Dr. Gordon McKay Soper was born in Alvinston, Ontario on the 1st of May, 1907. He was the only child of Donald Soper and the former Edith “Jessie” Bea MacKay. According to the 1921 census the Soper family resided at 129 Sackville Street in London and his father’s occupation was listed as a draftsman at an auto factory. Dr. Soper was educated at the London Public School and London Central Collegiate.
Dr. Soper graduated with a B.A. from the University of Western Ontario in 1931 and M.D. in 1933. While in university, he enjoyed playing hockey. In May and June of 1932 Dr. Soper worked at the Lying-In Hospital in New York, then he interned at Victoria Hospital in London, Ontario from July of 1933 to July of 1934.
Dr. Soper married Marjorie “Jean” Jenkins on the 10th of February, 1934 in Wood, Ohio. Mrs. Soper’s occupation was listed as a stenographer on the marriage record. She was born in London, Ontario on the 24th of September, 1910 the 3rd of 5 children born to Thomas Stanley Jenkins and the former Sarah Jane Morris. She was born in the family home located at 179 Clarence Street but by 1921, the Jenkins family resided at 32 Craig Street in London. Her father was a lithographer and her siblings were; Vera Bonehill Jenkins, Eileen May Jenkins, Shirley “Edith” Jenkins and Thomas Jenkins.
Dr. and Mrs. Soper had a daughter named Donna Jean Soper.
Dr. Soper first practiced medicine on Pelee Island (Essex County), then for a short time in Lucan (Middlesex County), Ontario, before setting up his medical practice in Thamesville. Dr. Soper was known to be in Thamesville in 1940. While practicing in Thamesville, Dr. Soper resided in Port Lambton (Lambton County), Ontario. In the summer of 1941, Dr. Soper rented an office in Florence (Lambton County) to look after the community, which was without a physician at the time. In the fall of that year another physician settled in Florence and Dr. Soper returned to looking after patients in Thamesville full-time. The physician that settled in Florence did not remain there very long and again Dr. Soper offered morning appointments until Dr. Robert Jerome Sussex set up his medical practice in Florence in 1947.
In 1965 Dr. Soper’s practice was located on London Road in Thamesville.
Dr. Soper was a member of the A.F. & A.M Lodge in Thamesville, the Chatham Lodge of Perfection, the Kent Preceptory, the Knights Templars, the Erie Chapter Royal Arch Masons and Mocha Temple of the Mystic Shrine. He also enjoyed fishing and playing golf.
Dr. Soper died on the 7th of January, 1994. Mrs. Marjorie Jean Soper died on the 13th of February, 1994.
Photo courtesy of University of Western Ontario Library.
*Dr. Robert Jerome Sussex also appears on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.