Frederick Loren Stiers was born in Woodhull, Illinois, June 12, 1875, to Francis and Martha Stiers. He located, with his family, to Peoria when 14 years of age, studied pre-med at Knox College and received his medical degree from Washington University in St. Louis. He returned to Peoria in 1903 to start his practice and became acquainted with Charles and Anna Lily who owned a pharmacy, Lily Drugs Store, located at “four corners” was persuaded to establish his practice in East Peoria. He rented a room above Lily Drug Store until he could find a more suitable location. With a growing practice, he soon located to 521 E. Washington St. (now Remmert Funeral Home). He married Lillian Carolyn Ulrich in 1909 and they purchased the residence of Dr. McFall located three doors down at 531 E. Washington St. This home served as the doctor’s private residence and doctor’s office for the next 50 years. The Stiers were the parents to two children Fred and Carolyn. Many East Peorians recall Carolyn as a local music teacher.
Dr. Stiers delivered over 3,000 babies at home and at Proctor Hospital on Second Street in Peoria where he served as a member of the A.M.A. for over 50 years. He was awarded a life-time emblem by the American Medical Association, and in 1953 he was recognized by the Peoria Medical Society for 50 years of public service. He was among the first area physicians to perform a caesarean section, and with Dr. J. H. Bacon, administered the first blood transfusion performed in Peoria.
He started his practice when East Peoria was a thriving community of 700 people, making house calls using a buggy drawn by two horses and servicing an area that reached to Spring Bay on the North, Morton to the East and Groveland to the South. He purchased his first automobile in 1912 but kept the horses because at times they were more reliable than an automobile. In 1916 he purchased a Maxwell and retired the horses. The doctor treated mostly farmers, coal miners and factory workers and it was not uncommon for him to be paid in produce, eggs or melons for his services. Vivian Higdon passed on the following story: Henry Reichelder, when quite young, was a neighbor of Dr. Stiers and broke his arm while playing. Henry’s mother took him to see Dr. Stiers who confirmed the fracture and proceeded to remove the top of a wooded cigar box, snap it into two pieces and fashion a splint for Henry’s arm. The fee was five dollars.
Dr. Stiers’ achievements for the betterment of the community were as significant as his medical achievements. He served four terms on the village council, commencing in 1909, and was instrumental in the creation of the local electrical system and the paving of sidewalks. He served five terms on the elementary board of education when Central School housed both the grade school and high school, and served two terms on the high school board of education after the high school was constructed. He was an initial board member of the Fondulac Park District and instrumental in acquiring property for and the creation of Fondulac Drive.
Doctor Stiers shall long be remembered as one of East Peoria’s finest physicians. His dedication to both his patients and his community make him a man who will be well remembered. Doctor Stiers passed away Dec. 23, 1959, and is interred with his wife Lillian in Fondulac Township Cemetery.
Compiled August 2017 by Frank Borror