Lake Maxinkuckee Its Intrigue History & Genealogy Culver, Marshall, Indiana

Joseph E. Walther  

Dr. Joseph E. Walther Family Is Fibe Addition to theh Summer Colony

    One of the finest and most refreshing additions tot he Lake Maxinkuckee summer colony in recent years is the family of Joseph E. Walther, M. D. and Mrs. Walther of Indianapolis, who are now comfortably settled into the large home they pruchased from the L. J. Powlens of Logansport, one of the most attractive along East Shore drive.

    Joe and Mary Margaret Walher have six wondergul children, all of whom are excellen swimmers (thanks to the Indianapolis ahletic clud pool) as well as talented musicians. They are Mary Anne, 13; Joanne, 11; Karl Joseph, 10; Susanne, 9; Diane, __ and Kurt Edward 6.

    Mrs Walther is the daughter of Dr. Karl R. RUddell, noted Indianapolis surgeon, and Mrs. Rudell, who were here to enjoy mother's day together. Incidently, the Walther and Ruddell familis are a perfect example of what McCall's Magazine terms "togetherness."

    Dr. Walther is the head of Memorial of Indianapolis. One of his chief medical responsibilities is to keep the top employees of such imprtant Hooseir capital firms as Indiana _ar Works, Inc. and Allison DIvision of General Motors Cor_ration in robust health.

    Recently Dr. Walther also bough the Henry W. Bliss place at 1022 East Shore Drive, which he will tyrn over to clinic cleints for informal business sessions and family outings.

    During WOrld War II, Dr. Walter has a brillant record in the U.S. Air force in the South Pacific.

    Other members of the household are Mabel, a marvelous cook, who has been with the Ruddell and Walther families for two generations and a handsome _oxer with a tricky name. - May 12 - 1959

Joseph Walther, MD. (1912-2005)
Founder Of Walther Cancer Institute, Indianapolis, Indiana]

He wrote his autobiography titled "AN EXTRAORDINARY STORY: A Life Like None Other" with all proceeds from the book benefiting the Institute's cancer research programs.

Which was published 31 Mar. 2004. In the book he has a section titles "Lake Maxinkuckee" in Chapter 21 (pg. 278 Estacurricular Activities.

The autobiography includes Walther's memoirs, anecdotes, personal philosophy and historical facts. During his long and fascinating life, Walther has been a brilliant scholar, a gifted athlete, a war hero, a risk-taking entrepreneur and a generous philanthropist.

In 1947, Dr. Joseph Walther established Professional Associates (DBA Memorial Clinic of Indianapolis) as a multi-specialty physician group dedicated to providing quality and accessible health care to Indianapolis area residents. Formally incorporated in 1965, Memorial Clinic has continued to thrive, while evolving with the times.

October 6,1997
Volume 1, Number 10
Indianapolis, Indiana
IU Cancer Research Institute dedicated

Nearly 300 people were in attendance Tuesday, Sept. 30, when the Indiana University Cancer Research Institute was formally dedicated. David G. Nathan, MD, president of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, presented the keynote address.

Longtime supporter of cancer research, Joseph E. Walther, MD, received an honorary doctor of science degree. Dr. Walther is the founder and benefactor of the Walther Cancer Foundation and the Walther Cancer Institute, which have supported cancer research, primarily at IUSM, for the past decade.

Former patients, researchers, physicians and nurses, as well as dignitaries and contributors attended the event conducted under a tent on Walnut Street, just east of the IU Cancer Research Institute.

The new building is, in a sense, a companion building to the Indiana Cancer Pavilion. Both buildings are designed to enhance communication among those involved in clinical care and research.

Funding for the two buildings was made possible with $20 million in federal funds secured by former Rep. John T. Myers, R-Ind. The Cancer Research Institute also received $12 million in philanthropic contributions to IUSM.

Indiana University Life Sciences Timeline

1987 The Walther Oncology Center is established at the IU Medical Center through funding from Joseph E. Walther, a local physician and philanthropist.

1990 - The Walther Oncology Center is dedicated

In September, the Research II building is dedicated at the IU Medical Center. The facility houses the Walther Oncology Center...

Joseph E. Walther, MD, was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree from Purdue University in April 1998. Dr. Walther is president and chief executive officer of Walther Cancer Institute, Inc., a non-profit medical research organization devoted to the elimination of cancer through research.

Doctor's Vision Leads Indianapolis Hospital in Pursuit of Cancer Cure.
17 June 2001 The Indianapolis Star
Byline: Jeff Swiatek

At 88, Dr. Joseph E. Walther can indulge himself by walking out on his patio and seeing a half-century of his life's work spread before him.

There's the for-profit Indianapolis hospital he founded in 1956, all grown up now into the 169-bed, full-service Winona Memorial Hospital. There's the parking garage he insisted the hospital needed and the professional building for doctors, the first one in the city built next to a hospital.

And amid the cluster of mature trees sits the stone mansion where he practiced medicine for 36 years, which now houses the cancer research institute that bears his name, endowed with the fortune he gave.

It is the block that Dr. Walther built, the block where he now lives as a widower, in a penthouse atop the 11-story professional building along Meridian Street.

"I got 7,000 square feet, all for me," he says, slowly extracting a key and pushing open the penthouse door.

Legacies come in all types; they take shape from all manner of motivations.

Joseph Walther's medical legacies lie along Indianapolis' grandest street, and they were motivated by love and despair. Love for his mother Winona, his wife Mary Margaret and his brother Jack. Despair caused by the cancer that relentlessly took many of his patients and then came for Mary Margaret and Jack.

"He's done a remarkable thing. He's stuck with this dream he has," says Dr. John R. Durant, retired founder of the cancer center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

"It was an incredible vision. He had a lot of money, and he could have used it for a lot of things," says Hal E. Broxmeyer, professor of medicine at Indiana University. "It was one of the greatest things I ever heard about."

Walther's vision of a hospital would offer more health care choice in Indianapolis. His vision of a cancer institute holds the promise of doing much more than that.

It was the late 1940s, and Walther was among the brash young returned servicemen from World War II who were shaking up Indianapolis' business establishment with new ideas and an impatience borne, perhaps, of their wartime near-misses.

Walther had served six years of active duty in the Army Air Forces, mostly as a surgeon in the Pacific. He was a bona fide war hero, earning a Silver Star at the Battle of Midway and a Bronze Star at Iwo Jima.

Alarmed at the lack of medical care available to P-51 fighter pilots who needed a week or more to recover from prolonged missions in their cramped cockpits, he came up with a regimen of hot baths, massages and Australian beer to get them back on their feet in a day.

He also helped develop techniques of air-sea rescue by volunteering to parachute into 30-foot-high Pacific waves, and suffered a concussion in the jump. The helicopter that was supposed to pick him up didn't show. By pure luck, he says, a passing destroyer spotted his bobbing, bloodied body.

In the war, he earned sharpshooter status, learned on the sly to pilot B-17 bombers, and earned a reputation as a man who didn't cotton to wrong headedness.

"I had a reputation for being between a court-martial and a mental case," he says.

Stuck running a post-war transition camp in Georgia, he finally got his discharge by hinting to a superior that he could leak information embarrassing to the military to muckraking columnist Westbrook Pegler.

The Rushville (Ind.) High School valedictorian came home to find much changed, including his childhood friend, Mary Margaret Ruddell, who had been like a sister to him.

"She didn't look like a sister" anymore, he remembers. "We were married in 10 days."

They would have six children in seven years. Each wore a baptismal gown made of the parachute silk Walther retrieved from his near-fatal test jump.

Walther went into private practice with his wife's father. He chafed under civilian medical conditions that were less than ideal, with long waits to get tests done and a dire shortage of hospital beds.

The young doctor had helped run small hospitals in Hawaii before the war. Walther's vision of a hospital of his own took form as he practiced in the old Glossbrenner mansion at 32nd and Meridian. He began buying up the block, including houses and a post office, 15 or 16 properties in all.

At the time, a handful of hospitals and insurer Blue Cross controlled the city's hospital business. They hadn't added a hospital room in the city in 25 years.

"Oh, greed," Walther growls even now, thinking about the hospitals' refusal to expand. "They were running 90 to 95 percent occupancy, which was great for their bottom line." He is sitting in the boardroom of the mansion, where he still uses his old office that holds a 1947 doctor's exam table. A Tiffany lamp lights the place. The walls are paneled in rare Siberian wood.

The bold plan to plop a hospital right next to the mansion didn't please the powers-that-were.

"We had a lot of opposition from the major hospitals. They felt we were invading their territory. They fought us tooth and toenail," recalls Dr. Harold F. Burdette, a longtime partner with Walther.

Walther says he persuaded city council members to approve his hospital building plan only by getting personal with a sobering fact.

"I said, 'If any one of you has a heart attack, stroke or bleeding ulcer, you have less than a 50 percent chance of getting in a hospital.' "

The 24-bed Winona Hospital opened in 1956 next to the mansion. It soon expanded to 48 beds. Indianapolis closed-to-outsiders hospital climate wouldn't be the same again.

Walther named the hospital for his mother, a descendant of explorer Capt. James Cook, who got her name from her Indian wet nurse.

And, he adds, "Just to rub their noses in it, I made it for-profit."

Winona's status as a for-profit, nonspecialty hospital was no small deal. To this day, the city's major hospitals are all religious-affiliated, publicly owned or community-run and set up as not-for-profits that don't generate income to stockholders or other owners.

Walther, his practice and his hospital would prosper during the '60s and '70s. The main hospital building went up in 1966, the professional building three years later, the extended-care facility in 1973. Walther specialized in internal medicine, becoming known for his physical exams. General Motors used him exclusively to give exams to many of its executives.

But Walther began chafing again, this time at conditions in the hospital industry. Starting with the Great Society social programs of the 1960s, the federal government increasingly was dictating medical treatments and prices by threatening to cut off Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements to hospitals that didn't toe the government line.

Walther and his board sold Winona in 1985 to a for-profit Texas hospital chain.

The sale brought Walther a profit of $37 million. And let him broaden his vision.

In 1983, Mary Margaret had died of colon cancer at age 67.

"We were married 38 years and 17 hours," Walther says. The day before she died, "I told her, 'Honey, tomorrow's our anniversary.' Her last words were, 'I'll make it.' "

Walther's wife's death "was obviously a devastating experience for him," says Durant.

Walther decided to take the profits from the sale of the hospital named for his mother and fund an institute with the lofty goal of finding a cure for the disease that killed his wife.

"There's nothing more frustrating than having a patient you know you can't cure. That level of frustration was greatly augmented by the fact that I lost my wife and my brother." Brother and best friend Jack died of a rare cancer in 1988.

The Walther Cancer Institute would start out funding research at Indiana and Purdue universities. Now more than half a dozen universities benefit from Walther money. All told, the institute has spent $68 million, most of it on lab equipment and salaries for scientists.

Today, the endowment, invested in stocks and other things, has swelled to $140 million.

Walther actually thought his institute could underwrite a cure for cancer, a veritable silver b ullet. He knows now that cancer is infinitely tougher to beat than fighter pilot fatigue.

"I'm by nature impatient. But we're doing as well as could be expected," he says.

Walther remains the institute's president and chief executive and very much active in expanding its scope.

"We lean on Joe. Joe is the last word on most any decision," says institute chairman Joseph S. Dawson, a real estate developer who met Walther golfing and signed on to his cancer-fighting cause.

Walther offers to retrieve a copy of his resume, which gets longer by the month, with honorary degrees and awards.

He walks out the mansion's back door, a shuffling figure in a powder blue suit among the bustle of the medical complex he developed.

He makes his way up the elevator to his sprawling penthouse, which holds the collections of a man of remarkable breadth. A college athlete who qualified for the 1932 Olympic Games in the hurdles, but chose to focus instead on his medical studies at Indiana University. A big-game hunter who used his sharpshooter skills to bag one of the largest lions ever killed in Africa. He remembers the story behind every mounted animal head and fish in the trophy room.

"We were chasing him with a Land Rover," he says of the menacing mug of an African cape buffalo. The buffalo charged; the doctor shot once. "He slid, all two tons, right to my feet." A photo on a shelf shows Walther and Mary Margaret together atop the buffalo.

Walther hands over his updated resume, which he is now fleshing out in book form. The tentative title: A Life Like None Other: A Hoosier Physician's Life and Time.

The writing is slow-going. Walther's eyesight is failing. He dictates into a tape recorder.

"Yesterday I yakked for about half an hour. I'm through the war, and I'm just at the part of building the first hospital."

Walther is fighting time and his old adversary, cancer. Thirty-seven radiation treatments have put in remission the prostate cancer found 10 years ago. Now he's getting treatment for a basal cell cancer on the nose.

He thinks often of Mary Margaret, but the penthouse brings solace, as does the view it offers of the hospital and institute he founded. They were his calc ulated jump into the wild blue yonder, and the ride's not over yet.


Age: 88

Education: Rushville (Ind.) High School; B.S. and M.D., Indiana University.

Title: President and chief executive, Walther Cancer Institute.

Career: 1937-41, private physician, Midway Island and Hawaii; 1941-47, active-duty surgeon, Army Air Forces; 1947-83, Indianapolis private physician; founder Winona Hospital.

Family: Married to Mary Margaret Ruddell Walther, 1945-1983. Six children.

Hobbies: Qualified for 1932 Olympics in hurdles; big-game hunter; expert golfer, chess and bridge player; military sharpshooter; water-skiing.

Five persons to be honored by IU with Distinguished Alumni Service Awards

June 12, 2001

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University will honor five persons with its Distinguished Alumni Service Award next Sunday (June 17) at IU Bloomington. The honor is IU's highest award that can be given only to an alumna or alumnus.

The recipients this year are... and Dr. Joseph E. Walther of Indianapolis.

The five were chosen for services and achievements in their fields of endeavor and significant contributions to community, state or nation...

Dr. Joseph E. Walther

Walther holds three degrees from IU and has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in the field of medicine. He received a bachelor of science degree in medical science and a medical degree, both in 1936, from IU. Early in his career, he spent six years in the Air Force serving the United States in the Pacific during World War II. He earned the Silver Star award in the battle of Midway, the Bronze Star at Iwo Jima, and the Air Medal as a res ult of his more than 15 combat missions.

After the war, Walther started his career in gastroenterology in Indianapolis, and he has provided care for thousands of Hoosiers. From 1948 to 1993, he was a clinical professor in the IU School of Medicine. In 1956, he founded Winona Memorial Hospital in Indianapolis and served as its president and chief executive officer for more than 30 years. In 1985, he sold the hospital and used the proceeds to found the Walther Cancer Institute. The institute is dedicated to the treatment and prevention of cancer through research. The largest research program is the Walther Oncology Center at the IU School of Medicine.

Walther has received many awards including an honorary degree from IU in 1997, the IU School of Medicine's Distinguished Alumnus of the Year award, and the Z.G. Clevenger Award given by the IU I-Men's Association. He received letters in basketball, football and track while an undergraduate and qualified for the 1932 Olympics.

August 31, 2001
INDIANAPOLIS - The upcoming Nursing Gala for the IUPUI-based IU School of Nursing (IUSON) will showcase two of the school's long-time community outreach projects. The ninth annual gala on Wednesday, Sept. 19 from 6:30-9 p.m. will raise money for the school's Shalom Health Care Center...

The gala will be held at the Riverwalk Banquet Center, 6729 Westfield Blvd., and will include a sit-down dinner and an awards ceremony honoring professionals who have made outstanding contributions to nursing. Award recipients include Dr. Joseph E. Walther, ... IUSON Board of Advisors member Malcolm Applegate will serve as master of ceremonies. Reservations are $60 per person or $100 for patron level and may be made by calling ...

Four awards will also be presented at the gala...

Dr. Joseph E. Walther, founder of the Walther Cancer Institute, an Indianapolis-based nonprofit medical research organization, will receive the Victoria Champion Boundary Spanning Award. The school gives the award to an individual who creates connections between nursing and other fields. Dr. Walther created the Mary Margaret Walther Program for Cancer Care Research, named for his late wife who died of colon cancer. The IUSON program supports research investigating the behaviors that cause cancer.

The 2005 honorary degree recipients

Thirteen distinguished figures in business, science, the Catholic Church, medicine, entertainment, sports, law and higher education joined principal speaker Vartan Gregorian and outgoing President Father Edward Malloy, CSC, and Provost Nathan Hatch as honorary degree recipients at the University's 160th Commencement exercises May 15...

Dr. Joseph Walther (doctor of science) - Founder of the Walther Cancer Institute of Indianapolis, Walther stepped down as president and chief executive officer of the non-profit medical research organization in 2002. The institute invests in research at several Midwest universities, including Notre Dame, in an effort to unlock the basic mechanisms that govern the formation of cancer. A native of Indianapolis, Walther earned his medical degree from the Indiana University School of Medicine and was a decorated U.S. Army Air Force surgeon during World War II. He founded the Winona Memorial Clinic as his private practice in 1947 and built the Winona Memorial Hospital in 1966. With proceeds from the sale of the hospital in 1985, he founded the Walther Cancer Institute with the mission to eliminate cancer as a cause of suffering and death.

Notre Dame Magazine
(July 2005)
Newswire -
13 honorary degree recipients are leaders in diverse fields....
By: Dennis Brown
Newswire - U. of Notre Dame
Date: April 20, 2005

Deceased Name: Physician founded Winona Memorial Walther, 93, who also started cancer institute, is recalled as a visionary in medical field

Dr. Joseph E. Walther was a skilled chess player. And as a medical pioneer, he also was one or more moves ahead of the game.

Walther, 93, who died Saturday, was a visionary, his acquaintances say.

The founder of Winona Memorial Hospital and the Walther Cancer Institute anticipated the cost pressures that would come down on the health industry. He long ago urged the now-common collaboration among researchers at different medical institutions.

And at least 50 years ago, Walther was touting what today is known as "wellness" -- regular physicals and attention to factors such as smoking and weight control to head off health problems before they develop.

Dr. Mason Goodman, the first medical director of the Walther Cancer Institute, said Walther had the rare ability "to sense change, to sense need." That's why in the 1950s, when Walther determined to build what would become Winona Memorial Hospital, he kept the mission focused to a general medical/surgical hospital.

At the time, Indiana had no need of another pediatric intensive care unit, for example. So Walther didn't build one. To further economize, he sought the advice of a company that had proven itself efficient at building cost-effective structures -- the Holiday Inn chain.

Walther had the foresight to build a nursing home next to Winona to serve the needs of elderly residents who might require hospital care.

When the changing face of medicine plunged Winona into financial trouble -- as many of the cases that had once come to the hospital now were being treated on an outpatient basis -- Walther went with the times. "Joe recognized, as Einstein said, that the only constant in the world is change," Goodman said.

Walther sold the hospital, which eventually closed, in 1985. He then formed the Walther Cancer Institute.

Among institute-funded success stories were research in treating testic ular cancer; in using umbilical cord blood to treat cancers that require bone marrow transplants; and in gene-deciphering work that shed light on why normal cells turn cancerous.

A native of Rushville, Ind., and a 1936 graduate of the Indiana University School of Medicine, Walther qualified for the 1932 Olympics in the 400-meter hurdles. He was a scratch golfer and a city champion in tennis.

Walther served with the U.S. Army Air Corps in the Pacific during World War II, plus 24 years in the Air Force Reserves. He was awarded, among other honors, the Silver Star.

Survivors include five children, Dr. Mary Ann Margolis, Joanne Landman, Diane Paczesny, Kurt Walther and Karl Walther; eight grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Funeral services are at 10 a.m. today in St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church.

Indianapolis Star, The (IN)
Date: December 13, 2005
Page: B01

Joseph Edward Walther, American health facility administrator, retired internist. Diplomate National Board Medical Examiners, American Board Internal Medicine, American Board Gastroenterology.

Background: Walther, Joseph Edward was born on November 24, 1912 in Indianapolis. Died December 10, 2005 (aged 93) Son of Joseph Edward and Winona (McCampbell) Walther.

Education: Bachelor of Science, Indiana University, 1936; Doctor of Medicine, Indiana University, 1936; Postgrad., University Chicago, Harvard University, University Minnesota, 1947; Doctor of Science (honorary), Indiana University, 1997; Doctor of Science (honorary), Purdue University, 1998

    Intern Methodist Hospital and St. Vincent Hospital of Indianapolis, 1936-1937. Physician, surgeon United States Engineers/Pan American Airways, Midway Island, 1937-1938. Chief resident, medical director Wilcox Memorial Hospital, Lihue, Kauai, 1938-1939.

    Internist, gastroenterologist Memorial Clinic Indianapolis, 1947-1983, medical director, president, Chief Executive Officer, 19472005. Founder, president Doctors' Offices Incorporated, Indianapolis, 19472005. Founder, president, Chief Executive Officer Winona Memorial Foundation and Hospital (now Walther Cancer Institute), 19562005.

    Clinical assistant professor medicine Indiana University School Medicine, Indianapolis, 1948-1993, clinical assistant professor emeritus, since 1993.

Major achievements: Diplomate National Board Medical Examiners, American Board Internal Medicine, American Board Gastroenterology

Party affiliation: Republican Party

Membership: Board directors March of Dimes, Marion County division, 1962-1966, American Cancer Society, Indiana division, 1983-1992. Colonel United States Army Air Force, 1941-1947, PTO. Member of American Medical Association (delegate 1970-1976), Hoosier Hundred, Marion County Medical Association, Indiana Medical Association, Society Consultant to Armed Forces, American College Gastroenterology (president 1970-1971, master and charter, Weiss award 1988), Indiana University Alumni Association (life), 702 Club, Indianapolis Athletic Club, Waikoloa Golf and Country Club (Hawaii), Highland Golf and Country Club (honorary).

Married Mary Margaret Ruddell, July 11, 1945 (deceased July 1983).

    Mary Ann Walther Margolis,
    Karl Walther
    Joanne Walther Landman,
    Suzanne Walther Conran,
    Diane Walther Paczesny,
    Kurt Walther

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