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Sunnyside optometrist's aunt honored posthumously

SPOKANE - A woman known for her life-long dedication and devotion to improving the eyesight of others, Dr. Mae Booth-Jones, was honored posthumously at the annual convention of the Optometric Physicians of Washington.

"Accepting this award in memory of my aunt is a great honor," Dr. Jack Hale of Sunnyside said at the presentation, made in Spokane recently.

The honor posthumously bestowed on Hale's aunt from the statewide medical group is called the Mon G. Wallgren Memorial Award. The award is named after Dr. Wallgren, who not only worked as an optometric physician but also served as the 13th governor of Washington state, as well as a U.S. congressman and U.S. senator. The award acknowledges the recipient's contributions to the profession of optometry.

Dr. Booth-Jones is recognized as a pioneer for optometry and for women. She was instrumental in getting the first optometry law passed in both Minnesota in 1901, the first state to legalize the profession of optometry, and in Washington state in 1908. In addition, she was the first woman elected to an office in an optometric association, serving as secretary of the Eastern Washington Optometric Association in 1934. She was also the first woman to serve as president of a school of optometry, that occurring from 1920 to 1923 at the Washington College of Optometry in Spokane.

"In addition to her professional accomplishments, Dr. Booth-Jones was the matriarch of a family of nine licensed O.D.s in both the U.S. and Canada," said Hale. "Her life and accomplishments are an inspiration to optometric physicians throughout Washington state and across the nation."

Hale's aunt received her optometry diplomas from the Trowbridge College of Optometry and received additional optometric education at the Chicago College of Optometry.

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