Brothers delivered by Dr. Wayland visit the Plainview campus

Release Date: July 10, 2009    

PLAINVIEW – When Glenn and Harold Guengerich stepped through the doors of Gates Hall Friday afternoon, they entered a world they didn’t know existed. Born near Plainview in 1916, Glenn was interested in finding out more about the doctor who delivered him, Dr. James Henry Wayland.

“This used to be Wayland College and I always figured he was connected, but I didn’t know for sure,” Guengerich said. “This time, I said I was going to find out for sure. Then I see his name on the stone out here and see that you have this big statue of him.”

Guengerich and his younger brother, Harold, born in 1918, lived with their parents in the Snyder community. They moved to Iowa when Guengerich was about 2 ½ years old, and he has lived there ever since. Wanting to know more about the history of this area, Guengerich has made five trips back to Hale County. On one of those occasions, he actually met Dr. Wayland.

“He was still in an office downtown,” Guengerich said. “He was a slight built man. I went to see him and said, ‘I’m one of those Guengeriches that lived in the Snyder community, and I was just wondering if you might have a record of my birth.’ He had an old chair that he sat down in and a roll top desk. He pushed the top up, pulled out a drawer and flipped through a bunch of papers, pulled one out and said, ‘That’s my record of you … Baby Guengerich.’”

Dr. Wayland’s record listed the name as “Baby” because Guengerich’s parents couldn’t agree on a name.

“Every child when he is born should have a name, but my parents couldn’t agree on a name,” Guengerich said.

The hired hand who worked for the family decided to name the baby herself, saying that if the family couldn’t decide they would just call him Buster. The name stuck and the family referred to him as Buster for the first six months of his life, never giving him an official name.

“Dr. Wayland finally came out and said they better give me a name because he hadn’t registered me with the state, yet. He had to do that within the first year,” Glenn explained.

His family finally sat down and came up with the name, Glenn Wayland Guengerich. Of course, he was still Buster until he was nearly 4 years old and his grandfather finally said the family should start calling him by his real name, or he would be Buster for the rest of his life.

The name became a point of interest for Guengerich.

“I started to wonder about this Dr. Wayland. If I was named after him, I wanted to know a little more about him,” he said. “I knew about Wayland College and your famous girl’s basketball team. They used to come to Iowa to play in the early days. I knew about this college and wondered if he had something to do with it. I found out he did, but I didn’t know that until today. That’s the reason we’re here.”

Harold, who was six months old when the family moved back to Iowa, was also delivered by Dr. Wayland. The younger Guengerich now lives in Denver, while Glenn still makes his home in Iowa. Glenn’s son-in-law, Jim Yoder, drove the duo to Hale County to make the historic trip.