Forks in the Road: Oswego’s baby doctors three

Dr. Joe Mather.

The triumvirate of Oswego doctors Joe Mather, Jim Grant and Bill Quigley had a virtual monopoly on the newborn baby business in Oswego for many years. Nary a baby was born at Oswego Hospital without their involvement for several decades.

They built their offices on the site of the former Castle School

at 42 Montcalm St. in Oswego, where it is still manned today by a newer generation of OB/GYN physicians.

Dr. Bill Quigley was the first of the three to retire. He then served many years on the Oswego School Board.  Dr. Quigley and his wife, Margaret, raised six children (Patrick “Barney”, Kathy, Meg , Mary, Terry and Jean) in their spacious home on West Seventh Street. They also maintained a summer cottage on Lake Ontario, behind the site of the old St. Mary’s chapel.  Dr. Quigley remarried after Margaret’s passing to Jean Steinburg, who died in 2008.

The firstborn Quigley offspring, Patrick “Barney” succumbed to melanoma at the relatively young age of 52. Kathy, a speech therapist, married Dr. Robert Perkins, now retired Oswego School Superintendant. Meg, a social worker, who lives in Oswego, Jean Hance of Potsdam and Terry, also a speech therapist, who married Carl Patrick and resides on Lake Road in Oswego.

Dr James F. Grant was the premier pediatrician of the group, but also did his stint in the delivery room. He attended the birth of all of our four daughters. I kiddingly complained to him that it was his presence that insured the delivery of only girls, and then he instructed me with a smile that it was my predilection, not his, that caused the female conflagration. He did a great job on all four.

In later years, Jim served with me on the Oswego College Council with great distinction and became the first director of the Oswego County Health Department. He also did a weekly health-related broadcast on local radio station WSGO for many years.

The Grants made their home on East Utica Street. Jim had three sons: Tim, Jamie and Brian. Tim became a very successful pianist and noted musician, and played at many top clubs in New York City before returning home to his native Oswego several years ago. Tim recently died in 2018, predeceased by his brother Jamie in 2012. Jim’s widow Connie still lives in the Oswego area. The Grants also had two daughters: Lisa and Bridget.

To say that Jim Grant had a keen sense of humor would be a gross understatement. He was always quick with a laugh or a joke. I don’t remember ever seeing a frown on his face.

Dr. Joe Mather and his wife, Mary Jane, made their home on West Fifth Street, near the Oswego city line. They had six children, one of who, Joe Jr., became a doctor and joined his dad’s practice. Joe Jr. died way too young at the age of 56 in 2012.  He and his wife Vicki had four children, the eldest of whom, Dr. Joseph A. Mather continued on in the medical tradition, and lives in New Orleans, Louisiana. Their daughter, Caroline, of Florida, and sons William and Thomas.Joe Sr. remarried Marge DiBlasi.

Their son, Dan Mather, is still associated with the medical practice as an administrator and lives in Oswego as does his dad, Joe Sr. Other offspring include sons Timothy, Christopher and Patrick, and daughter Katharine. The Mathers enjoy spending time in their family vacation complex on St. Croix in the Virgin Islands, and several of Joe Mather’s offspring have become avid sailors and boating enthusiasts.

The Grants, Mathers and Quigleys were a very powerful and collective force in the Oswego Community, and the legend of these OB/GYN practitioners lives on in the many thousands of Oswegonians who they helped bring into this world. Their contribution was enormous and their progeny continue to shape the Oswego Community in a significant and positive way.

John T. Sullivan is a former Oswego Mayor and the author of three books, “Forks In The Road” parts I and II and an autobiography “Pee Not Your Pants — Memoirs of a small time mayor with big time ideas,” available locally in the river’s end bookstore and online.  His column appears exclusively in The Palladium-Times on the first Thursday of each month.

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