Clarence M. Westerman was born on 24 May 1886 in Union County, Illinois, the son of August C. Westerman and Harriet Marie Cover. Clarence was only one year old when his father, a baker, died on 1 June 1887. His mother then married Edward Augustus Mansur on 1 Dec 1889 in Mountain Grove, Missouri.

Dr. Westerman received his medical degree from Barnes University in 1906. He also served as a Professor of General Surgery at St. Louis College of Physicians and Surgeons and was a resident physician at Centenary Hospital. The 1909 St. Louis city directory showed his offices at 1343–1345 Syndicate Trust Building at 915 Olive Street. His home address then was at 3846 Cleveland Avenue. His home address in the 1920 U.S. federal census was at 6025 Pershing Avenue.

Dr. Westerman served in World War I, enlisting in June 1917 as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. He was later promoted to captain in February 1919. Following the war, he was in charge of the sanitary detachment of the 138th Infantry, Missouri National Guard, and twice served as commander of the Richard Anderson Post of the American Legion.

On 10 April 1918, he was married in New York to Dixie Marshall. They had one son, Ronald Clardix, born on 30 September 1921 and died on 23 December 1996 in Los Angeles, California. Dixie filed for divorce in 1929, taking custody of Ronald. She passed away on 11 Nov 1957 in Los Angeles.

Clarence Westerman
Clarence Westerman and a portion of his elephant collection
Photo in the collection of Linda L. Mansur
Used with permission

Dr. Westerman was frequently mentioned in St. Louis newspapers for his medical practice, hobbies, and interests. Prior to World War I, he served as chairman of the St. Louis Boxing Commission. In addition to his medical practice, he also owned the Westerman Physical Therapy Laboratories Company. In his later years, his practice was on the ninth floor of the Arcade Building at 801 Olive Street.

During prohibition, in 1929, he was charged with “violating his physician’s permit” and selling eight whiskey permits at $3 each to two prohibition agents without a medical examination. He filed twice for bankruptcy, in 1922 and in 1931, citing failure of his patients to settle their accounts. His list of patients included many of those in the boxing and wrestling world.

From 1922 to the mid-1930s, Dr. Westerman was the voice of Santa, reading letters from children, on radio station WIL at the request of station owner, Lester Benson.

One of Dr. Westerman’s hobbies was his collection of more than 400 elephant images and statues of varying sizes and shapes, which he kept in his office. An article in the 11 September 1927 issue of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat profiled his collection and belief that elephants brought him luck, beginning with a small ivory elephant he kept in his pocket during World War I.

His last residence was at 5611 Theodosia Avenue in St. Louis. Dr. Westerman passed away on 23 November 1938, following a six-month illness, from septicemia following a mastoid operation at Veterans’ Hospital. He is buried in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery in St. Louis.

Written by Linda L. Mansur
December 2020
© 2021, St. Louis Genealogical Society

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Last Modified: 29-Apr-2021 15:00