Judge family alumni at the Oct. 2006 Davenport campus graduation. Oct. 2006
graduate James E. Judge, D.C., is left of then-president Donald Kern, D.C., F.P.A.C., (front row,
fourth from right) and fellow graduate Christopher Michael Judge, D.C., is on Dr. Kern’s right.
Anne Judge lived in Davenport in the
1920s and went to a chiropractor. She
had good results and decided being a
chiropractor would be the perfect career
for her brother, James B. Judge. Since
he didn’t have tuition funds, Anne talked
to B.J. Palmer, D.C., F.P.A.C. B.J.
set up a payment plan for James to
attend Palmer. James B. Judge, D.C.,
graduated from Palmer in 1925 as the
first in the Judge family to become a
chiropractor—thanks to his sister, Anne.
Since Dr. James Judge, there have
been four generations of Palmer chiropractors
in the family—more than 30
in total, including Palmer graduates
by the name of Judge, Sheedy, Heffron
and Dickerson. Michael Judge, D.C.,
Davenport ’73, of Albia, Iowa, is a
third-generation Judge chiropractor.
Why have many family members become
Palmer chiropractors? “Tradition
is the main thing,” he says. “That was
always my guiding light. My cousin,
William A. Heffron, D.C., Davenport ’60,
inspired me to attend Palmer College in
Davenport. When things got tough for
me I thought of my family and their
experiences. We’re Palmer Proud.”
Dr. William Heffron, who practices in
Centerville, Iowa, says his influence on
Dr. Michael’s decision to attend Palmer
was minimal. “My uncle James E.
Judge, D.C., Davenport ’54, graduated
from Palmer,” he says. “Mary Judge
Heffron was my mother. Mike has given
me more credit than I deserve. He said
he wanted to be a chiropractor, but
was planning to attend a college in
Missouri. I asked him if he wanted to
go East to Palmer, why was he going
South? Later he said my question
turned him in the right direction.”
Dr. Michael Judge’s dad, John J.
Judge, D.C., Davenport ’47, and his
uncle, Tom Judge, D.C., Davenport ’51,
were killed in a car accident in 1953
when Michael was six years old. “I
wanted to do what my dad did; he was
my inspiration,” Dr. Michael says. “He
was very active in the profession; he
served as the first president of the
Prairie State Chiropractic Association
in Illinois. I think if he’d lived he would
have accomplished much more. Dr. B.J.
Palmer was so affected by my dad and
uncle’s deaths that the April 1954 graduating
class at Palmer, which included
their two brothers, Ed and Gene, and
brother-in-law Merle Hodges, D.C.,
Davenport ’55, was called the Judge
Memorial Class. That was a rare honor.”
Dr. Michael Judge started his practice
in Illinois in 1974, then set up a practice
in Albia, Iowa, in 1989. He and his
family have lived in the town of about
3,800 since then. His wife, Donna,
manages the practice.
“My dad told his brothers that you
need to get involved in something
bigger than you, and chiropractic is
bigger than all of us,” Dr. Michael says.
“I’m 71 and I love what I do. The fact
that a patient can look at you right
after an adjustment and tell you they
feel better already—is incredible. It’s
truly amazing what you can do with
your hands and the gifts God gave you.
Chiropractic is a terrific profession.”