Jurgens, Hendrik Joseph, Surgeon, was born in Culemborg, Holland, Jan. 14, 1872, son of Herman and Masje (Van Tuusen) Jurgens. His father was a glass manufacturer and inventor.
Hendrik attended grade and high schools in Holland and at the age of sixteen emigrated to the United States. After working for a time in Grand Rapids, Mich., and Chicago, he entered Hope College, Holland, Mich., where he directed an orchestra to help pay for his tuition. Completing his pre-med work under a private teacher, he entered Keokuk (Iowa) Medical College and was graduated in 1898. In the same year he began practice in Edina, MO. In 1907-08 he took a special course in plastic surgery at the medical school of the University of Utrecht, Holland.
After the United States entered the first world war he joined the army medical corps with the rank of Captain and in 1918-19 he served as chief surgeon at Kelly Field, San Antonio, Texas. There he developed a number of the modern methods of plastic and bone surgery, treating hundreds of wounded soldiers returning from France.
In 1921 he practiced at Hillsboro, Tex. In the following year he removed to Quincy, Ill., where he continued to practice until his death. He was attending surgeon, and in 1931-32 president of the staff of St. Mary’s hospital in Quincy. In 1928 he read before the Illinois State Medical Society a highly regarded paper entitled, “The Deadly Upper Lip Infection” (Illinois. Med. Journal, 1929). He was a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and a member of the Illinois State, Mississippi Valley, and Adams County (president 1933) Medical Societies, the Knights of Columbus and the Physicians’ Study Club of Quincy.
Jurgens was a keen student of medicine and spent many long hours constantly endeavoring to keep himself posted on medical progress. He was a splendid anatomist which served him well as a surgeon. His skill, ability and kindness became known over a wide area and he alleviated many patients who could repay him only with gratitude.
In religion Jurgens was a devout Roman Catholic. Much of his time was given to directing choral and symphony groups. Successful in his profession, generous in his services to people in need, he was also influential in developing the cultural life of the communities in which he lived. While living in Edina, MO., he became a popular band and orchestra leader and a director of dramatics. As a conductor of the Edina Ladies’ band he toured for a season with the Chautauqua company. In Quincy he directed the choral club of the Knights of Columbus. He, himself, was a flutist of ability. For outdoor recreation he enjoyed swimming and fishing.
Jurgens was married twice: (1) In Keokuk, Iowa, June 30 1896, to Helen Fegers, daughter of Charles Fegers, a physician of that city; she died in 1900 leaving a daughter, Helen, who married Lawrence Berberet; (2) June 29,1900, in Edina, MO., to Clara Mary, daughter of Bernard Muenzer, of Edina, MO., a musician and maker of fine footwear. They had one daughter, Christine Martha, who married Seldon Raphael Hoover. Jurgens died in Quincy, IL., Jan. 8, 1941.
File contributed by: Christine Haddox
Author: The National Cyclopedia of American Biography, published 1943, Vol. XXXII, page 438. New York: James T. White & Co., 1945.