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Dr. O’Dell celebrates 72 years in practice

In a profession that inspires its practitioners to care for patients well past the traditional retirement age, Clair W. O’Dell, D.C., Davenport ’36, is reaching new levels of practice longevity. In September 2008, he celebrated 72 years as a chiropractor, and, at age 92, is still taking care of patients. In addition, he and his wife, Martha, celebrated 71 years of marriage in July 2008. Martha O’Dell, C.A., graduated from the first Chiropractic Assistant class at Palmer in 1936, and has been involved with Dr. O’Dell’s clinic in one capacity or another over the last 72 years.

Dr. Clair O’Dell practices in Southgate, Mich., with his son, Roger O’Dell, D.C. They have been in practice together for 40 years. Dr. Clair sees patients on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Over the years, he has inspired 215 patients to become chiropractors, and 38 family members have joined the profession, including his sons Drs. Roger and Jim O’Dell, and daughters Kay and Joan, who are chiropractic assistants.

His passion for chiropractic and dedication to helping his patients to better health is evident not only in the many years he has devoted to his profession, but also the way he lives his life. One of Dr. O’Dell’s quotes graced the walls of Palmer’s Davenport Campus: “The ingredients for success are ever present, and are of the spirit. The formula includes loyalty to cause, dedication to principle, and unselfish service beyond the call of duty.”

From his first chiropractic office, opened in Wyandotte, Mich., in 1936, Dr. O’Dell built a flourishing practice now housed in a 12,000-square-foot clinic in Southgate. It won the International Chiropractors Association award for the biggest and best-equipped clinic in the country in 1949. He has received numerous recognitions for his service to chiropractic, including being named a Fellow of the Palmer Academy of Chiropractic in 1967, and receiving a lifetime service award from Parker Seminars in 2002.

Dr. O’Dell plans to keep serving his patients to the best of his ability for as long as possible. In an article in the Nov. 26, 2008, issue of his hometown newspaper, The News-Herald, about his 72 years as a chiropractor, he said, “I have no plans of slowing down. My life’s goal has been to stay healthy and busy in chiropractic getting sick people well again and to help inform the world of the wonders of chiropractic.”

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