October 19, 2000


WVRC Meeting of 19 October 2000

BRUCE HARRIS was with us once again! RAY ZICKFELD brought him, and a number of you greeted him, which just shows how much we missed his being there. Along that line, several of us have formed a 'reading chain' during the week, reading whatever BRUCE selects while Caroline can get out for errands, etc. Those who are helping are Betty and Dolph Hoyt, YOE, the BEAK'S and the JACK HARRIS'S, RAY and the DEWHIRST'S. It was really gratifying to get such an immediate response to our request for help, and it's a win-win situation for all concerned. On that same subject, an offer: BRUCE no longer needs a second car, so they would like to sell their 1986 Mercedes - low mileage, one owner, all those good things. Please give them a call if you would like details, OK?

President Elect GEORGE DEA was in charge today - Steve was out of the state, and GEORGE filled in very capably. DICK LITTLESTONE led the Pledge, reminding us that our flag was flying on the USS Cole when she was bombed. PP JIM DOWNIE was giving us good background music before we were seated, and was joined by PP STEVE DAY, who led us in America. Next up was BOB THOM, who started with a poem about the values of friendship, and as part of his Invocation Time, suggested that "Worry doesn't help the future, but it sure can ruin the present". PP STEVE DAY reappeared, reminding us of the upcoming District Dinner at the LAX Westin, 6 p.m. on the 28th - and tickets have become available, if you call him right away. He then invited Alexander and Lindsay LENEHEN to come forward, accompanied by their parents. They both were presented with Paul Harris Fellowships, and PP TOM told us that Alex is just back from Colorado, while Lindsay is presently at Antioch University - it's nice to have the family all together again and they are justifiably proud of them both. PP STEVE reminded us of what a Paul Harris Fellowship investment of $1,000 will provide - it's a real bargain and can do a lot of good in the 3rd world, in particular. This ceremony was warmly applauded.

JACK HARRIS also reappeared, this time to introduce two visiting Rotarians, Bob Lamkins of Palos Verdes Peninsula, who is a fund-raiser for Loyola Marymount, and Aid Arum, from the Santa Monica club, who is in telecommunications. Aiko in turn introduced her assistant, Nancy, but YOE failed to get her last name (blame it on my tape recorder, which ran out of batteries…) RUDY ALVAREZ introduced his Special Guest Steve Waters. PP BOB WESSLING fearlessly reported on the continuing positive results of his coaching tips to the DePauw Tigers - they just beat Blackburn College 48 to 7! I mention his courage because he still seems to be Teflon-coated as far as being appropriately fined for this extracurricular coaching activity, but of course this may be due to Prez STEVE being away this week. Whatever the reason, justice must be served, sooner or later, as I'm sure all my faithful readers will agree. Lastly, HARLAN LEWIS reminded us of the Yearling Breakfast at the Holiday Inn this coming Tuesday, 0730.

BRUCE ROLF had some surgery earlier this week, but is home again and doing well. He and Marie had visited DAN PRICE when he was still at St. Johns, but DAN checked out yesterday, and we're still trying to find him. If anyone knows, please fill me in, and I'm guessing that DAN can use some visitation help, with groceries, errands, etc. As you know, he lives in Malibu so it will be a bit of a drive - but let's put Service above Self, and give DAN a needed hand at this time, please.

Another guest today was Rob Williams who will be our Ambassadorial Scholar, going to New Zealand for a year, starting this December. DICK LITTLESTONE introduced him, and reminded us that he just got his BA in French at USC! An outstanding young man, Rob is a world-class swimmer in the breaststroke, missing the Olympics by 4/l0ths of a second. He comes from a family of true diversity, his American father being a Muslim, his Australian mother is Jewish, and he speaks five languages. His three younger brothers are in school locally, and he has worked for Air New Zealand and the French Consulate. In New Zealand, he will attend the University of Auckland, and will get his Masters in International Relations there. During his talk, he mentioned that some people are discussing a merger of Australia and New Zealand, which was the first I had heard of this possibility. And now, after hearing his story, let's ALL get more active in promoting this Scholarship Program - attracting outstanding students like ROB shows its value, and we owe it to potential scholars to spread the word.

PDG ANDY ANDERSON then strode forward to introduce our speaker, DR RALPH BEASOM. ANDY pointed out that he and RALPH have been playing golf for over ten years, and when they started, they were both mediocre. RALPH has improved considerably, but in response to repeated inquiries, has consistently denied taking any lessons - just practices a lot, he says. But the other day, after finishing a round at Rancho, ANDY and RALPH walked by the club pro, who boomed out, "Hi, Ralph"!

Personally, I only had one regret about RALPH'S talk today - we didn't get any personal history, and I missed that. So I'm going to exercise my editorial prerogative, and REPRINT the profile I did of RALPH several years ago. Here goes -


Since I wasn't, I assume you also won't be ready for this - there are twin Beasom's - and naturally, both are physicians! Jim was born a few minutes before Ralph, both in Seattle in l922. Their dad was a Lutheran Minister, and I guess he and his wife figured that two such peas in a pod was enough. However, things change, and Rev. Beasom became ill - of all things from a very old high school football injury. A bone sliver in his nose was the culprit, and he was advised to 'go south', the theory being that a drier climate would cure him. So the family moved to LA in l927, first settling in Culver City, then moving to Glendale. His dad switched to teaching, first at Taft, then at Glendale College, specializing in debate and public speaking.

So Jim and Ralph went to the same public schools - and until Glendale High, they were even in some of the same classes. This led to what is now called grade averaging - that is, if one of them was set for an A, and the other likely to get a C, they both got B's - that way, neither one was singled out - and besides, they were so identical that their own teachers couldn't tell them apart! Once in high school, however, they were able to take different classes - this, despite the fact that both wanted to pursue medicine. As a senior, Ralph ran for Yell Leader, and he claims that half the class knew him, and the other half knew Jim, so he got everyone's vote...He also found time to be the Cadet Colonel, in charge of the entire ROTC unit, and was elected to the Student Council. They graduated in l939.

It may surprise you to find that they both then enrolled at tiny Midland College in Fremont, Nebraska, which was church - related. Yes, they both were premed. When they graduated in l944, they were both accepted for medical school at Loma Linda here in California, and at Crieghton, in Nebraska. At this point, their draft board made the choice for them - off to Creighton, since classes started three months earlier there. Graduating in l948, they then became interns together at California Hospital - and things got really tough. Besides the $50 monthly salary, 36 hours on and l2 hours off, there were serious communication problems. The P.A. would say, "Dr. Beasom, call so and so" - but, which Beasom? Patients or staff would start talking to them in the hall, and soon both parties wondered if they had the wrong one . The only positive result of all this was they then realized they could never practice medicine together.

When they completed their internship, Jim opted for the Army, and Ralph chose the Navy - alone at last! Ralph was the Regimental Surgeon for a year with the 5th Marines at Camp Pendleton, returning then to California Hospital for a three-year residency in surgery. He also worked at Orange County Hospital during this residency Meanwhile, he and Helen met when he was at Creighton - apparently, she could tell Ralph and Jim apart - while she was a nurse at Edmunson Hospital in Council Bluffs, Iowa. They were married in March l949, when he was an intern.

Next came Korea - for almost two years! Ralph, once again with the Marines, was stationed near the 38th parallel in the devastated village of Monson This was a field hospital, more or less - just like in the MASH TV show, but conditions were really terrible. They slept in tents, with one small stove, no electricity or running water , ditch latrines - and every two weeks the shower truck would arrive, filled with ice-cold water! The time was l953 to '55, the 'war' ending n l954 - but the only difference was there were less casualties in l955.

Helen had her hands full with Fred, born in l950, and Phil, who came along in l953, and they bought a house on Kelton. When Ralph was discharged - Obligation Completed, you might say - he went into practice with Airl Lundquist, a trauma surgeon who belonged to WVRC. Ralph joined WVRC in September l957. Their office was on Westwood Blvd, and when Ail died in l958, Ralph continued in solo practice, until he also retired. During these 30 years,, he served as Chairman of the Emergency Committee at Santa Monica Hospital - note that UCLA didn't open until the late 60's, and St. Johns started their Emergency service only in the 80's.

A bit of medical history, if I may: Until Dr. Lundquist, who was the Police Surgeon for WLA, got the system changed, the only full emergency service available on the entire westside was at Santa Monica Hospital - this meant, literally, that any accident or injury was first treated at the local police station, where they had, at best, a basic first aid unit. A terrible example - when Senator Robert Kennedy was shot at the Biltmore Hotel, he was first taken to Central Police Receiving Station, THEN to Good Sam, where he died. This was one catalyst in establishing full-fledged emergency rooms at all local hospitals, and thus Ralph became a pioneer in implementing this now-so-common practice. In his own practice, about l/3rd of his patients were private, another third were from industrial accidents (all Douglas Aircraft employees went to Ralph, for instance) and the last third were from auto accidents. Today all these are handled by trauma specialists - who didn't even exist when Ralph came aboard.

Ralph and Helen belong to St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Santa Monica, and he still volunteers at Ocean Park Community Center's Turning Point. Serving with four other professionals, he oversees research and development of a variety of new drugs for several pharmaceutical companies. And he finds time for golf, hiking, and reading. Grandchildren range from Fred's oldest, who is 6'8", about to graduate from high school, and is in some demand athletically, to the four kids of Don - three his own, one adopted. Ralph - I have to confess that I have always considered you to be the one, true Renaissance Man in WVRC, and I think your story bears that out.

Now, in response to the several of you who alluded to the possibility that I wouldn't get all of RALPH'S facts and dosages right, I offer this: The three major neurotransmitters that were known about when RALPH was still in medical school are,
# one, serotonin, which deals with emotions, particularly depression.
# two is dopamine, which helps to control muscle-motor functions, and thus can be used to treat the symptoms of Parkinson's, and
# three, acetylcholine. which can have a major effect on memory function.

In speaking of Alzheimer's, there is no test which positively proves it is present or not. B12 deficiency is caused by the decrease in acid produced in the stomach, the lack of which prevents B12 from being absorbed.. This deficiency occurs increasingly in many people as they become older. This in turn produces some of the symptoms of Alzheimer's, but dosages of B12 can help. This supplement can be taken in pill form, or for those with severe shortages of acid, shots can be given. It is relatively easy to check the level of B12 in your system.

Memory - several things will help to prolong this function. Exercise, vitamin E (400 MG), and avoiding fatty foods all are useful tools. Floating fatty particles in the arteries of the brain oxidize to create free radicals that subsequently damage the brain. Free radicals cause aging of all cells, so if we can neutralize them, that will slow the aging process in cells. If we can materially slow this process, say by 5 to 10 years, the patient will die of something other than arteriolosclerosis. In this regard, vitamin C works with water-soluble tissues, such as the eye. Vitamin E works with fatty tissues, such as the brain, and the body needs a variety of these substances to stay healthy.

Finally, what is homocystine? It is now newly recognized that it produces excess free radicals, which damage the walls of the arteries in our heart and brain. These free radicals can be easily neutralized by taking folic acid (400 to 800 micrograms), B6 (10 to 50 MGs) and B12 - from 200 to l000 MGs. This treatment helps to control hardening of the arteries, or arteriolosclerosis. Since arteriolosclerosis and B12 deficiency are both treatable, it makes sense to start the treatment early. And incidentally, anything that is good for the heart is also good for the brain. RALPH, you have certainly reinforced our belief that you are, indeed, the WVRC Renaissance Man. Thank You.

Thought for the Day - If you haven't struck oil in 5 minutes…stop boring. George Jessel.

YOE, Ernie Wolfe