The Marty Family: NWHSU’s first ‘Chiropractic Family’
You cannot talk about Northwestern Health Sciences University without talking about the Marty family. There are 15 Marty Chiropractors, spanning three generations, starting with brothers Victor Luke, John, and Mark.
It all began with their mother Louise. When two of her young sons fell deathly ill, the family doctor said there was nothing he could do. The pastor came to pray, but he also asked if Louise had considered chiropractic.
A chiropractor came to the home and treated the sick boys until they came to health. It was because of this that Louise dedicated her boys to chiropractic.
She couldn’t have known that this would grow into three generations of chiropractors. Victor Luke was joined by his children Paul, Stephen, Michael, Jonathan, Joel, and Susan; Mark was joined by his sons Dan and David; John by his sons Philip and William.
In the 1980s, the Marty family made up 1% of the chiropractors in Minnesota. Later, two of Louise’s great-grandchildren, Jason and Michelle, joined the family profession, bringing the count to 15.
Supporting the Profession, and the School
Nearly all of the Martys graduated from NWHSU, and they were presented with the first “Chiropractic Family Award” at Homecoming in 1988. They received a standing ovation, and each doctor was presented with a letter of recognition from the governor.
That same year, Victor Luke was presented with the first honorary Doctor of Laws degree because of his invaluable contributions to the school and profession throughout his career. He was voted Chiropractor of the Year and had two gubernatorial appointments to the MN State Board of Chiropractic Examiners. Nationally, he served on a federal committee that instigated Medicare coverage for chiropractic.
He also served on the NWHSU Board of Trustees for 22 years, and played an integral role in the school’s move to St. Paul, and then to Bloomington. He loved to be with the students and helped develop the alumni board. He attended every homecoming and stayed active at the school his entire life; in 2005 he was honored with a distinguished service award at the Stars Among Us Gala.
Of course, above all, his focus was his patients. “He lived for people,” said his daughter Susan (Sue). “He was so dedicated, and all of my uncles were too. Chiropractic was their life, and I guess it was mine too.”
Sue followed in her father’s footsteps as a chiropractor and supporter of the school, serving on the alumni board and then the Board of Trustees for 9 years.
When it came to supporting NWHSU, she and her brothers were always up for the task, big or small. “We even wallpapered the clinics, we set up the first food service…we have stories. We had such a fun time.” said Sue, laughing.
As NWHSU celebrates 80 years, the Martys have reached 70 years in the profession, part of the fabric of the school since the beginning. Talking about NWHSU now, Sue sums up what it has meant to her family: “It feels like home.”
“There’s not a better profession”
“Everybody thinks my dad talked me into it, but that’s not true,” said Sue about her chiropractic experience. In fact, she didn’t even choose chiropractic right away, but enrolled in an orthopedic physician’s assistant program. She was taken out of the program and placed into a nursing program: “they found me and told me that as a woman I wouldn’t be able to do the work.”
She switched to chiropractic. “There’s not a better profession,” she shared, “I can’t imagine anybody not loving what we do.”
For the Marty family, the reward of being chiropractors was helping patients realize their bodies were wonderfully made, and if they took proper care of it they could live a healthy life.
As part of our 80th Anniversary Celebration, we’re telling the stories of legacy families at NWHSU. If you have a story you’d like to share, please send us an email.