Farmworker Movement Documentation Project - Presented by the UC San Diego Library

Dr. Caleb Foote

1943 – 2010

 

Text from email to LeRoy Chatfield, from Caleb Foote,

dated September 17, 2003.

 

“LeRoy,

Please list my years of service as June,1971 to July 1,1973; name as Caleb Foote,M.D.; job title as Physician, Medical Director Rodrigo Terronez Medical Clinic in Delano,California.

Peter Rudd,M.D, Peter Cummings, M.D. and I met with Cesar in La Paz to discuss the formation of the Rodrigo Terronez Clinic and the health care plan for the United Farm Workers.

We were the first physicians to work full time for the Union. In July,1971 we arrived in Delano to work on all of the logistics necessary to opening the Clinic; ordering equipment, supplies, medications, and setting up the medical laboratory, x-ray, registration, offices, staff, etc.

We were joined by Dan Murphy, M.D. and his girl friend, Janet Alexander, who gave us all a crash course in Medical Spanish. We also went to work in getting to know the local doctors and obtaining staff privileges at the Delano Community Hospital. The Clinic opened it’s doors in the late summer of 1971 offering 24 hour outpatient medical care for farm workers, their family members, and Union staff.

We borrowed extensively from the Kaiser Permanente HMO health care model, providing full outpatient and impatient care with only small deductibles for office visits, lab, x-ray and prescriptions.

Peter Rudd, Peter Cummings, and I were all Conscientious Objectors and had made a 2 year commitment to Cesar and the Union to serve our alternative service requirement to the U.S. Government. During those 2 years we delivered care to the Union 24/7/365 providing the farm workers with their own personal physicians and improved quality of care.

Following our 2 year commitment to the Union, Peter Rudd and Peter Cummings returned to Stanford medical residency programs and I joined the Emergency Medicine Department at Kaiser Hospital in Hayward California.

The years with the Union were filled with lots of excitement and learning, 18 hour days, and lots of hard work.

LeRoy, I hope this information is useful to you and the UFW historical project.

Sincerely, Caleb Foote”

Doctor Caleb Foote

Doctor Caleb Foote / Polly Chavez behind in stripe shirt

(on left) Janet Alexander & Doctor Dan Murphy

Doctor Peter Rudd

Doctor Dan Murphy

(left) Doctor Peter Cummings

(middle) Lupe Murguia with Doctor Caleb Foote

Obituary / San Francisco Chronicle  /  November 14, 2010

“Caleb Foote V Died at home in Berkeley on his 67th birthday, November 3, 2010. He was born in Stockton, Ca. in 1943 to Reverend Arthur Foote and Rebecca Clark Foote. The family moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, where his father became the minister of Unity Church. Caleb survived a life-threatening illness as a young child, which influenced his tenacious spirit for life. He attended St. Paul Academy and thoroughly enjoyed military school, sports, and friends. Summers were spent with extended family in Southwest Harbor, Maine. Caleb married Susan Bartlett in 1965, and they raised two children, Rebecca and Ben. Caleb graduated from Harvard in 1966, and received his M.D. from Case Western Reserve in 1970. After an internship in surgery at U.C. San Diego, he spent two years as medical director of a clinic for migrant farm workers in Delano, Ca. The family moved to Berkeley in 1973, where Caleb practiced emergency medicine at Kaiser Hayward. After 15 years in the ER, Caleb helped create and was chief of the Division of Sports Medicine and Medical Orthopedics at Kaiser Union City. Caleb and Susan divorced in 1987, but share the legacy of a wonderful family. In 1988, Caleb met his future wife, Laurie. They shared a loving partnership for over 22 years. Caleb retired at 60, after 30 years at Kaiser. He embraced life so fully. He fulfilled his dream of building a cottage on the family property on the coast of Maine. He constructed it almost single-handed over three summers. He loved sailing, hiking, water skiing, biking, swimming, golfing, and watching college football, especially the Cal Bears. He had a passion for learning, and continued studying a diverse range of topics. In 2009, Caleb was diagnosed with a rare leukemia. He was fortunate to receive a perfect match for his bone marrow transplant this last summer. However, a cure was not to be. Caleb said he was sad to leave the “party” and his beloved family and friends. He will be remembered for the twinkle in his eye, his warm smile, welcoming voice, and big hugs. He so enjoyed being a father, and was so proud of the fine individuals his children had become. He was a nurturing, playful, and joyful grandfather. He was a gifted physician. He was a mentor to many in his roles as doctor, father, uncle, coach, and friend. He was a true friend and most loving husband. Caleb is survived by his wife, Laurie Goodfellow, his daughter, Rebecca Clark Greenwald(Jeff Greenwald), his son, Benjamin Eliot Foote (Faye Katherine Foote), grandchildren, Allie and Will Greenwald, and Liam and Mateo Foote, sister, Fran Stehman, former wife, Susan Foote, sisters-in-law, Shannon Goodfellow and Mary Goodfellow, father-in-law, Patrick Goodfellow, nephews, Patrick Fowler and Laurence Fowler, and nieces, McKenzie Fowler, Conchita Foote Huddlestan, Pepper Cwik, Bonnie Lockhart, and Kristin O’Gorman. Sincere thanks to his physicians, especially Dr. David Baer and Dr. Wen-Kai Weng, his nurses, and other caregivers who were part of Caleb’s team. A celebration of Caleb’s life will be planned in the spring. Donations can be made to PBS-KQED.”

Dan Murphy writes . . .

“Farewell, Caleb! You are forever embedded in the glorious legend of the RT Clinic in Delano, California.  Simply put it was the most amazing of times. All of us can count our blessings having been  a significant part of that struggle for human dignity. And Caleb, one more verse of “Hound Dog” before you go.   Dan Murphy” (November 15, 2010)

 

© 2004–2012 Si Se Puede Press

Primary source accounts: photographs, oral histories, videos, essays and historical documents from the United Farm Worker Delano Grape Strikers and the UFW Volunteers who worked with Cesar Chavez to build his farmworker movement.

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