Hoyt B. Duke's hands have brought relief to thousands of people.
Since he opened his first practice on Greene Street in Augusta in 1947, Duke said thousands of patients have visited his office seeking an alternative to traditional medicine for relief from pain and other ailments.
After more than 58 years in practice, the 88-year-old chiropractor from Evans says it's now time for him to retire.
When asked what he and his wife Jinx plan to do now, Jinx provides the answer.
"He hasn't had much time to worry about that," she said. Duke's final day, Feb. 15, was a normal day, he said.
His first thoughts of retirement came in 2002, when he closed his downtown office. Duke was persuaded to work part time in the office of his friend, Kim Lombardy, and only see a small number of his more faithful patients.
"I have a lot of old faithful patients I treated over the years and I've had a lot of ... doing what I'm doing," Duke said.
"The thing about doctors of chiropractic is that we're almost always independent," Duke said. "We get no communication between each other. (But Lombardy and I) had that privilege of working together for the past (few years)."
Duke said he was drawn to chiropractic care in 1926 when his father had a digestive tract ailment that could not be identified. His father, a towering figure, who was losing weight rapidly, saw a chiropractor in Newnan, Ga. and his health improved.
In 1939, after a dissatisfying stint at the Georgia Institute of Technology and work for a railroad company, Duke was persuaded by his chiropractor to enter the profession.
Though his studies were interrupted for nearly five years by his Army service in World War II, Duke graduated from Lincoln Chiropractic College in 1947 and in that same year opened his practice in Augusta.
"There were very friendly people here. I decided to start my practice (in Augusta)," he said. "I made a lot of house calls (in the beginning)."
From such beginnings, Duke's practice grew and he rose in national prominence, serving as president of the American Chiropractic Association, President of the Georgia Chiropractic Association and as president and trustee of the Foundation for Chiropractic Education and Research.
Duke also served on the Georgia Board of Chiropractic Examiners for 18 years.
Some of the proudest moments of his career, Duke said, included helping bring chiropractic care more into the mainstream of the American consciousness and lobbying and testifying before the U.S. Senate to make chiropractic care more available to the poor.
Through the years, Duke said, he's seen a lot change in the practice of chiropractic medicine. Colleges continue to advance the techniques and treatments, he said.
One thing that hasn't changed is the personal connection to his patients, he said.
"I got to know people real well," he said.
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