WILBUR H. CANEY JR., M.D. MONTGOMERY CENTER
Wilbur H. Caney, Jr., M.D., of Montgomery Center died peacefully July 18, 2006, at home with loved ones at his side. Born April 5, 1915, in Troy, N.Y., he was the son of the late Wilbur H. Sr. and Mary Elizabeth (Sibbald) Caney. A graduate of Lasalle Institute (1934), Renssalaer Polytechnic Institute (1937) and Albany Medical School (1941), it was during his internship at Waterbury (Conn.) Hospital that he met “the girl of my dreams“ Josephine Buckingham, while assisting in her appendectomy, and married her in June 1942 before entering the Army Medical Corps. And so began what they called their 53year-long Great Adventure.
He was a consummate raconteur, and the Army years provided a treasure trove of stories, from training medical replacements in Camp Barkeley, Texas, to a year as C.O. of a medical unit in the C.B.I., taking the unit from Calcutta over the Stilwell Road and on the Burma Road to Nanning, China. From 1946 until 1981, which he called “the golden years in Medicine,“ he and Jo raised four daughters and he devoted himself to a general practice in Watertown Conn., serving also as a State Medical Examiner and Attending in Medicine on the staff of Waterbury Hospital. He was a lifetime member of the Waterbury Medical Association, the American Medical Association Conn. State Medical Society, the American Academy of Family Practice; he also served as director of the Watertown Foundation and an officer of the Litchfield County University Club. Old friends, four generations of patients, and others whose lives he touched over the years delighted him last year with a cascade of cards and calls on his 90th birthday.
He had a unique spirit and sense of humor, which stayed with him until the last. He never lost his passion for medicine and his interest in “complementary“ - and often controversial treatments, sharing medical and health information with many who continued to look to him for his wisdom and wellacknowledged diagnostic skills. He was very proud to be from a long lineage of medical doctors, beginning with Sir Robert Sibbald, who pioneered the development of medicinal herb gardens in the 17th century and founded the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh, Scotland. His love of Vermont began as a child spending summers at a family farm on Lake Champlain. He and Jo were avid golfers and skiers, which brought them to Montgomery Center in the 1960s on vacation.
After retiring in 1981, they split their time between their hilltop farmhouse in Montgomery and a home in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, finally settling in Vermont full time in 1990. After Jo's death in 1995, he remained in Montgomery with his beloved Schnauzer Charlie and a stream of visitors of all ages. Despite macular degeneration and several other health challenges, he was active until recently, crosscountry skiing, golfing, walking to his pond and The Rock where Jo rests, restoring stone walls, and serving as an officer and board member of the Hazen's Notch Association.
He is survived by his four loving daughters, Priscilla "Pixie" Caney of Benson, Elizabeth "Betsy" Caney and Paul Blum of Cambridge, Mass., Laurie (Caney) and her husband Arthur Holden of Canton, Conn., and Margaret “Mags“ (Caney) and her husband Stephen Conant of Burlington; four grandchildren of whom he was extremely proud, Jeffrey and his wife Sarah (Brown) Holden of Los Angeles, Joseph Holden of Duluth, Sarah Alden Conant of San Francisco and Molly Conant of Burlington. Bill was predeceased by his beloved wife, Jo; sister Mary Elizabeth (Caney) Cardwell, and Pixie's beloved Chandler Smith. He is also survived by his sister Sibbald (Caney) Hereth of Woodbine, Md., his brother-inlaw Donald A. Cardwell of Amityville, N.Y., sister-in-law Margaret (Buckingham) Alexander of Pleasantville, N.Y., and many nephews and nieces.
The family gives special thanks to the community of Montgomery Center. The support, affection and incredible friendship of community members and, recently, caregivers, the Franklin County Home Health Agency/Hospice made it possible for him to fulfill his dream of remaining at home. And deepest appreciation to guardian angels Colin Wood and Wendy Bova.
There will be visiting hours at the house Friday, July 21, from 3-5 and 7-9. Funeral services will be held at noon Saturday, July 22, in St. Isidore Roman Catholic Church, Montgomery Center. A reception will follow at the parish hall. A special memorial service and burial will take place at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family invites those who wish to honor Bill's memory to make a gift to the Montgomery Center Town Library (P.O. Box 448), or the Hazen's Notch Association for the Environment (P.O. Box 478), Montgomery Center, Vt. 05471.
- The Family of Dr. Wilbur and Josephine Caney