Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens

THOMAS OTIS KLINGNER, M. D. Whether in the substance of our human nature or the spiritualities of an expectant future being, mankind is inclined to cling, with fierce tenacity, to not only the hope that the ego may not disappear, but that the tangibles if dissolving personally, may be fittingly remembered. To rescue, preserve and perpetuate was the mission of the ancient Chronicles, and this is the province of history; and equally so, of biographic narrative. "Man's sociality of nature," says Carlyle, "evinces itself, in spite of all that can be said, with abundant evidence by this one fact, were there no other; the unspeakable delight he takes in biography." So when a man like Dr. Thomas Otis Klingner, one of the best-known specialists of his class in Greene county, has reached the honored position in the vicinity which he has attained, it is meet that something of his individuality be set forth.

Dr. Klingner was born near Fair Grove, Greene county, Missouri, March 3, 1874. He is a son of John and Mollie (Shade) Klingner. The father was born at North Vernon, Indiana, in 1844, and there he spent his earlier years working on the farm and attending the district schools during the winter months, and later he began teaching in the rural schools, which location, in connection with farming part of the year, he continued for some time. He eventually emigrated to Missouri and located in Greene county, where he purchased a farm near the village of Fair Grove and there he still resides, having developed a good farm and reared his children in comfort, giving them proper educational advantages. For many years he has served his community as a local preacher in the Methodist church, in which he is an earnest and influential worker, and is called on by all denominations to conduct funerals and marriages. He is widely known in his end of the county and everybody is his friend. His good wife, who has proven to be a most worthy helpmeet, was born in 1845.

This family is of German descent, as the name would indicate, the paternal grandfather, August Klingner, having been a native of Bingen, Germany, from which country he emigrated to America in an early day, with his wife, and settled at North Vernon, Indiana, where he engaged in farming, and there he and his wife spent the rest of their lives. The maternal grandfather, Henry Shade, who was of Scotch descent, was a machinist by trade, and he resided at many different places, but spent the latter part of his life on a farm near Fair Grove, Missouri.

Seven children were born to John Klingner and wife, named as follows: Dr. Thomas Otis, of this sketch; Henry Augustus resides at Wray, Colorado, where he is engaged in the mercantile business; John W. lives in Springfield, Missouri, and is engaged in the undertaking business; Charles E. is a farmer and has remained on the homestead with his parents; George Mack, of Roswell, New Mexico, is professor of English in the high school there; Mamie Louise, who has taught school for about twenty years, has remained single and lives at home; Florence Elizabeth, also unmarried, lives with her parents on the farm.

Dr. Thomas O. Klingner was reared on the home farm and there did his full share of the work during the crop seasons, and during the winter he attended the district schools, later entered Morrisville College, at Morrisville, Polk county, Missouri, where he completed the course leading to the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy, however, was not graduated. When about eighteen years of age he commenced life for himself by earning his own living and obtaining money by teaching with which to educate himself, also followed other pursuits, and in 1895 he entered the Missouri Medical College at St. Louis, where he made a good record and from which he was graduated with the class of 1898 with the highest honors in that class. Returning to Greene county, he began the practice of his profession at Willard, where he remained three years as a general practitioner, then spent two years at Walnut Grove, this county, enjoying a good practice at both places. In 1903 he took the civil service examination and went to Washington, D. C., where he was given employment in the medical department of the Pension Bureau, remaining there three years to the eminent satisfaction of the department. The last two years there he had the management of the eye and ear department. He came to Springfield, Missouri, in 1906, established an office on Commercial street, which he has maintained for the past nine years, building up a large and lucrative practice, which is rapidly growing, and he is now located at 318 Landers building. He has taken his place in the front rank of his professional brethren who confine themselves to the treatment of the eye, ear, nose and throat. He has met with great success in this field. His experience in Washington City was invaluable to him, but in order to further equip himself for his chosen work he took a post-graduate course, in 1906, in the Chicago Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat College; also in 1912 took a post-graduate course in the Chicago Polyclinic.

Dr. Klingner is a member of the Greene County Medical Society, the Southwest Missouri Medical Society, the Missouri State Medical Association, and the American Medical Association, being a Fellow of the last named. He has been secretary of the Greene County Medical Society for the past five years, also has been president of the State Association of Medical Secretaries and counselor for the Twenty-eighth District. He is. oculist and aurist for the Burge-Deaconess Hospital, the Southwest Missouri Hospital, the Children's Home and the hospital for the St. Louis & San Francisco Railroad Company. He is also vice-president of the Southwest Missouri Hospital, and is secretary of the J. W. Klingner undertaking establishment. In all of the above positions of trust and responsibility he has discharged his duties in a manner that has reflected much credit upon himself and to the satisfaction of all concerned.

Dr. Klingner was married in 1900 to Effie May Kernaghan, who was born in Greene county, Missouri, November 27, 1874. She is a daughter of Jesse and Elizabeth Kernaghan, for many years residents of this county, who later made their home in Joplin, Missouri. Mr. Kernaghan, who engaged in contracting for many years, is now practically retired from active life. His wife died in Joplin in 1904 and was buried there. Mrs. Klingner was reared in Greene county and educated in the public schools here.

To our subject and wife two children have been born, namely: Keating Kenneth, born in Washington, D. C., in 1904, died in 1908, and Mary Elizabeth, born in Springfield, Missouri, January 10, 1913.

Fraternally Dr. Klingner is a member of the Masonic Order and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Politically he is a Democrat, and in religious matters is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, South.

Personally the Doctor is a gentleman of the highest integrity and sociability and the high position he has gained in the medical profession and the county is in every way deserved.


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