| Ralph Elmer Maurer|
(Austro-Hungarian physician in
|Born|| November 15, 1907 |
|Died|| February 23, 2007 |
Littlefield, Lamb County
|Spouse||Ethel Virginia Tweedy Maurer (married 1942-2007, his death)|
Ralph Elmer Maurer (November 15, 1907 — February 23, 2007) was a physician and surgeon, with a speciality in orthopedics, who practiced in Littlefield in Lamb County near Lubbock, Texas, from 1945 until his retirement in 1993.
Maurer was born in Zborov, now part of the Ukraine, to a businessman-landowning father. The senior Maurer, concerned about political turmoil in what was then Austria-Hungary, immigrated alone to the United States in 1913. He intended to bring his family to the United States the next year, but when World War I broke out in Europe, the Maurer family was unable to join the elder Maurer, who was residing in New York City.
Maurer's boyhood years corresponded with World War I. In late 1915, German and Austrian armies forced the Russian army to withdraw to a line near Zborov. Maurer remembered having seen the Russians digging defensive trenches through his family land. He and his brother played in the trenches and once constructed a slingshot to hurl rocks at Russian soldiers. After the war, the family left by wagon for the nearest railroad line, having reached Rotterdam in the Netherlands, where they boarded a steamship and arrived in New York City in August 1920 to reunite with the father.
Maurer was then twelve years of age and spoke no English. He learned the language quickly in school and attended DeWitt Clinton High School, named for the former New York governor and father of the Erie Canal. He then attended New York University and in 1937 earned his M.D. degree from the University of Berne in Switzerland. Maurer, who was of Austro-Hungarian ethnicity, was inducted as a captain into the United States Army Medical Service and participated in the World War II North African Campaign, the invasion of Italy, and the battle of Anzio. His military tenure introduced him to new orthopedic techniques learned from a German surgeon in a captured field hospital. He applied this knowledge to improving the surgical care of Allied soldiers and his subsequent patients in Littlefield. On leaving the military, Maurer accepted a position at the Payne-Shotwell Hospital, since renamed Littlefield Medical Arts Hospital and Clinic. He recalled having arrived in Littlefield on the last day of 1945 during a blinding winter sandstorm. He practiced in Littlefield until his retirement in 1993.
Maurer was married to the former Ethel Virginia Tweedy (born c. 1924), a native of Lynchburg, Virginia, whom he met while in his residency at Lynchburg General Hospital and wed in 1942. Dr. Maurer died in Littlefield of a sudden illness at the age of ninety-nine and was cremated. In addition to his wife, he was survived by two sons, Robert Tweedy Maurer of Richardson, Texas, Richard Samuel Maurer and daughter-in-law Susan Marsh of Holden in Worcester County, Massachusetts; two daughters, Virginia Maryon "Ginger" Maurer and son-in-law Jerzy Kaminski of Exeter in Rockingham County, New Hampshire, and Rachel Eva Maurer of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and a daughter-in-law, Virginia Gallaher Maurer of Gainesville, Florida, whose husband was the third Maurer son, Dr. Ralph Gerald Maurer (1943-2006), a 26-year faculty member at the University of Florida College of Medicine at the time of his death and an associate professor of psychiatry and director of the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities.