WEYMOUTH, NS – The portrait of a well-known Weymouth doctor now hangs inside a building named after him.
Ronald Muise is a resident in the Melanson Manor, the building named for Dr. Herbert J. Melanson, who was a family doctor in Weymouth until his death in 1961.
After a year of planning, Muise unveiled the photo at the manor October 30, in front of residents and some of Dr. Melanson’s extended family.
“The picture is not only for the present and future manor residents, but for anyone who visits – they can see it, and they will know who he was,” said Muise.
The man in the photo
Many present at the dedication shared their memories of the doctor, describing a hardworking man who cared more about others than about himself.
Born in Corberrie in 1898, Melanson grew up in the area and eventually attended medical school and returned to Weymouth after graduating in the 1920’s.
He built a house, set opposite the village’s fire hall, which would later become his office, where he’d see patients, sell prescriptions and file paperwork.
Melanson delivered nearly every baby during the years that followed. He also delivered Muise, whose father was Melanson’s cousin.
“He was a very dedicated professional and was well loved by everybody over the years,” said Muise.
The doctor accepted different types of payment, from money to chickens, for his services. His family often joke this is why he died poor.
“It wasn’t about the money for him,” said his great-niece Louise LeBlanc, of Belliveau Cove, who attended the dedication.
“He did it because he cared, cared about the people.”
Getting the portrait to the manor
Muise first came up with the idea while sitting in a waiting area at the Digby General Hospital.
A portrait of Dr. Melanson was hung on a wall in front of him, and caught his attention. He asked hospital staff about possibly putting the portrait or a copy of it in the manor.
The hospital then contacted the family, and reached Dr. Melanson’s daughter, Claudette Melanson in Moncton who, after being unable to travel to Nova Scotia, found another photo of her father – him standing in front of his renowned house – and then enlarged, framed, and donated it to the manor.
Several other family members, including Louise LeBlanc and her mother, Therese LeBlanc, were able to attend the dedication.
“It was so nice, having them there, to mark that moment,” said Muise.
The portrait now hangs inside the main lounge at the manor, on the main wall, where it’s visible to all those entering the building.
Muise installed a small plaque beneath the photo, which reads, ‘In memory of Dr. Herbert J. Melanson 1898-1961, for whom this building is named.’