Remembering and Honoring Dr. Michael D. Pedigo
By Louis Sportelli, DC
There are days and events that seem to stand out in our memory for one reason or another; Oct. 10, 2010 will be one of them for me and countless others. On the 10th day of the 10th month of the year 2010, Michael D. Pedigo passed away.
Historically, the number 10 has been used to signify and embody the highest degree of beauty or magnitude, e.g., 10 on a 0-10 scale. It has been said that 10 is the number of Heaven, of the world and of universal creation. The number also symbolizes completeness of order or a cycle. In many ways, both personally and professionally, Michael Pedigo was truly a 10, and he worked very hard his entire professional career to help complete the order he envisioned for the chiropractic profession.
Michael was a big bear of a guy who was truly a gentle giant - unassuming and modest in a disarming fashion, yet forceful and dynamic when the cause and need were appropriate. He had three loves: his family, chiropractic and his dogs. He is survived by Gladys, his loving wife of 41 years; daughters Michelle Holden and LaDona Chao; five grandchildren; and his sister, Tula Taylor.
Michael was a very private person, yet paradoxically was willing to expose himself and his entire life to an open-book examination by the attorneys for the American Medical Association in 1976 when he signed on to be one of the five plaintiffs in the Wilk, et al., vs. the AMA, et al., litigation. For many of those 15 long years of litigation, Michael and his family were exposed to untold stress and distress from every corner of the country. He often related how his fears and anxiety were relieved by the stable presence of the McAndrews brothers - George and Jerry - who in their own right are iconic figures in chiropractic.
The victory in the AMA suit is undoubtedly one of the singular outstanding achievements that will mark Michael's legacy, and the entire profession has perhaps been derelict in honoring him and the four other plaintiffs (Wilk, Bryden, Arthur and Lumsden) for their unwavering commitment to tackle the monumental foe with gusto and zeal.
After the Wilk v AMA litigation concluded, Michael was not one to rest on his laurels. He was an organization person with every fiber of his being. He was driven to organizational politics and accomplished a unique feat by working toward leadership in all of the organizations in which he was involved; and created a unity by his actions. His presidency of the California Chiropractic Association (CCA), the International Chiropractors Association (ICA) and the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) was indeed a feat of achievement and dedication that will not be repeated. Just think of the countless hours he dedicated to those organizations and the selfless commitment he made to help advance the profession he loved. Most would consider just one of those achievements a milestone.
Michael also served on the NCMIC Board of Directors, and it was wonderful to witness the warm exchange and friendly banter between all the doctors of chiropractic, regardless of their age, college of graduation or practice style. However, none was more endearing to witness than the camaraderie that existed between Michael and Jerry McAndrews, his lifelong friend with whom he now rests. They shared very similar organizational paths, dedication, commitment and unwavering love for their chosen profession. That type of personal responsibility truly set these leaders apart. They placed their professional aspirations very high and relegated their need for personal recognition very low.
Michael was committed to advancing his profession and was extremely excited when NCMIC started the NCMIC Foundation, and he personally witnessed the progress of research and what a dedicated and functioning foundation could accomplish. Michael's wife has deemed it fitting to request that any contributions in memory of Michael be made to the NCMIC Foundation (Mail Stop A3E, 14001 University Avenue, Clive, IA 50325) so that his dreams and desires to advance his beloved profession will carry on with research as the top priority.
Michael Pedigo truly leaves a mark where none existed. It is obvious by the many calls to my office and the e-mails I have received that he will be missed; he was indeed loved by many as a symbol of strength and a champion for his profession. Michael, my friend, we will miss you!
Next to the encounter of death in our own bodies, the most sensible calamity to an honest man is the death of a friend. The comfort of having a friend may be taken away, but not that of having had one. Shall a man bury his friendship with his friend?
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