Hinsdale Central Foundation, Partnership in Lifelong Learning

Dr. Wells Shoemaker

Membership level: Hall of Fame

Dr. Wells Shoemaker

Inductee Year 2017
Dr. Wells Shoemaker
Wells carried an odd set of interests in math, physics, Spanish, jazzy verbs, and everything aquatic to California. After managing the Hinsdale swimming team and covering swimming and tennis for several sports pages, he picked up some of the same chips, becoming the Stanford swimming team manager and sports editor of the Stanford Daily. Just as Hinsdale won the Illinois State Championship with Don Watson's guiding hand, Stanford won the NCAA's in 1967 with coach Jim Gaughran. Both legendary coaches were admitted to the International Swimming Hall of Fame on the same night in 2016.

Wells brought his fascination with California water polo back to start a co-ed team at the Clarendon Hills pool. Wells finished his undergraduate curriculum in 3 years and entered the Stanford Medical School, assistant coaching freestyle sprinters while learning the names of all those muscles.

While in med school, Wells started a free clinic for farm workers in the San Joaquin Valley. That clinic grew to become the sole source of care in a small, dusty town, and it recently celebrated its 45th anniversary. Wells chose pediatrics as a career path, calling it "care for the future," splitting his residency training between LA and Stanford. After 25 years of office practice and teaching, Wells began a second medical career path in the care for large populations. He became medical director of a statewide consortium of medical groups caring for 18 million people, chaired the California Quality Collaborative, and served on Governor Brown's ambitious Ten Year Health taskforce.

While marvels abound in American medicine, so do disappointments. Asked what he does instead of retiring, Wells replies: "Try to make healthcare reform live up to its promises."

Married in 1970 to Sandie, Wells helped raise three daughters, taught them how to manage in the woods. He opened Salamandre Wine Cellars in 1985 and pursues hobbies of woodworking and wilderness photography.

Wells wishes to express his enduring gratitude and warm memories for Don Watson, Donald Diekelman, Reino Takala, Gerald Kusler, and Ronald Roughton.
Scroll to top