By: Kathryn Wilcox
May 17, 2008
The first woman born in Bucks County’s first hospital returned for a visit Friday afternoon with her two children. Doris Klein is now 90 years old and was born in Grand View Hospital in 1917, five years after the hospital first opened.
With her were her son, Franklin, born in 1936 (sic– s/b 1937,) and her daughter, Alice, born in 1937 (sic–s/b 1936.) Both children were also born at Grand View. They drove to Pennsylvania from their homes in Tennessee to visit for this weekend’s Perkasie Days.
“I’m a little older now,” Doris Klein joked.
“We don’t have any records that go back that far,” said Dr. Jane Ferry, the chief medical officer at Grand View Hospital in West Rockhill. “They didn’t keep very meticulous birth records. Most people would have had home births around that time.”
Ferry tried to research the birth online and in the book, “History of Grand View Hospital.” But it wasn’t until Doris Klein told Ferry that her grandfather’s last name was Thompson that Ferry was able to find out why Doris Klein would have been born in a hospital instead of at home.
Gilbert L. Thompson, Doris Klein’s maternal grandfather, had been the president of the board of directors of the hospital in 1918, and in 1921, he helped raise $75,000 for the hospital.
“He wanted his daughter to have the best of everything, so she gave birth in a hospital,” said Doris Klein. “My granddaddy spoiled me rotten. Back then, the hospital didn’t look like this. It was in a private home.”
The family has deep roots in the Perkasie community. Doris Klein’s father, Leon Schwenk, owned Brown’s Pants Factory at Fifth and Market streets. “We’re finding out more and more of our family’s history,” said Alice Klein. “It’s been so much fun.”