‘Warrior for chiropractic’ Thomas Klapp leaves legacy of leadership, service within chiropractic
The chiropractic industry is mourning the loss of a leader in a number of organizations for more than 40 years, Thomas Klapp, DC, who died on Dec. 14, 2020.
“Dr. Tom Klapp has been a warrior for chiropractic his whole life,” said fellow chiropractor Bharon Hoag. “He and I shared so many long conversations about the work that needed to be done to ensure chiropractic became the No. 1 health care choice in the world. Many in the profession knew of him, but did not truly understand how instrumental he was to so many major events in the profession.
“He was part of the group that saved Life University and helped build it to what it is today. He was instrumental in the merger of the two Michigan chiropractic groups and helped build the powerhouse that is the Michigan Association of Chiropractors.”
In practice since 1980, Thomas Klapp made Ann Arbor, Mich., his base. He was a current member of the board of trustees of Life University in Marietta, Ga., and immediate past chair of the Michigan Association of Chiropractors.
His Diplomate in Applied Chiropractic Science at Life Chiropractic College–West was preceded by his Doctor of Chiropractic degree, Cum Laude, from Life Chiropractic College, and undergraduate work at the University of Michigan and Henry Ford Community College.
He served on the International Chiropractic Association Board of Directors, and was selected to become a distinguished Fellow of the International Chiropractors Association (FICA). In 1997 he completed the rigorous post graduate training to become a Diplomate in Applied Chiropractic Science.
“He will always be remembered for his profound passion, intelligence and integrity,” said ICA President Stephen P. Welsh.
On his practice’s website Klapp shared the harrowing story of an accident that was the start of his journey into chiropractic.
“It was 1970, I was 16 years old and driving down the road in my Volkswagen Beetle when all of a sudden, I was distracted somehow, and in that moment, I plowed into the back of a pick-up truck,” Klapp wrote. “The front-end of my Beetle was crushed almost to the windshield, I hit my head on the windshield and almost passed out. All I could think about was how bad my car looked! It was damaged badly, but not as bad as I was. Even though there was no blood that day, and no ambulance, I suffered a horrible injury — as auto accident victims often do — I just didn’t know it for several years following the accident — as auto accident victims often don’t.
“After the accident, I developed severe headaches and allergies I’d never had before the accident. And, just like many other people do, I took medicine like it was going out of style — to no avail. The pain and allergies just got worse. Finally, after suffering for five years with these headaches and allergies, I learned about chiropractic and what a miracle! My headaches disappeared, my allergies cleared up! I knew I wanted to be a chiropractor.”
Klapp served on the board of directors for the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress (F4CP) since 2009 as the representative for the Congress of Chiropractic State Associations (COCSA) where he also served on the Future of Chiropractic Strategic Plan Project committee which was launched in November 2020. He was also a three-time recipient of the Michigan Association of Chiropractors “Chiropractor of the Year” award, Hour Detroit Magazine’s “Top Chiropractor” recipient, Ann Arbor Family Magazine “Ann Arbor’s Favorite Chiropractor” recipient, and was the co-founder of One Chiropractic, dedicated to promoting drugless chiropractic.
“A true leader, Dr. Klapp was known for continuously giving back to the chiropractic profession,” said Kent S. Greenawalt, chairman, F4CP. “Dr. Klapp was one of the very first Gold Members of the foundation, joining back in 2007 when the foundation had really just begun its journey to educate the public about chiropractic. His true sense of selflessness and generosity never went unnoticed.”
Life University has established the Dr. Thomas Klapp Memorial Scholarship for those that wish to make donations to his chiropractic legacy at alumni.life.edu/drtomklappscholarship.