Dr. Oral Bentley Shillington was born on the 31st of May, 1899 in Blenheim, Ontario. He was the 2nd of 3 children born to John Wesley Shillington and the former Barbara Jane Bentley. His father was a merchant and his siblings were; Nellie Elaine Shillington who was born on the 20th of December, 1893 and John Harold Shillington who was born on the 7th of March, 1903. Dr. Shillington was educated in Blenheim.
He enlisted in the Canadian Army during World War I on the 26th of April, 1917 in London, Ontario. On his Attestation Papers Dr. Shillington stated that his year of birth was 1898. He was described as being 5’9″ tall with blue eyes, light brown hair and a fair complexion. Dr. Shillington served overseas with the 63rd Battalion Artillery for 3 years. He served in France and spent one year in Germany. Dr. Shillington was discharged on the 23rd of June, 1919 with the rank of Gunner.
After his discharge from military service Dr. Shillington studied medicine at Queen’s University Medical School. He graduated M.D. in 1926 and pursued studies at the Clifton Springs Sanitarium in New York.
Dr. Shillington practiced medicine for a time in Blenheim before taking over the practice of Dr. John Spencer Bigham in Highgate in 1927. (Dr. Bigham moved to Innerkip, Ontario and continued to practice medicine.)
Dr. Shillington married Verla White on the 17th of July, 1933 in St Thomas, Ontario. Mrs. Shillington was born in Raleigh Twp (Chatham-Kent) on the 4th of November, 1906. She was the 3rd of 7 children born to Silas Andrew White and the former Anne Dinwoodie Park. Her parents were farmers at Lot 23 on the 8th Concession in Raleigh Twp and her siblings were; Lulu Blanche White, Mary Marguerite “Rita” White, Alice Mary White, Sirena Merle White, William Silas White and Millicent Anne White. At the time of their marriage, Mrs. Shillington was a teacher residing at 58 Harvey Street in Chatham.
After their wedding Dr. and Mrs. Shillington resided in Port Stanley (Elgin County). In 1935, Dr. and Mrs. Shillington moved to Sutton, Ontario, where he continued to practice medicine.
According to his obituary that appeared in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (August 1954, Pg 182), Dr. Shillington worked for the Department of Indian Affairs for many years.
Dr. Shillington died on the 13th of May 1954 in Sutton. He was buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Blenheim.
*Photo of Dr. Shillington in uniform: Courtesy of the Chatham Kent Museum.
**Dr. Shillington is featured on the ‘Gathering Our Heroes’ website.
***Dr. John Spencer Bigham is also featured on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.