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Longtime doctor ready for new adventure

After nearly four decades servicing the Valley in chiropractic care, Dr. Gary Davis of Davis Chiropractic Clinic in North Bend is ready to retire.

"It's time," he said. "It's time to load up the motor home and travel around a little bit."

His wife Jenny, a licensed massage practitioner who worked out of her husband's office for 22 years, retired last Monday, though she still is actively involved in office duties as the clinic winds down. Premier Chiropractic will be taking over the currently leased space at the end of April or early May, Gary said.

"It's time for a new adventure," Jenny said.

In 1970, the couple, both 67, moved to the Valley from Edmonds. They immediately set up shop.

Gary said he received the first business permit the city had given out since the early 1960s.

"Other doctors thought he was crazy for building a clinic out in the middle of the hills," Jenny said, noting that often her husband's response was that there were actually people living in the hills.

As the first wellness clinic in the Valley to provide acupuncture, massage and reflexology along with chiropractic care (which will remain under the new ownership), Gary said he used to have up to 80 clients a day visit his location, which was, until 2005, the site that now houses North Bend Animal Clinic.

Most clients were loggers or those working in the Weyerhaeuser mills, he said.

"Now it's bedroom communities," he said about his current clientele.

He said now he mostly sees patients who have carpal tunnel syndrome, neck and back pain (often the result of spending long hours in front of a computer) or for a wellness adjustment.

Married for 44 years, Jenny and Gary dated briefly in third grade and then recommitted themselves with a four-year courtship during high school. They married in 1961 after Gary served in the Army in 1960; she studied cosmetology.

The couple has two adult sons in their 40s; Kevin, who is serving in the Army in Iraq, and Ron, who works in local construction.

Jenny began her career in massage therapy in the 1980s when she and Ron attended massage school together.

"It sounded pretty good and it was a way to help people and it worked hand-in-hand with chiropractic," she said.

Gary grew up with his local chiropractor as his family doctor.

In seventh grade, he said he first started considering the field professionally, eventually becoming a doctor of chiropractic in 1968 through Palmer College of Chiropractic in Iowa, the founding chiropractic college.

"In chiropractic, you get an awareness of your body and what it needs," Gary said.

The Valley offered the Davis' the opportunity to raise their children in a small community, something they appreciated from their own youth, they said.

"It didn't grow for a long time," Jenny said. "It was kind of the forgotten Valley."

Gary and Jenny remember when Interstate 90 traveled through North Bend before the bypass south of town had been built.

"We had the only stop light between here and Chicago," Jenny said. "It made for a lot of traffic."

The couple said they hope to move to Sequim this year to be close to family, including Jenny's mother.

"We'll miss our friends and our patients; they've been like extended family," Jenny said.

As for the future of chiropractic care in the Valley, the couple is not worried.

"There's a lot of spines out there," Jenny said.

"The whole wellness, holistic approach is really catching on because mainstream medicine is getting so expensive," Gary said, noting that he will continue to provide vocational relief to colleges.

He said that he may even take up lobbying in Olympia on behalf of chiropractic practitioners, something he did in the 1980s.

And with the month of April to say goodbye to clients, some of whom he has worked on for more than 25 years, Gary said on his final work day, he just intends to drive away.

"It's been pretty humbling, the way the people have accepted us," he noted about his 36 years in the Valley.

Davis Chiropractic Clinic is located at 43504 S.E. North Bend Way in North Bend. For more information, call (425) 888-2520.

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