“Make a positive impact on each person you interact with daily.”
That is a difficult task, but it is one that the late Kirk Lee, DC, accomplished with grace and poise. Dr. Lee will be remembered for more than just his work in the chiropractic profession—which is significant—but also for his positivity that lit up every room he entered. His presence and cheerful attitude could make a bad day turn good and a good day even better. He was more than a chiropractor, an instructor and a writer; he was a loving husband, doting father, proud grandfather and beloved friend. Dr. Lee will be missed by all who knew him, and his legacy of practicing kindness will live on through those who had the pleasure of knowing him.
Gentle Giant in Chiropractic
Dr. Lee was known for his chiropractic expertise in the field of sports injury. He wrote countless articles on the topic, especially those related to running. He was a seminar speaker for Foot Levelers, Inc., for more than 15 years. He brought not only knowledge and experience to these seminars but also his warmth, humor and compassion. He conveyed more than words on a PowerPoint slide to his students; he taught them by his actions how to find the good in every situation, in every person, every day. His optimism and gratitude cannot be forgotten. He always found a way to make someone laugh or charm them with his sense of style or brighten their day with a kind word. He knew that being a chiropractor was more than being a healer and used his profession to help others not only with his hands but also with his words and actions.
He did not do just what was expected of him; instead, he exceeded expectations by always doing more than required. He served on multiple boards, clubs and chiropractic associations, usually in a leadership role. As a graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic, Dr. Lee was a member of the post-graduate faculty at both Palmer and Parker and was the former president of the Michigan Chiropractic Society (a precursory organization of the Michigan Association of Chiropractors (MAC)). He received numerous awards for his dedication and diligence to chiropractic, including “Chiropractor of the Year” in 1998 and the MAC “Pioneer Award” in 2010 for continued service to the chiropractic profession on the state and national levels.
Dr. Lee is survived by his wife, Terri Jo; his two daughters, Elexis and Elyse; one grandson, Dylan; and one grandchild on the way.
We felt the best way to remember Dr. Lee is to hear how he affected those who had the pleasure of working with him and calling him friend:
“The supportive members, dedicated leadership, and loyal staff of the Michigan Association of Chiropractors are deeply saddened by the loss of our dear friend and colleague, Dr. Kirk A. Lee. Although our grief is all encompassing, we are comforted by our fond memories of Kirk and our sincere appreciation for all he contributed to chiropractic.
“First and foremost, he lived for his family. He was a wonderful, involved father and husband who put his wife and girls above all else. His love for his profession, his friends, and his colleagues was clearly evident to all who knew him. His volunteerism with his state associations and national speaking engagements is unmatched, and his accomplishments too numerous to list. He is remembered as one of the most important architects of our merger, and one of the most effective association leaders ever to serve in our state.
“We are blessed with memories of his kindness, honesty, unbelievable work ethic and love for his profession. Always positive and ready to share a laugh, Kirk was a true friend to all who were lucky enough to know him. We will always remember his cheerful ‘Hi, Honey’ when he called the MAC office and his ability to warm our hearts. Many will also remember his stylish flair, including his fancy suits, bow ties and suspenders.
“Although he is no longer in our vision, he will always remain in our hearts and minds. We love you Doc. May you rest in peace.”
— The Michigan Association of Chiropractors
Reflections from Foot Levelers Staff Members
“Dr. Lee was a very humble and generous person. I never heard him utter a bad word about anyone or anything. He really did care about people and put others’ needs ahead of his. He would gladly stay after a seminar to talk to the doctors attending. We were honored to have him as a featured speaker in our speakers’ bureau for more than 15 years. He was an expert in sports injury, but he taught doctors so much more. He was a true gentleman and will be missed.”
— Dwayne Bennett,
Foot Levelers President
Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them become who they are capable of becoming. – Goethe[/pullquote]
“I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Lee for about 15 years. He was probably the kindest man I’ve ever met, so considerate and caring. We had a bond over the color purple—mutually our favorite color. He frequently wore purple ties, shirts and Palmer logo clothing (their school color is purple). We also got into a conversation once about collectibles. He was a huge Mickey Mouse fan, and I mentioned that I collected Cows on Parade figurines. At least a year later, I was with him at a seminar, and he had a gift for me. He and his wife had been in San Antonio, and he brought me a cow from there. Just for him to remember that I collected them was totally impressive, and how sweet for him to buy one for me.
“At a seminar, you might expect prominent speakers to walk into a room and immediately start giving the seminar representative from Foot Levelers instructions on how they want things set up. Dr. Lee was exactly the opposite! He always asked the rep what he could do to help them set up their exhibit table and the same when it came to packing up. We always treat our speakers as though we are their assistant, but it was difficult with Dr. Lee because he was always there trying to help us! It’s for that reason that I would always send my new seminar travelers on their first seminar alone with Dr. Lee. I knew they might be nervous and that he would not only help them, but make them feel so comfortable. I guess that’s why I heard the same thing from so many of my reps when they found out about Dr. Lee’s passing: ‘I remember that my first seminar was with Dr. Lee.’
“The world lost a true gentleman. He will be missed by so many.”
Foot Levelers Seminar Manager
“As a writer at Foot Levelers, I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Lee for more than six years. He stands out as a positive person who always had something nice to say to me and frequently asked about my day and how I was doing. He was an absolute joy to work with, and I honestly looked forward to every time we spoke because he made my day better. He didn’t just meet the deadlines we set for him; he would do what I asked and then some. His impact on the chiropractic world is big, but the positive impact on each life of those who knew him is even larger.”
Foot Levelers Senior Communications Specialist
“I remember Dr. Lee always being so kind, caring and professional. When he spoke, you could feel his energy and passion for what he did and for helping others. He also had a unique style that involved wearing his Michigan colors (blue and gold) on a bow tie or his purple Palmer clothing and suspenders. He and his wife loved going to Disney World because he loved Mickey Mouse and all the magic around there.
“I will never forget that my first seminar at Foot Levelers was with Dr. Lee. I remember I got in late from a delayed flight and ended up driving to Kentucky. He waited up and met me in the bar. He bought me a drink, and we just talked and got to know each other and strategized our game plan for the morning. He told me how he loves Christmas and that they had a tree in every room. I have never forgotten this detail and even had him send me pictures. I just thought it was the coolest thing. I can’t remember how many, but I know it was 10+ trees and each had its own theme. He was truly a wonderful father, grandfather, husband, doctor, friend and person in general. He was full of magic himself and will be missed by so many.
“As I reminisced about Dr. Lee, I had to look at some previous emails and noticed his signature and the following quote on all his emails. This is truly what he lived by: ‘Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them become who they are capable of becoming.’ – Goethe”
Foot Levelers Seminar Coordinator
Memorial Contributions for Dr. Kirk A. Lee may be made to:
Michigan Chiropractic Foundation
c/o Dr. Kirk A. Lee Student Scholarship Program
416 W. Ionia St
Lansing, Michigan 48933