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R.I.P. Dr. William Holmberg and Dr. Wayne Zemelka

1/29/2013 (Archived)

Palmer and chiropractic recently loss some great influencers with the passing of Dr. Holmberg and Dr. Zemelka.

William F. Holmberg, D.C., F.P.A.C., F.I.C.A., 81, passed away on January 6, 2013, in Naples, Fla. He was born in Birmingham, Ala., and served in the U.S. Army and attended Birmingham Southern College and the University of Alabama prior to matriculating at Palmer. He graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1955 and was in private practice in Rock Island, Ill., until he retired in 1995. Dr. Holmberg was the major fundraiser for the Wilk et al v AMA anti-trust case. 

Dr. Holmberg served in various administrative positions at Palmer College from 1983 to 2005, including vice president of Alumni and Development. He chaired divisions of three capital campaigns for Palmer, for the Alumni Auditorium, the Campus Center and the David D. Palmer Health Sciences Library. He also served on the Palmer Board of Trustees from January to October 1983. While serving as president of the Chiropractic Centennial Foundation (CCF), Dr. Holmberg was the guiding force behind the CCF and the 1995 centennial year celebrations. He was named a Fellow in the Palmer Academy of Chiropractic in 1970 and served as the Fellows historian for many years. Dr. Holmberg also was active in the Association for the History of Chiropractic (AHC) and received the AHC’s prestigious Lee-Homewood Chiropractic Heritage Award in 1999. He continued to serve Palmer College as a consultant for the alumni, development and enrollment areas from 1998 to 2005.

He married his wife, Barbara, in 1956. They had two daughters, Teresa and Kris. Following in her father’s footsteps, Dr. Kris Holmberg graduated from Palmer College in 1988. 

From the beginning of his long career, Dr. Holmberg was extremely active in the profession and passionate about chiropractic. Even into retirement he continued to influence countless chiropractors to be more active in their profession, to take greater pride in their history and to be better practitioners of their art. 

Palmer Chancellor Dennis Marchiori, D.C., Ph.D., remarked, “Dr. Bill Holmberg has been a significant figure in the Palmer community for decades. His work, passions, and accomplishments surround us at the College, in our alumni and profession.”

Wayne H. Zemelka, D.C., 77, of Bettendorf, Iowa, passed away on January 11, 2013 in Davenport, Iowa. He graduated from Palmer College’s Davenport Campus in 1975 and practiced in Davenport until 2011. 

Dr. Zemelka was a fixture at Palmer in many different roles for decades. He was a member of the Technique Department faculty from 1990 to 1998 and also taught in the master’s program for several years, as well as taught business classes. He retired from full-time teaching in 1998, but continued to teach technique elective courses. In addition, he was an innovator in the marketing of chiropractic, particularly in the video production arena. Prior to joining the Technique faculty, Dr. Zemelka developed Palmer’s video production process as well as a professional studio, and produced a number of technique training, patient education and other videos. He also was president of the Faculty Senate. In 2004, he married Carolyn Lane in Davenport. 

He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1952 to 1956, and was an excellent private pilot. As a student at Palmer, he founded the Veterans’ Association and served as its president until 1975 and its advisor until 1979. A strong supporter of Palmer College, Dr. Zemelka was a seven-year member of the Presidents Club and a founding member of the Heritage Endowment Wall.