Clare Icon “Doc” Shurlow Passes

January 27, 2020

Dr. Elmer “Doc” Shurlow.

By Pat Maurer

Clare County lost an ‘icon’ with the death of Dr. Elmer C. “Doc” Shurlow Sunday.

Doc was 90.

Throughout his long life, Doc, left his legacy in Clare County. He was brilliant, kind, tenderhearted, a savvy businessman and a consummate hard worker. In one way or another, he affected many in Clare, whether it was through routine house visits, lifesaving surgery, repairing a fracture, delivering 2,036 babies, trying to save injured animals, simply sharing a story about Clare County or even by getting stuck behind him driving in or out of town!

He grew up in Lapeer graduating from that high school in 1947. He attended Albion College and then Kirksville College of Osteopathy and Surgery where he earned his Doctor of Osteopathy. He served his surgical residency in Clare under Dr. Robert Krainik, then sought further surgical training in Austria and Ireland before returning to Clare to accept a general surgeon position at the Clare Osteopathic Hospital, where he also served until 1992 as a general practice physician and as Chief Physician in the E.R.

With his first wife Wilma, Doc founded the Clare Nursing Home and the Clare County Ambulance Company and in 1978 he opened his own ER and Surgery Clinic – the Clare Medical Building.

He was Chief Medical Examiner in Clare and Isabella Counties for many years and was instrumental in founding the BPS Laboratory and Clare More Foster Care Homes.

He married Mary Ann David in 1983 and together the couple opened the Herrick House in Clare, where in recent years he spent his time as chief dishwasher and consummate prankster with the regulars who came to the restaurant. He was also addicted to pumpkin pie, as many can verify and was known to eat a whole one when he could.

Doc enjoyed projects on his 130-acre farm and worked with Bill Koch and Carl Stephenson to save the Ideal Theatre from closing. He was an avid reader, a storyteller and a veracious collector of junk as well.

Doc’s funeral service was held Thursday at the Clare United Methodist Church. Memorials for this great man are suggested for the Clare United Methodist Church or the Clare Animal Shelter. See his complete obituary in this issue.

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