Charles C. Trembley Trembley's home and office at 20 Church Street from 1905 to 1952. Presently the site of the DeChantal Apartments.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, July 28, 2007
Born: September 17, 1873, in Utica

Died: October 20, 1957

Married: Louise B. Hart

Children: Virginia (Mrs. Benjamin Fordyce)

From the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, October 21, 1957

Dr. Charles Trembley, 84, Dies In Florida

Moved To Ormond Beach 2 Years Ago; Details On Funeral, Burial Not Yet Known

Dr. Charles C. Trembley, better known as "Charlie" or "Doc" died last evening about 6:30 p.m. in his home in Ormond Beach, Florida at the age of 84.

A resident of Saranac Late for 56 years and one of the most beloved citizens of this community, Dr. Trembley sold his home on Church Street, to George LaPan just over two years ago and moved to his Florida, house where he had been spending the winters for a number of years.

The news reached Saranac Lake last evening when Bradley Davidson, a close friend and former resident of Saranac Lake, called Dr. Henry Leetch here.

Dr. Trembley's curling stone

Among his friends in Ormond Beach was Ray Burmaster, former Conservation official here and long one of Dr. Trembley's hunting companions.

Dr. Trembley died quietly in his sleep. He had not been well for some time, and even when he left Saranac Lake permanently two years ago, he had great difficulty with his breathing.

Dr. Leetch thought that funeral services would be held in Ormond Beach on Wednesday but there was no confirmation of that. Nor was it known, at the time of going to press, where Dr. Trembley would be buried.

Dr. Trembley was born in Utica, September 17, 1873, the son of William H. and Emma (Davis) Trembley. His mother had been born in England and his father, from New Jersey, had been engaged in the stained glass industry.

Charles Trembley went to New York University for his technical training and obtained his medical degree in 1898. He stayed in New York City as an intern in Bellevue Hospital for a year and then became house physician at the Ogdensburg State Hospital for about six months.

His health failed at the turn of the century and he came to Saranac Lake. As he began to regain his health, Dr. Edward L. Trudeau employed him as an assistant and in 1901 placed him in charge at he Adirondack Cottage Sanatorium, as the institution was then called. He resigned in 1903 to establish himself in private practice here.

While he was a general practitioner and did considerable work as an obstetrician, he continued his work in the care of tuberculosis. For example, he took care of all the tubercular members of the Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen, one of the largest of the railway unions.

In 1902 he was married to Louise Hart of Utica. They had one daughter, Mrs. Benjamin (Virginia) Fordyce of Daytona Beach, who survives. Mrs. Trembley died some years ago.

During World War I, Dr. Trembley served as a member of the Medical Advisory Board, and once served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Ordinance unit of the 105th Infantry Regiment, New York State National Guard.

Fraternally, he was affiliated with the Whiteface Mountain Lodge, No. 789, Free and Accepted Masons and the higher bodies Accepted Scottish Rite, including Kainik Temple, Ardent Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. He was at one time president of the Saranac Lake Rotary Club and also held of the local Chamber of Commerce.

A prescription for a poultice, purpose unknown. It reads: "Hops. Tobacco [email protected] TiD [three times a day]. Boil hops and water + add a tablespoonful of tobacco. Make poultice and apply locally" Courtesy of the Saranac Lake Free Library

His interests were wide, including golfing, fishing and hunting. He was also vitally interested in horticulture. He was a member of the Protestant Episcopal Church. He became assorted with the Consolidated Board of Health in 1906 and celebrated his fiftieth year of association with that body in April 1956, although he had moved away shortly before. He was at various times president of the Franklin County Medical Society, the Osler Club and the medical board of the General Hospital. He was also active in the Elks, the Saranac Lake Golf Club and the now defunct Saranac Lake Curlers' club.

Dr. Trembley announced his retirement from active practice on July 30, 1954. Dr. Bradley Sageman, who had been associated with him for five years, took over his practice but Dr. Trembley continued to live upstairs at 20 Church Street until he moved away.

So many were his activities that he kept himself busy after his retirement, especially with painting and wood-carving. His watercolors, particularly of birds, were remarkable, and his cartoons, with their accompanying poems, were among his favorite occupations. His letters were always profusely illustrated with cartoons.

When he retired in 1954 and became somewhat enfeebled, he told an Enterprise correspondent "The thing I will miss most will be the fishing. How I love to fish." When he went to Florida, he tried deep-sea fishing, and was going to try going down to the water in his wheel chair, accompanied by his daughter, to see if his fishing luck held out.

Most famous of all were Doc Trembley's stories and his practical jokes. They will be told again and again around Saranac Lake for many years to come.

 


Excerpt from a piece by Jim Munn in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, November 14, 1969

Then there was the day when a man, a reporter, for the Enterprise during the Ridenour ownership, got word that the then-Gov. George Earle of Pennsylvania was being treated for a dislocated shoulder in the office of the late Dr. Charles C. ("Cheerful Charley") Trembley. Charley Trembley, incidentally, was one of the good guys who helped make Saranac Lake a good place.

Ducks carved from wood and foam by Dr. Trembley.
Collection of Michael Preiss.

Anyway, Gov. Earle, emerging from Trembley's office, was asked by the reporter to explain his accident.

Earle, who had been visiting the camp [Camp Cobblestone] his family owned on the shores of St. Regis Lake, looked at Dr. Trembley and grinned. "You tell him, Charley" the governor said.

"Well" the impish Trembley said, "he sat on a seat that hadn't been sat on for a long time. It broke and the governor dropped about six feet into a trench."

Asked to elaborate, Trembley said the seat was in a small building not attached to the main house. There were no further questions.


Lucy Jones Berk, born in 1931, remembers Dr. Trembley, "I knew and was very fond of Dr. T., having visited his office many times for "cold" shots and visits with the nurse and doctor on my walk home from Petrova School. On one visit, the nurse gave me an alcohol lamp to enjoy with my chemistry set. That could have proved very dangerous." 1

In 1944, she purchased Dr. Trembley's curling tam at a sale in Harrietstown Hall. "It was an annual event and very much a favorite shopping place for me as a child....I don't recall how I knew it had been Dr. Trembley's curling tam, but it must have been with a batch of things from their 'attic.'"


As a member or members, Charles C. Trembley and his wife, Louise B. Trembley, were named in the sale of Pontiac Club property to the Saranac Lake Boys' Club, Inc., in 1917.

 

See also: "Repressions," a set of limericks about the doctors by Mildred Blanchet, posted at the bottom of her page.

Footnotes

1. Letter to Historic Saranac Lake from Lucy Jones Berk. April 10, 2011