John McHugh, M.D. ’51

For nearly a half century, John McHugh, the son of a physician, served as a doctor.

For 45 ‘of those years, he served families in his hometown of Shelby. A simple philosophy guided him. Pasted inside the cover of a scrapbook John has kept since high school is a photo of an elite athlete with this Robert Louis Stevenson quote: “To be what we are and to become what we are capable of becoming is the only end in life.” John observes that cartoon character Popeye said it a little differently: “I am what I am and that’s all that I am.” John’s parents were equally succinct: “Be the best you can be; do what you love and do it well.”

During his years at SHS, John did well, serving as president of his sophomore and senior classes, attending Buckeye Boys State, playing in the Whippet band, playing basketball and baseball and running track. In track, he made All-Ohio in 1951 and for 21 years held the SHS mile record (4:36). He recalls fondly his SHS years – “weekend movies at the Castamba and State theaters, summers at Seltzer pool, ball games at the Waterworks; Jay-teen dances, hanging out at the Whitehouse and Brunswick pool hall, buying candy and ice cream at Lemmerman’s, Heck’s and Stevenson’s Drug Store.”

He also remembers fondly favorite teachers, including Marie Hughes, Dora Summer, Harryet Snyder, Ruth Stroup, Bill Wilkins and Dwight Somerville. “Only Dwight is around to thank.”

After graduating from SHS, John attended both John Carroll and Ohio State Universities, earning his bachelor’s at the latter. He then graduated from OSU’s College of Medicine in 1958. After interning at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton in 1958-59, he delivered babies at Dow Air Force Base at Bangor, Maine. Then in 1961, John returned to Shelby to continue a legacy left by his dad John who was killed in an auto accident in 1950.

John calls himself fortunate for being part of the last generation of family doctors able to provide a full range of services – critical care, routine surgery, fracture care and, yes, delivering babies. “I spent 47 years doing what I loved to do. I was truly blessed and chose the right career.”

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