The world has lost one of its oldest residents with the death Monday of Leila Denmark, a former Alpharetta resident. She was the 4th oldest person in the world and had Sandy Springs ties.
She had been getting round-the-clock medical care for many weeks. Before she moved to Morton Street in Athens to be with her daughter, and only child Mary Denmark Hucherson, she lived in Alpharetta and practiced medicine until she was 103.
Her career began during the early 20th Century when Denmark graduated in 1926 from the Medical College of Georgia. She was only the third woman to do so, according to a story in the Athens Banner Herald. She moved to Atlanta and was the first resident doctor at Egleston Children's Hospital.
According to her website, Denmark opened a practice in her home after Mary was born in 1930. She subsequently practiced pediatric medicine in her Atlanta home, then in Sandy Springs and finally Forsyth County, for 71 years.
She was devoted to her patients and their parents. She wrote a self-published book, "Every Child Should Have A Chance," that contained her common-sense ideas on child rearing and health. It sold thousands of copies.
That's not the only book that contained her knowledge, however. Several years ago, Madia Bowman of Cumming wanted to compile the advice Denmark had given her over the years. That was fine by the pediatrician, but she wanted Bowman to turn it into a book. What resulted was Bowman's "Dr. Denmark Said It: Advice to Mothers from America's Most Experienced Pediatrician," according to a story by Appen Newspapers.
Like many children raised in North Fulton, visited Denmark as a child. The decision by local parents to take their children to a woman well into her 90s for medical care was one part wellness and one part learning experience. Foster can still remember the no-nonsense wooden waiting room furniture and exam room table, coupled with the smell of iodine and a throat swab that seemed to go halfway down her esophagus.
In 2000 Denmark received the annual Heroes, Saints and Legends award, presented by the Wesley Woods Center at Emory University, Appen Newspapers also reported at the time.
She is survived by her daughter, two grandsons and two great grandchildren. The funeral is Thursday at 1pm at First United Methodist Church. Burial is Friday at 11am in Bulloch County, where she was born.