Opened 1956 / Closed: 1976

A special thank you to Dr. Joseph E. Scherger of La Quinta, California for contributing these old news clippings after I contacted him in May, 2013. Dr. Joseph Scherger is a nephew to Dr. Frank Scherger who practiced in La Puente from 1956 - 1976.

Glancing over these photographs taken in 1976 and published in both the Highlander and the San Gabriel Valley Tribune bring back so many memories. Dr. Curtis Sauer delivered me in 1957 at Lark Ellen Hospital in West Covina (which is no longer there). And both remained our doctors through their closing.

The picture of the waiting room, with the pictures on the wall and those wooden chairs are just as I remember them to even the one picture of the doctors chatting with the sign-in window shutters in the background. The only thing missing was that medicinal aroma that always filled the air in the waiting room lobby when I had to go there when I was a kid. Hope you enjoy the photographs - If you have any photo's please email us at LA PUENTE DAYS


Dr. Frank Scherger, left assists as Dr. Curtis Sauer removes the nameplate on his office door. (4/76)



The awful impact of the high cost of doctor's Malpractice insurance premiums was felt by hundreds of residents of La Puente early this month when their doctors, Doctors Curtis Sauer and Frank Scherger closed their office at 15905 Main Street after serving the community since 1956.

The two doctors met while in medical school together at the University of St. Louis and both interned at the St. Louis County Hospital from 1938 to 1940. After graduation, they kept in contact with each other, hoping to someday go into partnership together.

However, Dr. Sauer took a job as a doctor with a Gold Mining Company in Ecuador and Portobello. It was there where he met his wife, Mariana, who was his secretary and married her in 1942.

Being a Reserve Officer, he was loaned out by the Army to the State Department to give health and medical aid to the people in South American countries. From 1942 - 1945, he worked for the
Institute of Inter-American Affairs, being assigned to the health and medical division to work building hospitals and medical treatment centers in Ecuador and Colombia, dispensing medical aid to the personnel in essential was industries. For his work in these countries, he received an Army Commendation from President Harry Truman during WWII. It was during his stay in Ecuador that he learned to speak Spanish so fluently.

Doctor Scherger, on the other hand, spent five years in the Army Medical Corps and then set up practice in his hometown, Delphos, Ohio from 1946 - 1956. Dr. Sauer joined him for three years, but then came to California to join a group of doctors in Long Beach. In 1953, he asked his friend Dr. Scherger to come to California to look around for a place for them to set up practice. He and his wife Pauline did so. Just by chance, he landed in the town of La Puente, when he got lost coming from Pomona. He liked the small town and he rented a two room office from a long time resident of La Puente Joe Lima. Dr. Sauer joined him 1956 and they set up their practice in the same office that they closed on April 1, 1976.

When they first opened, they saw patients morning, afternoons and evenings six days a week and on Sunday by appointment. Often during their 20 year stay they would see as many as 60 to 70 patients a day.

"We finally decided to keep the office open from 9 a.m. to 12 noon (sometimes going far into the afternoon), Besides being Medical Practitioners, or "country doctors", we both did general surgery in the local hospitals in the area until 1971." stated Dr. Sauer. "I think the day of the small private practitioner is nearing an end because he wont be able to afford the insurance premiums. Yes we gerneral practitioners  or country doctors so to speak, are the last of an era.

His former patients think so too. They know they'll never see the likes of such doctors as Drs. Sauer and Scherger who have dedicated their lives to serving the medical needs of their families.

CLOSING UP SHOP (April, 1976)

Dr. Frank Scherger, left, helps his long time partner Dr. Curtis Sauer close the office they maintained on Main Street in La Puente for 20 years. High insurance premium was a main factor in Dr. Sauer's retirement.


While reminiscing as they prepared to close their office the two doctors looked back on the many crisis and emergencies they had taken in stride and found that some very funny things had also served to break up the daily routine of seeing patients. 

Dr. Scherger, who is known for his blustery style and outgoing personality, told about a patient of his that he had been treating for arthritis. He said, "Oh, you'll be be up and walking around in a week". But she did not believe him, so he said. "All right, if your walking around in a week, then your going to have to bring me that fat goose in your back yard and I'll have it for dinner. And if you aren't up within a week. then I won't charge you for the treatment".

A week later the woman patient came with the goose under her arm and she was walking spryly around. She left it in the office over night and the next morning the nurses found that that the goose wouldn't let them in so they had to call the woman to come down and call the goose off. She rescued the girls. P.S. Dr. Scherger said "That old goose was so tough even the soup wasn't any good".


Taking a moment to reflect on the past 20 years of their practice together in La Puente are left, Dr. Curtis Sauer and Dr. Frank Scherger. (4/76)


Discussing a patients diagnosis is now a past memory for Dr. Sauer and Scherger. (4/76)


Patients waiting for for Dr. Sauer and Scherger will have to find new doctors to treat them after many years having trusted their health care to them for two generations. (4/76)


From left, Dr. Curtis Sauer, Vivian Hale, head nurse and bookkeeper. Christine Luna, Mrs. Hale's two daughters, Ann and Leslie and Dr. Frank Scherger. Christine and Ann Hale assisted the Doctors while Leslie helped her mother with the bookkeeping and appointments.
Photographs were taken by Cecil England - Highlander Publications
Writers Mrs. Kathleen Jorgenson, Highlander Publications and Jan Garvin of San Gabriel Valley Tribune.
Blog compiled by Gary Cliser