Yukon’s docs, Tony Yanda, local athletes


How many of you remember when Yukon had only a handful of local doctor’s offices operating here in town? How many of you remember Yukon’s best dressed doctor Dr. Mike Schwartz down at the Old Mill Plaza?

What about the great Steve Drabek or the legend Dr. Ted Fortman? I remember making an appointment with Dr. Kent Studebaker at the old Canadian Health Complex that was located on Holly Avenue for many years. I was beginning to age (I was 25) and had begun to live with the pressure of daily deadlines coupled with my Mexican food and cerveza habit. The combination of my lifestyle was causing me to develop nightly acid reflux disease and Studebaker wasted no time prescribing me this new drug that was going to turn off the acid pumps in my stomach the good doctor told me.

Now, almost 30 years later, Nexium is my drug of choice and is usually taken along with my weekly dose of Alfredo’s hot chips and salsa.

For many years, Dr. Mike Schwarz would always come to the newspaper office every Thursday morning to drink coffee with Randel Grigsby and to get the early version of the weekend news report. Doc was the only guy in Yukon, except for maybe Jerry Balentine, that would out-dress Randel. He would always have on an outrageous (colorful) necktie, highly polished shoes and shiny cuff links with his monogrammed shirt.

His overcoat was flawless and his manicure was perfect. Schwarz knew how to do it from top to bottom and he took very good care of his patients. I sent him and his wife Tallie an invitation to my wedding back in 1991 and I couldn’t believe the expensive assortment of bath towels they had shipped to my house. I could never have afforded something like that. Pure class.

I think I am going to reach out to Mike’s son (Colby) and see if we can sit down with Mike and catch up. The stories he has to tell about his life in Yukon can surely compare with stories from locals like Clarence Wright, Fenton Ramey or Jim Niles. Stay tuned.

Dr. Drabek once told me about how he overcame cancer and how he used that experience to deal with his patients. Drabek was always so busy that I never truly got to know him that well but listened to others talk about how he helped so many Yukon people who were sick.

Everyone told me he always takes the time or took the time to not just hear them but to truly listen. Everyone likes Steve. I was having dinner a few years ago at K.D.’s Bricktown restaurant and had Steve’s son as our waiter. We talked about the impact his dad has had on Yukon and so many people who live in this area. What a great legacy. What a unique doctor.

Ted Fortman had an impact on Canadian and Kingfisher County that is still talked about today. He was such a big part of the Center of Family Love in Okarche and had literally thousands of patients in his more than 50 year career. Fortman would occasionally write for our newspapers and when he did, his message always generated calls and compliments about his many health topics. Fortman meant a lot to so many and he is missed.

Which Yukon doctor means a lot to you? Tell me about them by sending me an email with some information about them. I would like to know.

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By the look of the parking lots at all of our many Yukon restaurants last Thursday night (Valentine’s Day) we could be seeing a spike in sales tax on our April check from the Oklahoma Tax Commission. Yukon is currently down in collections the past few months due to our constant battle with Oklahoma City stores but we will rebound. Good days are on the horizon.

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I was visiting with Yukon’s Tony Yanda a few weeks ago at the chamber of commerce banquet. I told Tony that I wanted to purchase one of his old Oklahoma State University football jerseys from him and asked him if he would autograph it for me. Yanda said he thought he knew where he had kept an extra jersey and that he would hook me up!

I am going to have Tony’s autographed jersey framed and hung up in my office next to the autographed Oklahoma State University jersey that the great Richard Schwarz wore when he played at OSU.

Richard’s mom told me they gave me the jersey Richard was wearing when he played OU and Richard suffered the only fumble he ever had as a tailback at Oklahoma State. She told me Roy Williams was really hitting hard that day. I would give my front row tickets to REO SPEEDWAGON to have got to play football with Yukon’s Tony Yanda and Richard Schwarz.

Who do you think Yukon’s all-time best athlete has been? Randy Wright, Kelly Seikel, Carson Price, Tony Kirkegard, Jennifer Stewart? Send me an email and let me know your picks!

Thanks so much for reading. I will see you next Saturday. Would you like a Progress?