It was after Dr. Ron Hill was involved in a motorcycle accident as a young man that he was introduced to chiropractic.
The unfortunate incident — that happened in Washington state — left him with physical problems he never had experienced before, and it was chiropractic care that enabled him to heal.
He decided treating others sounded like a rewarding career.
After 47 years in the business, on Dec. 31, Hill officially retired from working as a chiropractor in DeWitt.
Now, as the 75-year-old looks back on his time giving patients relief and immersing himself in a community that always has felt like home, Hill is grateful to have found his true calling in life.
He credits a higher power for guiding him throughout his life, and for leading him from his birthplace in Alberta, Canada, to his second home in DeWitt.
In the late 1960s, he attended Palmer College of Chiropractic, Davenport, and graduated in 1973.
From there, Hill came straight to DeWitt, a place that was reminiscent of where he was born.
“I really liked DeWitt,” he related. “It was a small, farm community like the one I came from. The people were very much the same … friendly, they would talk about cows, talk about corn. I loved it in DeWitt. It was the perfect place for me.”
Hill practiced together with Dr. Troxell. Part of his job was helping to train interns. Four years later, Hill bought out Troxell and officially became the sole owner of Hill Chiropractic.
Not only did he strive to provide his patients with the best care possible, but Hill also endeavored to be active in the community, including Toastmasters International, a nonprofit educational organization that promotes communication, public speaking and leadership.
“I got in with the Toastmasters very early after I came to DeWitt,” he said. “I held every office imaginable. It was very helpful for me, speaking in front of groups.”
In the 1980s, when the farm crisis was at its peak, Hill very much wanted to do anything he could to help. He traveled to Dallas, Texas, and took a course by author and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar. Taking what he learned about positive thinking back to Iowa, Hill taught a similar course in DeWitt as well as Maquoketa.
“I used that course to help cheer people up,” he shared. “I wanted (farmers) who were struggling to know they were still valued.”
Hill also was active for many years in the DeWitt Chamber of Commerce and served one term as president. He also joined the DeWitt Noon Lions Club — of which he still is a member — and took on the role of welcoming new members and introducing them to the club.
Over the years, he and his wife, Sally, also cared for 22 foster children.
“There was a need, and there was something so rewarding about it,” Hill related. “These children needed care and a good example … it was so enjoyable.”
He and Sally live in Clinton, where they are close to several of their grandchildren as well as their church and Bible-study friends.
Both have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, which Hill said factored into his decision to retire.
“My wife was diagnosed several years ago,” he explained. “I just found out last year. The tremors I have affect the quality of my adjustments. Chiropractic is a very physical job (and) when you get to be 75 like me, it’s not as easy to do that. And I always want to give my patients their money’s worth.”
Over the years, Hill worked with many student interns from all over the world, including South Korea, Australia, France and New Zealand, but there was one intern in particular who arrived as an intern several years ago, who ended up being the perfect person to take over the business.
“Jacob Cram worked with me,” Hill noted. “I ended up selling the practice to him. He’s a wonderful family man and is wonderful for DeWitt.”
Now that he is retired, Hill said he intends to remain active in his church, and he and Sally hope to do some traveling.
When he thinks about what he’ll miss most, Hill said it will definitely be interacting with his patients on a daily basis.
“I could go on and on thanking people,” he shared. “I always enjoyed the camaraderie I had with my customers. Not only being able to help them, but also just being able to visit and talk with them. I love my patients very dearly, and I still have a lot of good friends who were my patients. That was the real joy of being able to go to work every day. I’m going to miss them, but I believe (my retirement) was meant to happen.
“The Lord guides us and diverts us in life, and this was the next step He wanted me to take. It was time.”