Dr. Robert Woodrow Lauber was born in Kitchener, Ontario on the 19th of March, 1913. He was the only child born to Robert Alfred Lauber and the former Minnie Elice Richardson. However, both of his parents had been married before. His father was married to Mary Humphrey on the 5th of June, 1901 in Bay City, Michigan. Mary Lauber died on the 10th of August, 1908 at the age of 23. She was buried at the Green Ridge Cemetery in Bay City, Michigan. Mr. Lauber married Eliza Ann Fike in London, Ontario on the 6th of March, 1906. Eliza Ann (Fike) Lauber died in Wallaceburg on the 28th of January, 1910. Mr. Lauber’s third wife, Minnie Elice (Richardson) Lauber was previously married to James Howie Gemmell on the 11th of June, 1890 in Chatham. They had a son named Wilfred Howie Gemmell. Mr. Gemmell died on the 10th of June, 1905 and he was buried at Maple Leaf Cemetery in Chatham.
Dr. Lauber’s brother Wilfred Howie Gemmell, served his country during WWI. He was wounded in France and after recuperating in England he served on the hospital ship Llandovery Castle. The ship was torpedoed by a German submarine and sunk on the 27th of June, 1918 off the coast of Ireland. Wilfred Howie Gemmell was one of the 234 casualties (only 24 persons survived).
Dr. Lauber grew up in Wallaceburg and attended Wallaceburg Central Public School and Wallaceburg High School. According to the 1921 census, Dr. Lauber lived on Elgin Street with his brother Percival Lauber and his parents. Dr. Lauber went on to Ridley College in St. Catharines, Ontario. While at Ridley College, Dr. Lauber received gold and silver medals for proficiency in his studies and he was an accomplished athlete.
Dr. Lauber studied medicine at The University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine, graduating in 1938. He interned at Hamilton General Hospital from 1938 to 1940. Dr. Lauber joined Dr. Eldon Tiffin’s family practice in Wallaceburg after graduation. Just a few years later, he established his own office, located at 608 Elgin Street, and Dr. Tiffin remained a very good friend.
Dr. Lauber met Jennifer Edith Davidson while she was in nurse’s training at the Hamilton General Hospital. They were married in Hamilton on the 31st of July 1940. Mrs. Lauber and her twin sister Joan Olive Davidson were born in Folkestone, England on the 26th of October, 1918. Their parents were Victor Leslie Davidson and the former Emmeline Sears. Mr. Davidson was born in Chippawa, Ontario and he served with the Canadian Armed Services during WWI. He served in France where he was shot and wounded. He married his wife in England, her country of birth. The Davidson family immigrated to Canada shortly after the birth of their twin daughters and settled in Chippewa, a community that amalgamated within Niagara Falls in 1970. According to the 1921 census, Mrs. Lauber’s father was a merchant.
Dr. and Mrs. Lauber had 4 children; Diane, Wendy, Lynne and Robert.
Dr. Lauber was the Chief of Obstetrics when the Sydenham District Hospital in Wallaceburg opened in 1957.
Dr. Lauber cared for his patients for over 40 years, retiring in 1983. The Town of Wallaceburg held an appreciation night on the 21st of June, 1983 and over 500 people attended the banquet. It was the largest gathering in Kent County’s history, a wonderful tribute for a doctor that devoted so many years to his patients.
In his spare time, Dr. Lauber enjoyed hunting, fishing and curling. Dr. and Mrs. Lauber also belonged to a euchre club that met bi-weekly for many years.
Dr. Lauber died on the 6th of July, 1997. Mrs. Lauber died on the 16th of February, 2011. Dr. and Mrs. Lauber were buried at Riverview Cemetery in Wallaceburg.
*Dr. Lauber’s brother Wilfred Howie Gemmel appears on the Gathering Our Heroes website.
**Dr. Eldon Tiffin also appears on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.