Marilyn Reinish is the daughter of Dr. William M. Lees, who was Chief of Surgery at “the San” from about 1949 until its closing in 1974. Here she recalls some memories from her childhood experiences of the MTS:
My memories include Christmas Mass every year where Wanda Klos RN sang the most beautiful Ave Maria I had ever heard. Of course being Jewish limited my exposure, but Wanda had a beautiful, beautiful voice! I recently heard about Wanda through a friend, but was not able to reach her. Wanda worked along side my Father for all his time at ‘the San.”
Once I was in a car with several others, driving through the beautiful grounds of MTS and I remember Wanda seating me on several coats and trying to hold me up in the car so I would look bigger and older and the Security Guard would not question me. I was not 16 and none of us wanted to have problems with Security.
One year, my Dad arranged for me to follow the Head of Lab around to gather data and material for a Science project. The project took First Place in the State Competition, thanks to all the help I received. I remember a pair of “dried” lungs on a stand that my Father brought home from MTS and placed in our dining room. The lungs had lots of black spots all over them. Our family lecture that night was on the effect of smoking on lungs. That lecture and data quoted was years before the Surgeon General’s report on the hazards of smoking.
Years later, a friend of mine in college told my Father that he also grew up a few houses away from the San. He said he would always see people throwing paper bags over the fence on the grounds and he wondered what the bags contained. My Father asked if he ever checked it out.”Of course,” said my friend, “It was a bottle of liquor.” My Dad burst out laughing and acknowledged that was often an issue.
I had copies at one point of an article my Father wrote about his concerns of a resurgence of TB and how Public Health would handle the problem.
My father died in 1981 and did not live to see so many of his concerns and predictions come to fruition. He was so dedicated to his work, his patients and to his work family at MTS. The staff seemed to care so much. It is comforting to remember the good parts!
(Editor’s note: Governor Thompson’s father was head of the MTS lab and worked there many years.)