Born in West Virginia, longtime Kauai physician and surgeon “Dr. Sam” Wallis (1903-73) earned his B.S. degree at North Carolina State and his M.D. from Washington University, prior to serving a 10-year internship at Barnes Hospital, St. Louis, Missouri.
From 1933-34, he was resident-surgeon at John Sealy Hospital in Galveston, Texas, before coming to Hawaii in 1935, where he practiced medicine for short a time at Straub Clinic, Honolulu, before joining Dr. J.M. Kuhns, who was then the physician for Lihue Plantation and Grove Farm Plantation, Kauai.
Dr. J.M. “Jay” Kuhns (1884-1964), by the way, served as a physician on Kauai and Niihau for 43 years, beginning in 1916 when he joined Makee Sugar Company as resident physician, and ending in 1959, when at age 75, he retired as Niihau’s doctor.
During his long medical career on Kauai, Dr. Wallis was chief physician and surgeon for Lihue Plantation, Grove Farm Plantation and Hawaiian Canneries, and consulting surgeon at McBryde Sugar Co. and Mahelona Hospital.
He was the primary founder of the Kauai Medical Group in 1967, which grew from five physicians to 25 full- time physicians by 1973, the year of his death, and he was instrumental in the planning and development of new facilities completed at G.N. Wilcox Memorial Hospital in 1971, which made it one of the most modern hospitals in the state of Hawaii.
That same year, he was admitted to Queen’s Medical Center, Honolulu for surgery to correct an aneurysm that left him partially paralyzed.
Upon his return to Kauai in 1972, he practiced medicine from a wheelchair, and his transportation until shortly before his death was a converted golf cart given to him by his friends.
“Dr. Sam” Wallis and his wife, Dora Rice Wallis, had one son, Samuel Jr., and two daughters, Carolyn and Mary Margaret.