Record career

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 1, 2006

By Karin Winegar, Special to the Tribune

Dr. Wallace A. Winegar is retiring from a practice that has been as much life calling

as profession.

Winegar, 83, the oldest chiropractor practicing fulltime in Minnesota

according to Board of Chiropractic Examiners records, will pursue

his interests in antiques, asian military weapons, trout fishing and gardening beginning in January 2006, after nearly six decades of healing work in Albert Lea.

In 1956, Winegar and his wife Deanne, and their two daughters moved to Albert Lea from Wells, Minnesota where he had served as the first chiropractor for that small town.

He purchased a practice from Dr. Gerhardt Morreim, D.C.

in the Hyde Building. Albert Lea had perhaps two or three chiropractors at the time and a couple of osteopathic physicians. Statewide, says Winegar, there were about 400 licensed chiropractors.

Winegar was born in Brandon, Iowa, and

attended Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, and National College of Chiropractic in Chicago, Ill., after serving three years in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He chose the then relatively obscure profession because of personal experience with its ability to promote healing


I was injured by a horse on the family farm when I was 14, and medical doctors wanted to operate on my back, but I started going to a chiropractor and got relief,(R)he explains.

The chiropractor who treated him, Dr. Walter Martin in Vinton, Iowa, became his role model. This form of medical care

not only worked for him, but it appeared to be a low cost, low technology method of healing that suited his belief in the healing power of nature.

Chiropractic increases mobility and

boosts the nervous system and circulation and allows nature to take over the healing process,(R) he explained.

In 1965, when the Hyde Building underwent remodeling, he was part of a foursome who built

the professional office building at 222 East Main Street; the other partners were

the late Bertram Cooper, CPA, the late

Ed Christian, attorney,

and Bob Sherman, insurance agent. By then the family had a third daughter and a reputation of being !health nuts(R)3interested in natural foods, healing and exercise.

Winegar was one of the first chiropractors to receive limited hospital privileges in Albert Lea, and he was one of the first

in the state to incorporate acupuncture into his practice. He pursued acupuncture studies beginning in 1970 at the Northwestern College Chiropractic of in Minneapolis, attended seminars

around the country and earned


by the National Certification Commission

for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.

I’ve seen it be effective with back, shoulder and knee problems, mostly musculoskeletal problems, and it s good for osteoarthritis,

the Mayo Clinic even says that now ,(R) he explained

In 56 years of practice, Winegar has seen medical care change significantly and chiropractic become widely popular; currently,

he is one of 2,354 licensed chiropractors in the state according the Minnesota Board of Chiropractic Examiners.

When I first started, there was hardly any health insurance, now there is group health insurance,

Medicare, and workman s compensation. For awhile, that made health care better, but now coverage is decreasing because the cost of medical

insurance is so high and people have to pay larger co-pays.(R)

“Chiropractic care should have equal access to insurance coverage with MD care,(R) said Winegar. !That has improved3they used to pay us less than MDs 3you were lucky if the insurance companies paid you $30 a treatment. Now we can get $70 or $80 a call.

There should be more access to hospitals for those chiropractors who want

to use the laboratories and refer people and treat them there.

The Veterans Administration

now has 26 hospitals with chiropractors on staff around the US. I suspect we will get one in Minnesota s VA hospital soon.(R)

During his practice, Winegar has seen Albert Lea transformed from a town centered on farming and manufacturing to a regional center of medical care.

The Albert Lea Medical Center is now the largest employer in a town that used to be dependent on Streators, Inc., Scotsman Ice Machines and Wilson & Co.

He said he has also observed a growing need for medical care, largely because of Americans poor lifestyle choices.

“People need to take more responsibility for their own health, diet and exercise,(R) says Winegar, who credits his wife Deanne

for being

a one woman health care system, fitness coach and natural foods cook. He attributes his own longevity to practicing what he preaches and

!My wife not letting me eat what I want,(R) he said. !It s also luck of the genes: my mother died at 55 of cancer and my father died at 72 of a heart attack.(R)

Winegar has transferred his patient records to Dr. John Peterson, D.C.

and will hold an open house Thursday, Jan. 5 from 2 to 6 p.m.


the Peterson office in the Freeborn-Hartland Bank at 1454 W. Main St. in Albert Lea.