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Dr. H. Thomas Barnes: A Quiet Hero for Chiropractic

By Lois Kundel, CFRE, Senior Development Officer
Dr. H. Thomas Barnes
Dr. H. Thomas Barnes

Chiropractic was his profession, his hobby and his passion. Having had rheumatic fever as a child, Harold Thomas (Tom) Barnes, D.C., Davenport ’57, helped to operate the family farm located north of Jefferson, Iowa, after graduating from high school. However, he was forced to retire from farming at an early age due to a back injury.

He and his wife, Bernice, then moved to Davenport so he could embark upon a chiropractic career. After graduation, Dr. Barnes purchased a chiropractic practice in Audubon, Iowa, where he became known to his patients and friends as “Doc.” Dr. Barnes had a good sense of humor, was kind-hearted and was always ready to help, which he demonstrated time and again serving as the Audubon Wheelers’ football team doctor for 43 years. “He was a natural leader,” Bernice said. “He could get people to volunteer and also motivate them to work together.”

Dr. Barnes was very involved in his church, serving as an elder and a deacon. He also served on the Audubon Community School Board for 10 years and was president of the board during the time a new high school was built. Dr. Barnes served two terms as mayor of Audubon, was the president of the Audubon Chamber of Commerce, served as chairperson for Audubon’s centennial and quasquicentennial (125 years) celebrations and was also a member of many civic organizations. A 50-year member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Dr. Barnes was instrumental in helping the organization to build a nursing home in Mason City and an apartment complex in Marshalltown, Iowa.

With Bernice at his side, Dr. Barnes never missed a Palmer Homecoming. He was a member of Palmer’s Presidents Club for 18 years and was named a Fellow in the Palmer Academy of Chiropractic in 2011. While Dr. Barnes was deeply involved in the ICA, Bernice served as president of the ICA Auxiliary. Vacations consisted of trips to visit family or attending chiropractic conventions and meetings. Dr. Barnes was an exceptional man, a quiet hero who gave freely of his time and talents to help better the lives of those around him.

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