John N. Hayes Dr. John N. Hayes, portrait by Sarah Joffe, Adirondack Medical Center

Born: December 15, 1891

Died: 1971

Married: Eleanor Muth

Children: Joseph, Mary Camilla Hayes

Dr. John N. Hayes practiced medicine in Saranac Lake for 47 years before retiring. He was a partner with Dr. Lawrason Brown. He served for several years on the board of the T.B. Society, and he was president of the Study and Craft Guild in 1960. Camilla Hayes Hudson, who operated the Hudson Cottage with her husband, Henry J. Hudson, was Dr. Hayes' sister.


Dr. John N. Hayes Retires After 47 Years in Practice

Adirondack Daily Enterprise, January 31, 1967

By JIM LOEB

He just came for a year, just wanted to learn something about tuberculosis from the clinical viewpoint. The one place to learn it was Saranac Lake and the man to learn it from was Dr. Lawrason Brown.

But he never left.

Today, almost 47 years later Dr. John N. Hayes, one of this village's great practitioners and one of its best beloved human beings, is taking down his shingle from 19 Academy Street (and Dr. Walter Taylor will have the place redone as his dentist's office.)

It was a long way and a long time from Crafton, Pennsylvania (one of Pittsburgh's suburbs) where he was born on Dec. 15, 1891, to Saranac Lake in June 1920. The way took John Hayes to Duquesne University, the University of Pittsburgh Medical School, the U. S. Army and the famed Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D. C., an army hospital in Oteen, North Carolina, (near Asheville), and the Yale Medical School.

But it was a far longer way after he got up here. Many of Saranac Lake's famed doctors were brought here their own illness. Not John Hayes. He came because he wanted to move from pathology to clinical medicine.

He recalls the influenza epidemic of 1918, and how he happened to get a hold of some rabbits or guinea pigs (he can't quite recall which) and produce a haemorrhagic pneumonia for the first time. This was part of his bacteriological life, but he went to Yale to learn clinical tuberculosis. He also learned something else there, namely, that there was in the medical school a very attractive dietician. For reasons neither seems anxious to explain, it took some three years, until 1922, before this inoculation "took" and the dietician became Mrs. John (Eleanor) Hayes.

The relationship with Dr. Brown was certainly the most in significant in John Hayes life, second only to the relationship with the dietician. It took young Dr. Hayes no time at all to find out, as he puts it, that he knew nothing. But he must have learned quite a bit because he became Dr. Brown's assistant and then his partner. When his great mentor and friend died in 1937, Dr. Hayes stayed right on to practice everything he had learned.

He was a consultant both at Trudeau (1930 to its closing in 1954) and Sunmount. And in 1935 he became Medical Director of Gabriels Sanatorium (Sanatorium Gabriels) until it closed last March, although this was never a full-time occupation.

Among his patients, he counted many of the renowned and many more of the lowly. President Manuel Quezon was among the former, while he was still president of the Philippines, although in exile during the Japanese occupation.

Among his patients, too, were many of the doctors, including James Munroe, formerly head of Ray Brook Sanatorium and now at Onondaga, Dr. Wayne Penning, formerly head of the Stony Wold Sanatorium, Dr. Fritz Parry, now in rehabilitation work in Philadelphia, and our own Dr. Richard Gould.

Not only doctors, he recalls—"there were gangsters, too."

A somewhat coincidental note is that the wives of this reporter's two immediate predecessors as ambassador to Peru were patients of Dr. Hayes: Mrs. Selden Chapin and Mrs. Theodore Achilles.

John and Eleanor Hayes still live in the house in the Glenwood Estates which they purchased in 1926. It had been built by Branch and Callanan as the first of a series to develop that area, but the development failed to develop. At that time, the Hayeses recall, the trees had not grown in and you could see Lake Flower from the house even in summer.

When they first bought the house, it seemed a long way out, and Dr. Brown was some what dubious about the idea, saying, "Look how long it will take you to get out there and back."

There was always a car, but the streets weren't cleared and sanded as often as they now are. Dr. Hayes says he only once had to use a sleigh to visit his patients when there was too much snow and Ed LaBounty drove him around. But that was even before they lived in Glenwood Estates, and were residing at 76 1/2 Bloomingdale Avenue.

The financial climb up the ladder was something less than boomish. It was $60 per month at the University of Pittsburgh WITHOUT room and board but the exchequer skyrocketed to $75 monthly at Yale WITH room and board. And then it was affluence in Saranac Lake at $150 per month.

Dr. Hayes likes to remember that he and his good friend Dr. Henry Leetch were among the first to make political speeches here. Both were Democrats but the New Deal left them wondering. Dr. Hayes served one term on the Village Board. The date is somewhat obscure [1928] but Mrs. Hayes recalls that it "was during the bootlegging days."

Dr. Hayes has been active in most of the organizations in the village. A member of the Library Board, he remembers when Mrs. Ruth Worthington was first hired and someone "from the Park Avenue crowd," objected because she rode horseback "astride and in knickers!"

Then there was the Study and Craft Guild (now the Rehabilitation Guild), the Knights of Columbus, the Elks, the American Legion, and good works in general. It was Dr. Hayes who had the idea of placing benches around town for the weary patients.

And what now, after retirement? Well, Dr. Hayes is chairman of the Blood Bank of the Red Cross and he would like to build it up a bit. He confesses that, were it not for the Paul Smiths College students and Dannemora, the chapter's contributions would be way behind schedule.

Most of all, Dr. Hayes would like to write something of medical history… the story of Gabriels, the history of Dr. Brown. He'll keep busy, all right, you can bet on that. Right now, the Hayeses are looking forward to March and April on Long Boat Key near Sarasota, Florida. Then, they'll be back, because they love it here where they feel privileged to have been associated with great and wonderful people.