Name:
John Archibald McMurchy 
Location served:
Dresden  
Years in Practice:
1916 to 1938
Area of Specialization:
Family Medicine  

Biography:

Dr. John Archibald McMurchy was born March 10th, 1885 on a farm on the 3rd Line of Acton, Ontario. He was the son of Duncan McMurchy and the former Isabella Anthony.  His parents were farmers.  He had an older brother named Norman, an older sister named Lilly and a twin brother named William Martin McMurchy.  (His twin brother died on the 15th of April, 1906 of typhoid.  William was a school teacher.)  Dr. McMurchy attended public elementary and high school in Acton, and he also attended the Milton Model School.

Dr. McMurchy taught school for several years in Norval, at a small one room country school where he taught all grades. During the summers, he worked on great lake boats, likely with The Canada Steam Ship Line, to save money for medical school.

Dr. McMurchy took up his medical studies at The University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine and graduated M.B. in 1916 at the age of 31.  After an internship the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montréal, he worked at the Weston Sanitarium before taking on his first private practice in Kearney (in the District of Parry Sound), where he spent 3 years, before moving to Dresden in 1919 to assist with a flu epidemic.

Dr. McMurchy was married in Toronto on the 9th of October, 1916 to Stella Myrtle Blair Anthony.  At the time of their marriage Mrs. McMurchy was a school teacher.  She was born in Acton, Ontario on the 7th of August, 1887, the eldest child of Louis Graham Matthews and the former Sarah Jane ‘Jennie’ Blair.  Her father was a grocery merchant.  She had a younger brother named Charles and a younger sister named Mildred.

Dr. and Mrs. McMurchy had 3 children.  John Charles Duncan was born on the 1st of July 1920 in Dresden and died in Chatham on the 7th of May, 1923.  He died after complications following a tonsillectomy.  Their son Donald was born in 1922 in Dresden and he died in 1985 and their daughter Jean was born in 1925.

Dr. McMurchy served the citizens of Dresden for 19 years, while also serving on both the town council as a member, and the school board, first as chairman, then a trustee. Dr. McMurchy was also noted as having a great interest in astronomy and was known as a “lover of all good books” especially the works of Robert Burns, a great Scottish poet. He was once the President of the Kent Medical Association.  Dr. McMurchy was a member of the Mocha Temple, the Shrine (London, Ontario) and the I.O.O.F.

Dr. McMurchy’s life ended on Monday, November 28th, 1938 after a 2 year battle with rheumatic heart disease.

At the time of his death, he was survived by his wife Myrtle. He is still survived by his daughter Jean, who has 4 sons, Dr. John Donald Churchill, a veterinarian, James Graham Churchill, Department Head of Science in New Market, Jeffrey Charles Churchill, a teacher who lost his life in an avalanche in the Arctic, and Jay Andrew Churchill, an Engineer in Waterloo.