents were
Henry John Loos (1860-1924), a barber,
Mary Margaret Hofmann Loos (1868-1941). A brother, Christopher
(1892-bef 1963), and a sister, Mary (1896-1995), completed the
Dr. Loos attended public schools in Baltimore,
graduating from Baltimore City College (a high school) in 1905 and
Johns Hopkins University in 1908 with an A. B. [same as B.A.]. The
summer of 1911 Dr. Loos interned at the government hospital in
Colon, Panama Canal Zone, for three and one-half months, saving
enough money from his salary for his last year in medical school.
Dr. Loos graduated with an M. D. in 1912 and interned in Saint Agnes
Hospital in Baltimore for three and one-half years, the last year as
resident in surgery under Dr. Joseph Colt Bloodgood (1867-1935).
In 1915, Dr. Claude P. Jones (1870-1945) of Bay
City, Texas, after handling several severe surgical cases and
emergencies, decided he was no surgeon – surgery gave him the
jitters. Dr. Jones wrote to Dr. Bloodgood, the surgeon-in-chief at
Saint Agnes Hospital in Baltimore, to secure an assistant who would
take over surgery. Dr. Bloodgood recommended his protégé Dr. Loos
for the position. Dr. Loos, feeling that the practice of medicine
was overcrowded in Baltimore, due to two large medical schools,
decided it was time to leave home. He requested double the salary
that Dr. Jones originally offered, and when the request was granted,
Dr. Loos felt he could not refuse. He arrived in Bay City December
As surgery was only a small part of Dr. Jones’
practice, he helped Dr. Loos set up a practice in Palacios, Texas.
Dr. Loos would be able to refer patients to Dr. Jones’ hospital in
Bay City, and Loos could make the trip by auto from Palacios to Bay
City whenever it was necessary to operate on a patient with Dr.
Jones handling the postoperative care.
Dr. Loos married Margaret Alice Campbell on May
1, 1917, in the Presbyterian Church, Palacios, Texas. Alice was born
May 5, 1894, in Atlanta, Ohio. Her parents were Philip F. Campbell
(1865-1938) and Helen Ramsey Campbell (1867-1953). Alice graduated
from Palacios High School, studied voice and elocution at Palacios
Baptist Academy, and attended Texas Presbyterian College (later
combined with Austin College).
During their two-month honeymoon to Baltimore and
other eastern cities, Dr. Loos attended the world’s medical
convention in New York City.
While in Baltimore, Dr. Loos registered for the
draft, June 5, 1917. He received his draft orders and left for Camp
Travis September 20, 1917. Due to his German surname, Dr. Loos was
not sent overseas; instead he served his tour of duty in San
Antonio, Texas, as a first lieutenant in the Medical Corps. He was
discharged from service at Camp Travis December 7, 1918, and settled
in Bay City with his family. On January 12, 1919, the Loos’
celebrated the birth of their first daughter, Helen Margaret. Two
more daughters were born to Dr. and Mrs. Loos: Dorothy Jeanette on
December 19, 1920, and Winona on October 16, 1922.
After Dr. Loos was drafted, Dr. Jones enlisted
and sold his hospital to two trained nurses, Dorris Gordon and
Louise Royer, who ran the hospital for several years. After his
discharge, Dr. Jones decided not to return to Bay City, instead
relocating near Pocatello, Idaho.
In Bay City, Dr. Loos began his practice in an
office over the Matagorda Pharmacy, sending his patients to the old
Jones’ hospital when necessary. After a disagreement with Nurse
Gordon, he began performing surgeries in his office and after
surgery moved his patients to his home on Third Street and Avenue H
(now 2500 Ave H) for their postoperative recovery.
|Main building of
hospital showing beautiful grounds surrounding this
Residence of the nurses who care for patients of the
his practice grew, more rooms were needed for patients. In 1922, Dr.
Loos purchased a residence and two acres on the outskirts of the
city (now 2202 Marguerite Street). Originally, the Loos family lived
on the lower floor, and the patients were cared for upstairs. As the
demand for rooms grew, the hospital was remodeled several times.
“The front porch was enclosed to make three more rooms; the
downstairs and upstairs back porches were enclosed with windows to
make two more rooms. Building on a laundry, with a room above it,
gave another room. A continuation of the back stairs out a window
and straight out to the ground made a convenient way to move
stretcher cases out to the annex. The annex was made from half a
building which had been a cafe situated on the east side of Avenue
F, south of the B. & M. tracks. It was moved out in toto and end
built on. This building gave rooms for male and female negro
patients.” Dr. Loos purchased a neighboring home and had it moved to
his property to make a home for his family, thereby making more
rooms in the hospital for patients.
As the years passed, the number of physicians in
the area increased, and needing a place to perform their operations,
they requested to use the facilities of the Loos hospital. Even
though the other doctors cared for their own patients, Dr. Loos
still felt responsible for them while they were in his hospital.
Also, many accident victims felt since the accidents were not their
fault, they should not have to pay their bills. All this, plus the
fact the hospital began showing a financial loss, encouraged Dr.
Loos to look for an alternative. Through numerous letters to the
editor of the local paper, he stressed the need for a county
In a June 1933 letter, he responded to questions
regarding his stance on a county hospital, “I feel that every county
in Texas should be compelled to take care of its poor patients,
instead of the individual citizens bearing the burden…To be sure I
should be glad to see a county hospital built.”
In a letter written June 1937, Dr. Loos stated he
would close his hospital for four weeks “to give the proper
vacations to nurses and personnel, and so I can feel free of
responsibility. Here’s hoping that the citizens of Matagorda County
will wake up to the necessity of a county hospital… Furthermore,
there are a number of young physicians looking for locations, who
are passing Matagorda County by, when they find that there are no
open hospital facilities here. I urge a county-wide drive for a
Although there were several attempts to establish
a county hospital, no progress was made, which prompted Dr. Loos to
place an ad in the January 31, 1938, Daily Tribune,
advertising his hospital, accessory buildings, residence and three
acres for sale. The announcement caused a considerable concern as
many thought the city was about to lose this able man and a great
asset to the community.
Dr. Loos responded with a letter to the editor
stating: “I did not say anything about moving, but included my
residence in the sale in order to make that sale more attractive…. I
think the hospital is a financial burden which the community as a
whole should carry.” He went on to say that if funds could be found
to build concrete roads, why couldn’t they be found for a hospital.
More roads mean more wrecks and a hospital is needed to take care of
these wreck victims. “Where there is a will, there is a way….Unless
the people of this county assume the burden that belongs to them, to
care for the sick, poor and helpless, and to use all means at their
disposal, even the vote if necessary to obtain that objective, I
shall have to close the hospital, sale or no sale.”
Discussions regarding a county hospital
continued. While there was some question of whether a bond issue
would be legal, the idea of a privately-owned hospital funded by
subscription was discussed. When Dr. Loos was questioned as to which
would be better, he stated he believed a county hospital would be
better than a privately-owned hospital by subscription; however, if
county bond issues failed, a private hospital would be acceptable.
In January 1939, when no substantial progress for
a county hospital had been made, Dr. Loos again stated that he would
close his hospital unless plans were started immediately towards a
county or subscription hospital, in which event he would remain open
until the hospital was completed. Again the message was received,
and the residents of the county began their push for a county
Dr. Loos encouraged his friend, State
Representative Paris Smith (1887-1978), to introduce a bill enabling
communities with certain populations to pass a bond issue for a
hospital. Matagorda County’s hospital was one of the first hospitals
in Texas to qualify under the new bill.
Saturday, April 15, 1939, the voters of Matagorda
County approved a bond issue for the building and maintenance of a
In October 1939, the Matagorda County
Commissioners Court appointed a County Hospital Board with Dr. Loos
as a board member. The board was to assist and advise the court and
architects on matters pertaining to the hospital and to set forth
the laws and regulations governing the operation of the hospital. In
March 1940, the terms were established for the board members, some
to serve one year and others two years. Dr. Loos was appointed to
his first two-year term.
Matagorda General Hospital had its official
opening March 16, 1940. Through the generosity of clubs and private
citizens, a number of private rooms were furnished and donated. Dr.
and Mrs. Loos furnished two rooms. Dr. Loos was named as a member of
the active staff of the hospital.
With the opening of the new hospital, Dr. Loos
closed his hospital after eighteen years of service to the
community; however, he continued practicing medicine until his
retirement, saying, “I retired at the age of 64 for fear of doing
somebody some injury because of mild deafness. The stethoscope and
deafness don’t go together very well.” Before his retirement he
performed more that 5,000 operations and delivered 2,016 babies in
Matagorda County. At a testimonial dinner, a solid gold watch was
presented to Dr. Loos by the medical men in Bay City. The
inscription read “To Dr. H. H. Loos in appreciation of more than 35
years of community service − Fellow Physicians. Bay City, Texas,
Dr. Loos was a charter member of the Bay City
Rotary Club, a deacon of the First Presbyterian Church, and also
served as church treasurer for twelve years.
Dr. Loos died September 12, 1963, in Matagorda
General Hospital, the hospital in which he has been regarded as the
guiding light in establishing. He was buried in Palacios Cemetery,
Palacios, Texas. Alice died June 19, 1968, in Houston, Texas, and
was buried in Palacios Cemetery beside her husband.
Daughter, Helen Margaret married first James F.
Lee, March 7, 1942, in Dallas, Texas; second Jay Talmadge Shurley in
1945; and third Roger P. Cunningham January 15, 1977, in Galveston
County. Helen died October 3, 2003, and is buried in Palacios
Cemetery. Dorothy Jeanette married George Belote, Jr., on May 10,
1946, in Memphis, Tennessee. Dorothy died November 1981 in
Mississippi. Winona married first H. L. Fulton on January 30, 1944
in Long Beach, California; second a Mr. Foreman; and third a Mr.
Henry Hofmann Loos received his education in John Hopkins
University, and he was an early surgeon in Bay City. He maintained a
private hospital for 18 years and served Bay City and Matagorda
County as a physician and surgeon for over 35 years.
Loos saw the need for a county hospital early and encouraged the
introduction of a bill enabling counties with certain populations to
pass a bond issue to fund county hospitals. His push for a county
hospital eventually led to the establishment of Matagorda General
Hospital on whose board and staff he served for many years.
Photo of Dr. Loos courtesy of Ron Spath
A May Day Church Wedding
At high noon
on Tuesday the 1st inst., at the Presbyterian church, Dr. H. Hofmann Loos and Miss Alice Campbell, both of this city, were united in
wedlock by Rev. W. L. Shepherd, pastor of the church, with the
beautiful and impressive ring ceremony, in the presence of an
audience of the friends of the high contracting parties that well
nigh filled the spacious auditorium.
As a prelude
to the ceremony, Mrs. O. C. Arnold sang most feelingly the beautiful
the hour the bridal party entered the church, the bride leaning on
the arm of her father and preceded by the bridesmaid, Miss Madge
Clement, to the beautiful strains of the Lohengrin Bridal Procession
from the piano, most artistically performed by Miss Norine Gardner,
marched down the south aisle, while the bridegroom, supported by his
groomsman, Mr. Jno. E. Wolf, came down the north aisle, meeting in
front of the chancel where the ceremony was performed. After the
benediction and blessing by the pastor, the bridal party left the
church through the north aisle to the strains of the Mendelssohn
Wedding March, and proceeded at once by auto to the Hotel Palacios
where an elaborate wedding breakfast was served. At the breakfast
thirty-seven covers were laid, and the party, beside the bride and
groom, were the bride’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. P. F. Campbell and her
brothers Ramsay and Howard; Rev. and Mrs. Shepherd and daughter,
Helen; the bridesmaid, Miss Madge Clement; and the groomsman, Mr.
Jno. E. Wolf; Mr. and Mrs. O. C. Arnold; Dr. and Mrs. A. B. Cairnes
and Mrs. Henry, Mrs. Cairnes’ mother; Misses Norine Gardner, Louise
Hillyer, Alpha Bussell, Nannie Truitt, Ima Wolf, and Mrs. Holt;
Messrs. Arnold Burton, Eldon Travis and Wm. Elder. The out of town
attendants at the wedding, and who were guests at the breakfast
table were Dr. and Mrs. Foot, Dr. and Mrs. Simons, Dr. and Mrs.
Scott, Dr. Jones, and Miss Sharples, all of Bay City; Miss Margaret
Taylor, of Iago, and Miss Nell Wiggins from Chillicothe, Mo. When
the feasting had ended the newly-weds went to the bride’s home where
she changed her bridal robe for a handsome going away gown of blue
taffeta with hat and gloves to match, and left by auto immediately
for Blessing where they boarded the Brownsville train on a two
months honeymoon and wedding trip through the eastern states. As
they were leaving the Campbell home Mr. and Mrs. Loos were showered
with a deluge of rice by a great bevy of their admiring friends and
well wishers. They go directly to Baltimore, Dr. Loos’s former home,
for a visit with his parents and home folks, and will also visit New
York and other eastern points, and on the return trip will visit
relatives and friends in Ohio, returning to Palacios by July 1st
after which date they will be “at home.” While on their eastern trip
Dr. Loos will attend a course of lectures and attend the world’s
Medical Convention in New York City.
always most charming, was superlatively lovely in a beautiful
wedding gown of white georgette crepe and taffeta and tulle veil
caught with orange blossoms. Her going away gown was blue taffeta.
She carried a boquet of bride’s roses.
bridesmaid, Miss Clement, wore a handsome gown of hand embroidered
pink batiste with picture hat of white and pink chiffon, and carried
a bouquet of pink carnations.
bridegroom appeared in conventional black, and the groomsman in a
suit of dark blue.
mother wore a most becoming gown of grey embroidered crepe de chine
with hat to match.
were Messrs. Raymond Tatum Eldon Travis, Guy Perry and Ramsay
Campbell, each wearing a boutenir of pink carnations.
For the happy
occasion the chancel and rostrum of the church were most handsomely
decorated, white and pink roses furnishing the color scheme. The
decorating was done by Miss Gardner’s Sunday school class under the
direction of Misses Nannie Truitt and Alpha Bussell.
The bride is
the only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. P. F. Campbell, and have resided
here for the past ten years, growing from young girlhood to charming
young womanhood in Palacios, where she is known, esteemed, admired
and beloved by all the people of the city. She is richly endowed by
nature with rare talents which by culture have been developed into
high accomplishments. She is especially admired because of her
cheerful, sunny disposition, and her whole hearted readiness and
willingness to aid in every good work, and her influence at all
times has been for the uplife and betterment of those about her.
Most sincerely do the people of the city without distinction unite
in wishing her a superabundance of joy and happiness in the new
relation which she has assumed.
The bridegroom is a skilled physician, who came
to Palacios something over a year ago, and is building up a splendid
practice in his profession, coming here from Bay City, where he was
for a short time associated with Dr. Jones, and is still his
associate in the hospital of that city. He is a graduate of the
medical department of the famous John Hopkins University. He has in
the time he has been here surrounded himself with many good friends,
who join in congratulating him upon the charming prize he has won as
his life companion.
Palacios Beacon, May 3, 1917