ALBION – It could make a strong case that no one in the area has literally compromised the quality of life for more people in the Albion-Cromwell area than Dr. Ken Cripe.
But after 50 years of chiropractic care for children ages 3+ and adults 98+, Cripe is retiring.
An Open House for Cripe will be held on Saturday from 1pm to 1pm at Blessed Sacrament Church in Albion.
“I originally wanted to retire when I was 55,” said Cripe. “My father died when he was 59 so I wanted some time to enjoy life.”
But when that provisional deadline came and went, he kept it. He switched part-time when Sarah Ragan bought his Albion site and equipment in 2018.
For the past three years he has been teaching classes every Tuesday and the first and third Saturday of the month.
But after Cripe started his practice in Cromwell on August 1, 1971, he said goodbye – albeit a little hesitantly.
“You’re like part of my family,” said Cripe. “There are a few people I’ve seen regularly since 1977.”
Cripe said he saw 6,000 different people in his Albion office.
After starting out in Cromwell, he opened his office in Albion 12 years later. In 2009 he closed the Cromwell office, a practice he had run for 38 years.
His retirement comes 12 years after he closed the doors at Cromwell and will end his career after 38 years in an Albion practice.
Cripe grew up on a farm near US 33 between Wolf Lake and Kimmel and graduated from Central Noble High School in 1966.
Cripe went to Purdue University to study astronomy in hopes of maybe one day becoming an astronaut, but soon changed his mind and decided to study chiropractic.
After doing a lot of heavy lifting on the farm, he had benefited from chiropractic himself.
After two years at Purdue, he moved to the Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa. By going summer, he completed the four-year program in just three years.
Then he returned to Noble County.
“It was just the thing back then – to go home,” said Cripe.
“He’s a very loyal person,” said wife Sharon Cripe.
Sharon said there have been patients whom Dr. Cripe referred doctors after discovering heart problems and others with cancer.
There was also a small child in the Cromwell area who couldn’t keep the milk under. The child, who was 6-8 months old at the time, was unsuccessful in treating his illness at Riley Hospital. Parents took him to Cripe Chiropractic.
“He was fine and fine after two treatments,” said Cripe.
The ability to improve people’s quality of life has long been a driving force in his practice.
“I have been told by patients that I have healing hands,” said Cripe. “It’s a great feeling to know that you’ve really helped people.”
Of all the thousands of people he has helped, the only time he refused to treat anyone is a memory that remains with him. He was working in his office when someone called him from the Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne. The lead singer of the band that was playing that night needed chiropractic treatment.
Cripe declined because he should have left the patients he had already scheduled for the day.
The singer? Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler.
“I refused,” he said. “For that I still kick myself every now and then.”
Cripe said the biggest change in chiropractic is the acceptance of its profession by doctors.
“In the past 15, 20 years, doctors have started sending people to see chiropractors,” he said.
In addition to his full-time employment, Cripe is an accomplished carpenter and enjoys gardening too.
He’s also spent countless hours helping his community in other ways:
• From April 1978 to May 2003 he was a member of the Cromwell Park Board
• From 1971 to present, he was a member of the Cromwell-Kimell Lions Club.
• From 1983 until today he was a member of the Albion Chamber of Commerce, an organization he currently serves on the board of directors.
He is also a member of the American Legion Post 243 and the Knights of Columbus.
“I feel a need to help my community,” said Cripe. “The Lions motto is ‘We Serve’.”