Okie from Muskogee: Ladd’s career spanned from hot dogs to radiology | Lifestyles

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For 87 years, Dr. George Ladd embraced opportunities to learn something new.

“I loved school, I loved learning,” he said.

He remembered his father asking him, “What do you want to do more than anything.”

“I said I always wanted to be a doctor,” Ladd said. “And I’ll never forget him saying, ‘So that’s what you’re gonna do.

His father was Chester “Chet” Ladd.

“Have you ever been to Chet’s?” It was my father. He created it in 1948,” Ladd said, recalling the first Chet’s Dairy Freeze on West Okmulgee Avenue.

“It was about the end of town,” he said.

Ladd recalled working at Chet when he wasn’t playing sports at Central High School.

He was a Roughers quarterback and remembers when the Indian Bowl was “a lot dirtier than it is now.”

“We didn’t have any artificial turf and the turf was pretty worn out at the end of the season,” he said. “Big crowds, both teams would be pretty packed every game. We had arguably the best football coach in Oklahoma, Paul Young.”

Ladd also played basketball although he was a little short. He remembers playing against a Bartlesville player named Dallas Dobbs, who went on to play college and professional football.

“I fouled before halftime and Dobbs had 23 points at that time,” Ladd said. “Your losses always make or break you. It’s not how you act, it’s how you react. That’s life.”

He also saw many advancements in radiology during his years in medicine. He remembers starting the practice at a time when X-rays were developed in a darkened room.

“That’s where the saying ‘the doctor will have a report tomorrow’ comes from,” he said. “Now the reports are instant.”

Since retiring in 1997, Ladd has spent his time playing golf and studying the Bible.

Start a hot dog business

George Ladd remembers helping build the first Chet’s Dairy Freeze and starting it in those early years.

“I remember my brother and I and my dad did most of the building work on the first building,” Ladd said. “What strikes me the most is that he borrowed money to open it. And when he opened it, he didn’t have enough money to give change, so he borrowed from his friends to give change in the coin drawer.

He said he worked at the hot dog stand mostly on weekends because he played sports in high school.

“When I went to Northeastern University, I came home and worked weekends,” he said. “I made some hot dogs.”

Ladd remembers meeting all kinds of clients. He said such work “teach you a lot about people”.

“I always thought it wouldn’t hurt anyone to work in the food business at some point in their life,” he said. “When people come to eat, they want to eat NOW. They don’t want to wait. They want what they want and they want it now.

There is now a Chet’s on York Street, as well as the original. A Chet’s opened in Bixby in 2020.

Ladd said he still goes for a hot dog once in a while.

“I still love her,” he said. “Here it is, 74 years later and it still exists.”

Develop love for the game of golf

Ladd didn’t always enjoy golf.

“My brother, who was a state tennis champion, also played golf, and I thought that was the most insane game until I was 22,” Ladd said. “He gave me an old set of OU clubs he had. Lo and behold, I started playing and fell in love with the game and have loved it ever since.”

He said he likes the challenge of improving.

“You are playing golf against yourself, against the golf course,” he said. “You happen to be playing with other people, but you’re actually playing against the course. You’re trying to beat the course, of course the course always wins. You’re never totally successful.”

Beating the course means beating par, the number of strokes needed to complete a round. Ladd said it got harder as he got older.

“It’s easier to shoot my age,” he said with a chuckle. “I have a friend who says ‘it’s nothing, I can shoot your age and he’s 50 years younger than me.’

Still, Ladd has gone seven holes in one over the years.

He said his favorite class is Teeth of the Dog in the Dominican Republic.

“There are I don’t know how many holes you actually play above the ocean,” he said. “The degree of difficulty is high.”

Sharing the Love of the Bible

When not in class, Ladd is in his office, studying the Bible. He has various Bible translations laid out within easy reach on his desk.

“I started with black, it’s a King James, next is New King James, American Standard, New Living translation, Amplified Bible and a chronological Bible,” he said.

Ladd said he studies and learns “who God is”.

“The two verses I use each morning are: ‘This is the day you have made, may I rejoice in it and rejoice in it’ and ‘Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing in your eyes, my Lord and my redeemer,” he said, adding that the verses mean “God is in control and I want to please him.”

He has been leading a Sunday school class since 1968.

“It’s the highlight of my week, and it always has been,” he said. “As much as I love practicing medicine, I love leading the Sunday School class to learn even more.”

Ladd prefers not to use the word teach.

“The Bible is a revelation from God,” he said. “If that’s true, then in all scripture, in every story, and in every event, the first thing we have to do is find God. The next most important thing is to find ourselves in relation to that.”

Q&A

HOW DID YOU COME TO BE A MUSKOGEE OKIE?

“My parents moved here when I was 5 from Little Rock, Arkansas.”

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT MUSKOGEE?

“This is my home. I grew up here, I made a lot of friends here, I had a good education here. The city has always been good to me, from my childhood to my profession here .”

WHAT MAKES MUSKOGEE A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE?

“More appreciation for education and progress. I don’t think the community has embraced education, so technology is taking a back seat in Muskogee, and we live in a technological age.”

WHICH MUSKOGEE PERSON DO YOU ADMIRE THE MOST?

“I have a lot of friends and a lot of people I respect, but the person who had the biggest impact on my life was former pastor Bob Woods, probably the most read person I’ve ever known. Not only was he a great spiritual leader, he was very learned and wise. He had been here for 23 years and started around 1970.”

WHAT IS THE MOST MEMORABLE THING THAT HAPPENS TO YOU AT MUSKOGEE?

“The most memorable thing was obviously my family. My first wife, my second wife, my kids.”

WHAT DO YOU DO IN YOUR FREE TIME?

“Obviously, playing golf. I like to keep my garden. I like to study, mainly the scriptures and the Bible.”

HOW WILL YOU SUMMARY MUSKOGEE IN 25 WORDS OR LESS?

“All my life I’ve heard of Muskogee’s potential, and in my experience, it’s never lived up to its potential. It’s full of good people. It’s a comfortable place to be. live, but it seems to be surpassed by most other towns in Oklahoma.”

MEET Dr. George Ladd

AGE: 87 years old.

HOMETOWN: Muskogee.

EDUCATION: Irving Elementary, Alice Robertson Junior High, Muskogee Central High School class of 1953; Northeastern State University, University of Oklahoma School of Medicine.

MILITARY SERVICE: US Air Force, 1961-1963. Captain.

OCCUPATION: Retired radiologist.

FAMILY: Married to Norma Ladd for 60 years before her death. Wife of five years, Betty; Daughter, Lynn; Son, Michael; son-in-law, Brad Smythe; three grandchildren and three step-grandchildren; Dog, Bailey, a cross between a Bernese mountain dog and a poodle.

CHURCH: First Baptist Church.

LEISURE: Golf.

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