class of the Medical Hall of Fame
years ago, there were 18 inductees in the
first year of the Grand Rapids Medical Hall
of Fame. It’s time to look at those
medical professionals again.
Grand Rapids Magazine Staff
As Grand Rapids
burgeons as a bastion of life sciences, we
must not forget that this dedication to medical
quality — from funding to research
to patient care to inventing life-saving
equipment — is not new to West Michigan.
We’re just extending the scope — and
garnering more fame.
In 2000, Grand Rapids Magazine, partnering with
the Van Andel Institute and the Grand Rapids
Medical Education & Research Council for
Health Professionals, founded the Grand Rapids
Medical Hall of Fame.
With exemplary medical professionals dating
back to the 1920s, the first two years of the
Hall had many inductees — 18 individuals,
couples, businesses or programs in 2000, and
11 more in 2001. Since then there has been just
one inductee: John M. MacKeigan, who is no longer
practicing as a surgeon but is the chair of the
board and chief medical officer for Michigan
This month, Grand Rapids Magazine takes a look
back at the medical pioneers in the original
class. In addition to these profiles, there were
four inductions of “significant donors” — and
those individuals, their foundations and heirs
continue to fund many of the medical enhancements
so evident today. Without them — Richard
M. and Helen DeVos, Peter M. Wege, Peter Cook,
and the late Jay and Betty Van Andel — there
would be no “Medical Mile.” What
they have helped create in the past eight years
can’t be properly described in a short
profile; they need their own story (if not a
book). That story shall come at a later date.
Here, then, are descriptions of the medical
professionals in the founding class of 2000 of
the Grand Rapids Medical Hall of Fame.
Class of 2000
Gwen Hoffman, M.D., retired in January of this
year. In the years since her selection to the
Medical Hall, she was the president of the American
Board of Emergency Medicine and the first woman
president of the medical staff at Spectrum, where
she also served as chairman of emergency services.
Hoffman was inducted to the Med Hall for her
knowledge and experience in the field of emergency
medicine, including at least 20 papers on emergency
physician practices published in medical journals
Hoffman also was an associate professor in emergency
medicine at Michigan State University and director
of the residency program in emergency medicine
at Spectrum Health. She received several awards
for her teaching of new doctors.
retired” in 2004 — and immediately
began pursuing a master’s degree in medical
ethics, which he received from Loyola University
Chicago in 2006.
When they initially started, the ingredients
available did not satisfy Pete.
Passinault works part-time at Saint Mary’s
Wound Care Center and is also chair of the ethics
committee at Saint Mary’s. In August, he
began teaching medical ethics at Michigan State
University’s College of Medicine Grand
uction to the Med Hall included: chief of staff
at Saint Mary’s; founder of West Michigan
Surgical Specialists in 1968; director of the
Blodgett-Saint Mary general surgery residency
program; and associate clinical professor of
surgery at MSU.
Donald Waterman, M.D., died of pancreatic cancer
in 1989 at age 67, but not before the pediatric
physician made a lasting impression on the Grand
“He was truly unique. … He was the
kind of doctor every parent should have access
to,” said nominator Bill Krater at the
time. Krater is the principal of the Ken-O-Sha
Center, a community health organization founded
by Waterman in the late 1960s that now is operated
by the Grand Rapids Public Schools.
The original purpose of providing diagnostic
testing and treatment programs for pediatric
developmental disabilities remains at the center’s
Waterman’s patience and devotion working
with children was also evident in his 15 years
of pediatric practice. In the early 1970s, Waterman
established the Grand Rapids’ pediatric
department of Michigan State University’s
College of Human Science. As the premier genetics
counselor in Grand Rapids, Waterman started genetic
birth defects centers at Blodgett and Butterworth
Keith Weller, M.D., who died in 2002, was inducted
for the 11 years he spent providing medical care
to the homeless at the Heartside Clinic of Saint
Mary’s Health Services.
after he retired from the clinic in 1999, he
would visit with medication for patients. He
also recruited doctors for the clinic.
Weller, an internist who retired from practice
at age 70 in 1989, came on board at the clinic
within its first year of operation. At the time
of his nomination, he was lauded by the former
medical director of the Heartside Clinic, Ernest
Quiroz, M.D., who said he would do anything for
the clinic. Quiroz called Weller “very
gentle and kind, very generous.”
John Hodgen, M.D., was a pioneering orthopedic
surgeon and the impetus for the annual Hodgen
Hodgen (1884-1954) was trained in orthopedic
surgery at Harvard Medical School, and then appointed
to the Rockefeller Foundation during the polio
epidemic of 1916. He inaugurated the first crippled
children’s outpatient clinic in West Michigan
in 1920 under the auspices of the Mary Free Bed
Guild. Under his guidance as the chief of staff,
the Mary Free Bed Convalescent Home began in
1933 and grew to become today’s Mary Free
Bed Hospital and Rehabilitation Center.
Hodgen also headed the orthopedic section at
Douglas Mack, M.D., retired in January 2001
after spending the majority of his career as
health officer and chief medical examiner for
Mack, who also has a master’s degree in
public health, is a nationally recognized expert
on health policy and was instrumental in the
development of the U.S. Center for Disease Control’s
model policy on HIV-infected heath care workers.
He was a founding member and first president
of the American Association of Public Health
Physicians, and continues to serve on the National
Commission on Correctional Health Care, and the
National Medicolegal Review Panel.
Mack served as chair of the Kent County Initiative
to Reduce Infant Mortality and as the first chairperson
of the Healthy Kent 2000 community health planning
initiative. He also has held various positions
for the state of Michigan.
Pearl Kendrick (1890-1980)
Grace Eldering (1900-1988)
Loney Gordon (1915-1999)
Pearl Kendrick and Grace Eldering developed the
first viable vaccine for pertussis (whooping
cough) while heading the Grand Rapids branch
laboratory of the Michigan Department of Health
during the 1920s through the 1940s. Their lab
assistant, Lonie Gordon, an African-American
female holding a doctorate, was integral to that
Field trials conducted in 1934 on local children
showed that the vaccine reduced the incidence
of pertussis to one in seven compared to those
not vaccinated. They were also the first researchers
to develop a shot that combined the pertussis
vaccine with the diphtheria toxoid vaccine.
Large-scale controlled field trials and regimented
laboratory technique practiced by Kendrick and
Eldering were considered groundbreaking and shaped
the approach to modern clinical trials.
“They set the stage,” said Carolyn
Shapiro-Shapin, professor of history at Grand
Valley State University and author of an upcoming
book on the two physicians.
Both Dr. Kendrick and Dr. Eldering received
doctoral degrees from Johns Hopkins University
in bacteriology. The work of the three women
is recognized internationally as one of the leading
preventive measures in reducing infant mortality — then
Robert Tupper, M.D., retired in 1999 but this
May he became the fourth person to receive
Spectrum Health’s Lifetime Achievement
Award. In 2002, he was inducted into the Distinguished
Physicians Society at Spectrum.
For 27 years Tupper was vice president of graduate
medical education at Blodgett Hospital (later
Spectrum Health). He also taught at the University
Tupper is known locally, statewide and around
the country for instituting physician-training
programs that span all areas of medical specialty.
He recruited many of the area’s leading
medical practitioners to West Michigan.
Tupper also practiced as an internist with a
specialty in gastroenterology.
Saint Mary’s Health Care/Pine Rest Christian
Mental Health Services
Mentally ill, indigent patients were in dire
straits in 1995, when the place they could always
turn to — Kent Oaks Hospital — was
on the verge of closing. But the then-named St.
Mary’s Mercy Medical Center assumed management
responsibilities of the in-patient facility,
and it was able to continue operations.
A joint operating agreement that includes Pine
Rest, Saint Mary’s Health Care and Metro
Health was drawn up in 1998. There are now 130
beds on the Pine Rest campus, along with 20 beds
at Saint Mary’s Psychiatric Medical Unit.
This collaborative program, which is still going
strong, “has saved the community hundreds
of thousands of dollars by its action, and ensured
that this vulnerable population has access to
care,” said Debbie Stiemann in making the
Virginia Moralez, R.N., retired in August from
Clinica Santa Maria, a West Side outreach health
center serving the working poor, the homeless
and the Hispanic community.
She was a national Hispanic Nurse of the Year
award recipient and considered a role model for
Moralez “has been its visionary, its chief
spokesperson, its fundraiser, and its persistent
advocate,” wrote nominator Micki Benz of
Saint Mary’s Medical Center at the time.
Moralez “has overseen all aspects of Clinica,
from choosing a site to recruiting dentists as
volunteers, to speaking publicly about the needs
of the Hispanic population in Grand Rapids, to
overseeing her growing staff, and even making
sure that patients who need winter coats get
Morales lives in Georgetown Township with her
Diane Forbes, who still works as a program assistant
at the Kent District Library, was inducted
into the Med Hall for the volunteer work she
did to help establish the Diabetic Support
Group at Catherine’s Care Center. The
group disbanded in November 2007.
“A lot of members moved away or passed
said. “We had a good run.”
Forbes still volunteers when the American Diabetes
Association calls, and remains active with the
organization Joining People With Diabetes, a
statewide task force established to help provide
assistance and support to those who’d like
to start their own support groups.
Steven Byers, her co-founder of the local support
group, nominated Forbes because of her “concern
for the health of others and the hard work and
enthusiasm that has helped and benefited so many.”
Forbes maintains her statewide reputation as
a tireless volunteer in helping others deal with
James DeVries and Ronald
Williams, Ph.D., were
inducted as co-founders of DLP Inc., now Medtronic
DLP. DLP, founded in 1979, has introduced several
unique medical products, including those to protect
the heart during bypass surgery and a stabilization
system allowing surgeons to operate on a beating
Medtronic, the $5 billion international maker
of medical devices, purchased the company in
1994. DeVries holds more than 50 U.S. patents
in the health care field. Both men worked in
product development for more than 30 years.
DeVries, who lives in Ada, is no longer active
in the medical business, but he said that since
the purchase of DLP Inc. by Medtronic, DLP has
grown five times larger. DeVries also said a
number of spin-off health care companies have
surfaced over the years at the hands of former
DLP employees. Williams retired from the health
care field in 1997. He lives a few miles away
Both DeVries and Williams, through DLP Inc.
and other initiatives, are responsible for helping
to rehabilitate several declining neighborhoods
throughout Grand Rapids. GR