The Golden Headed Cane
Each year since 1946, the beautiful ebony cane with an engraved golden head is given by the retiring president to his successor. The names of past presidents and the dates they held office are inscribed on gold bands running down the cane. We are told that the cane, actually a walking stick, was designed in Philadelphia. The late George H. Hocking, M.D. received the cane from his wife as a Christmas president in 1884.
Dr. Hocking donated the cane to the BCMA. In a special meeting held at his bedside, Dr. Hocking presented the cane to John S. Greene, Jr., M.D., who in turn presented it to his successor as president, William H. F. Warthen, M.D. Dr. Warthen made the first formal presentation as a part of his retirement as president of the BCMA. The last paragraph of his remarks reads as follows:
“And now it is my rare privilege to perform a ceremony which is new to the Association but will become a hallowed tradition in the future annals of our great Baltimore County Medical Association. I address you, Mr. President. I hand you the Golden Headed Cane of the Baltimore County Medical Association. I hand it to you in loving memory of Dr. George H. Hocking, our late confrere, who thought so much of the Association through the years that he parted with one of his dearest worldly possessions. By his unselfishness and devotion Dr. Hocking through this gift has shown us a symbol of that which we all strive: to earn the wholesome respect from all who seek our aid and whom we seek to aid by giving all that we have to our great love, medicine. Treat this Golden Headed Cane fondly, tenderly, lovingly, and let it continue to be a symbol and example of unselfishness and a life devoted to service as Dr. Hocking would have you do.”