Dr. William Allen Cathcart was born on the 7th of January, 1892 in Courtright (Lambton County), Ontario. He was the 3rd of 9 children born to William Allen Cathcart and the former Florence “Flossie” Louisa Selby. His father was a merchant in Courtright and his siblings were; Caroline Alberta Cathcart, John Phillip “Selby” Cathcart, Eliza “Bessie” Cathcart, Edith Claire Cathcart, Standish Victor Cathcart, Ruth Louise Cathcart, Helen Frances Cathcart and Charles Clifford Cathcart. Dr. Cathcart was educated locally in Courtright and graduated high school from Sarnia Collegiate Institute.
He attended The University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine in 1910. Dr. Cathcart graduated M.B. in 1915 with honours. He started his medical practice in Simcoe and joined the College of Physicians and Surgeons on the 24th of November, 1915.
Dr. Cathcart married Dr. Bessie Collver on the 1st of January, 1921 in Sarnia, Ontario. They had attended medical school together and she was the only female who had entered medicine in 1910. (Two other women eventually joined their class and graduated in 1915). Their graduation photo’s are beside each other in the 1915 edition of the yearbook for The University of Toronto, the Torontonensis. Dr. Bessie (Collver) Cathcart was born near Bloomsburg, Ontario (Norfolk County) on the 20th of May, 1892. She was the eldest of 2 children born to William Earnest Collver and the former Frances Ethel Loucks. Her parents were farmers and her younger sibling was her brother Raymond Philip Collver, who was born in 1894.
Dr. William Cathcart and Dr. Bessie Cathcart had two children; a daughter named Raymona who was born on the 28th of October, 1923 and a son named William Allen Cathcart was born on the 20th of December, 1925.
Initially the couple practiced medicine in Port Lambton, but they relocated their medical practice and their home to Wallaceburg in 1934. Their home was located at 135 Margaret Ave in Wallaceburg.
Dr. William Cathcart died in a single vehicle automobile accident on Highway 40 in Sombra Twp on the 7th June, 1938 just after 11 am. He was returning to Wallaceburg from Port Lambton after making a number of house calls, when his vehicle entered the ditch. A newspaper article that appeared in the Chatham Daily News on the 7th of June, 1938 said that he was “killed instantly”. Dr. Cathcart was buried at the Sutherland Cemetery, located near Courtright, Ontario.
Dr. Bessie Cathcart continued to practice medicine until October of 1966. She died in Guelph on the 9th of December, 1979. She was buried beside her husband at the Sutherland Cemetery.
*Dr. Cathcart’s wife, Dr. Bessie (Collver) Cathcart also appears on the Chatham-Kent Physician Tribute website.
**Dr. Cathcart’s daughter Ramona Cathcart became a nurse and married Dr. Thomas Clark Johnston in Wallaceburg on the 14th of July, 1951. Dr. and Mrs. Johnston made their home in Port Huron, Michigan. Ramona (Cathcart) Johnston died on the 16th of June, 1977. She was buried at Grace Episcopal Church Columbarium. Dr. Cathcart’s son William Allen Cathcart died on the 25th of November, 2001 and he was buried at Riverview Cemetery in Wallaceburg.
***Dr. Cathcart’s brother John Philip “Selby” Cathcart graduated M.B. from The University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine in 1911 and he practiced medicine in Sombra, (Lambton County) Ontario. Dr. Selby Cathcart served with the Canadian Army Medical Corps in England and France during WWI. He served at Vimy Ridge where he received serious wounds from shell fragments. Dr. Selby Cathcart was awarded the Military Cross. He died in 1973.
****Dr. Cathcart’s brother Standish Victor Cathcart enlisted with the Canadian Armed Services during WWI when he was 18 years old. He served overseas in England and in France. He served with the United States Military during World War II.