David Toll is a well-known man in St. Johnsbury. He came to town in 1951 and is a civic leader who's owned various businesses. By all accounts he's a respected man.
"This is great guy," friend Dave Kanell said.
Reporter Joe Carroll: You're happy here?
David Toll: I am.
But most people in the community know David Toll for something else. He's been a pediatric doctor for over 60 years, serving generations of kids in the Northeast Kingdom. He sees 20 to 30 children a day. And this is the busiest year he's ever had.
Dr. Toll grew up in the suburbs of Cleveland. One day when he was 16, his parents were called into the principal's office at his high school. His parents thought the worst, instead they were told: "You're son's been here long enough. He should be in Harvard," Toll said.
Off he went to Boston; the teenager was on track to become a doctor. But World War II slowed that down. The Navy needed a corpsman, but soon realized they needed doctors too, so back to medical school he went.
"My mother was a lawyer, my brother is a lawyer, my sister's a lawyer... I'm a black sheep, I'm a doctor!" he said.
The young doctor wanted to practice in the new sovereign country of Israel. Toll, who's a Jew, thought he would be needed there. Israeli doctors thought otherwise.
"They told me, that all very well, but we have more doctors than you do and they said you're not needed," he explained. "So I thought, I'm going to go somewhere where I'm needed."
That place was Northern Vermont. Most everyone accepted the young Jewish doctor.
"There was only one person that did object violently. He happened to be a physician," he recalled. "He said so one day in a public place and everyone jumped on him."
The public knew Dr. Toll cared for the patients. In the early days some couldn't pay, but that never stopped him from taking care of generations of families, including Stacey Randall.
Joe Carroll: Why do you come here?
Stacey Randall: I've been coming here since I was a newborn and I've just never stopped.
But mostly the patients are the little ones.
Joe Carroll: Some people might say, he's 87 years old, should he be practicing?
Dr. Toll: Uh hunh, well... they could say that if they wish.
He uses his waiting room as a gauge to find out if he still has it.
"So, if people are still coming and if they weren't getting better, they wouldn't be coming," he said.
His office looks like it's in a time warp.
Dr. Toll: It's not intentional, I don't do anything, I don't change anything.
Joe Carroll: Well, you're a busy man!
For the patients the dated décor is like a trip down memory lane.
Joe Carroll: How many patients do you think you've seen through the years?
Dr. Toll: Oh, I couldn't guess at it really.
He might not remember everyone's name, but it's a sure bet they remember Dr. David Toll.
Dr. Toll: I'm very happy here.
Joe Carroll: Are you?
Dr. Toll: Yes.
Working by his side is his wife, Bridget, an RN. They've been married 36 years.
PO Box 4508