Dr. Robert E. Engles and his wife, Dr. Phyllis Pyrum Engles were named the Magnolia Festival Beau and Belle during opening ceremonies Thursday evening at Market Square.
Sally Clark, chairperson of the committee responsible for selecting the Beau and Belle, introduced the couple.
“There are so many deserving citizens in this area and we wish we could honor them all, but a selection had to be made, so we have chosen a couple who we feel are exemplary in ministering to the health and welfare of the citizens of Bryan County for many, many years — way back when doctors made house-calls — even in the middle of the night,” Clark said.
Both of the Engles were honor graduates of Durant High School, Southeastern Oklahoma State University and the OU School of Medicine. They met when Phyllis applied for a summer job between her first and second year of medical school. She had an interview with Dr. Bob and she not only got the job, they married in December 1962.
The youngest of five brothers, “Dr. Bob” served his internship at Wayne County in Michigan and his residency in general surgery at Methodist Hospital in Dallas, Texas. After serving two years in public health, he entered private practice in 1961 in Durant with two of his brothers, Dr. Leroy and Dr. Raymond Engles.
“Dr. Bob’s list of accomplishments, his service to numerous organizations and his financial support of education reads like a who’s who in medicine,” Clark said.
He is a past president of OU’s School of Medicine Alumni Association and a fellow of American College of Surgeons. A long-time member of Durant Kiwanis Club, he was chosen as Durant’s Citizen of the Year in 1998.
Dr. Phyllis Engles interned at Methodist Hospital in Dallas and entered private practice in 1970.
“Her’s may be the first face some of you saw upon entering this world because she delivered lots of babies in our local hospital,” Clark said.
She is past chief of staff of the Medical Center of Southeastern Oklahoma and long-time secretary of Atoka, Bryan and Coal County Medical Society. She served on the Physicians Advisory Board of Blue Cross Blue Shield.
“Their beautiful yard is a testimony to her love of gardening,” Clark said. “She says her proudest accomplishment is helping raise two children who are productive and compassionate adults and very involved parents,” Clark said.
Bob Jr. of Montgomery, Alabama, is a vascular surgeon and father of three little girls. Their daughter Ann is a real estate lawyer living in Austin, Texas. She has a son and a daughter.
The Engles are avid readers, world travelers and members of Durant First Baptist Church. They are also nature lovers.
“Dr. Bob, in his prime, planted 1,500 trees, including 1,000 pines each year on their farm on Blue River,” Clark said. “Almost any stray cat in the neighborhood knows where to go for a handout, but there are two special kitties, Sally and Miss Molly, who enjoy luxurious accommodations in their backyard.”
The Engles are proud of their organization of employees who became a part of their family. Most employees worked more than 25 years with the Engles. The couple retired from medical practice in 1999.
They were presented proclamations honoring them for their service to the community.