Dr. Frank G. Spaulding, NCNM Founder, Dies at 86

Dr. Frank G. Spaulding, NCNM Founder, Dies at 86
Honored by Medical College for Outstanding Service to Natural Medicine

PORTLAND, Ore. (January 16, 2009)—Frank G. Spaulding, ND, a founder of National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM), died Jan. 8 in Fairbanks, Alaska. He was 86.

In 1956 Dr. Spaulding and two associates signed the charter to establish NCNM, the oldest accredited school of natural medicine in North America. The medical school has since graduated approximately 50 percent of the practicing naturopathic physicians in the U.S., who have gone on to establish a growing roster of accredited schools of natural medicine in the US and Canada, helping to revive a resurgence of interest in the benefits of natural health care and other holistic lifestyles.

“The significance of Dr. Spaulding’s contribution to the practice of naturopathic medicine throughout North America cannot be stated strongly enough,” said NCNM President Dr. David J. Schleich. “By the middle of the 1950s, the naturopathic profession was in serious decline. For all practical purposes, the profession had practically been extinguished by the dramatic ascendency of the allopathic medical profession. Facing formidable challenges, Dr. Spaulding and his associates created a medical college that has stood the test of time and set the stage for the renaissance in natural medicine, which soon followed.”

By the 1950s, the number of practicing naturopathic physicians was declining rapidly as naturopathic schools closed; retiring physicians greatly outnumbered new graduates. When NCNM awarded Dr. Spaulding an honorary degree in 2005, he recalled his motivation to establish NCNM, “The main thing that kept us going was the thought that the naturopathic profession would die if we didn’t have a college to keep it alive.” He personally canvassed donations from naturopathic doctors throughout the country to support the founding of the ‘profession’s college,’ a naturopathic medical school that advanced the interests of the medicine for all its practitioners.

Dr. Schleich said that, “Generations of naturopathic physicians and natural medicine practitioners and all of us who enjoy the enormous benefits of natural medicine owe a debt of gratitude to these bold visionaries.”

Frank G. Spaulding was born March 29, 1922 in York, North Dakota. He served in WWII until 1945, when he was sent home as the last surviving son after the death of his brothers. In 1946 he married Florence Jones; they raised four children, Francis, Glenn, Linda and Janel.

Dr. Spaulding was introduced to natural medicine when an herbalist helped him recover from asthma. He attended Western States College in Portland, Ore., where he earned two degrees, Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine and Doctor of Chiropractic. He subsequently joined the faculty of Western States, and opened his private medical practice in Portland. When Western States decided to eliminate what was by then the last existing naturopathic program left in the U.S., Dr. Spaulding, along with Dr. Martin Bleything and Dr. Charles Stone, founded NCNM, where he served as the school’s first board chair.

After launching NCNM, Dr. Spaulding moved his family in 1958 to Fairbanks. In 1971, he married Estella Villalobos; they had a son, Franklin.

An entrepreneur, Dr. Spaulding established the Golden Heart Creamery, which reestablished local milk processing in Fairbanks, and Spaulding’s Outpost, a prominent western wear retail store. He continued the practice of medicine at the Spaulding Chiropractic/Naturopathic Clinic until his retirement in 2006.

Dr. Spaulding was predeceased by his wife Estella and son, Francis, and is survived by four children, his first wife, his brothers and sisters, and many grandchildren and great-grand children. A memorial service is planned Feb. 8 in Fairbanks.

ABOUT NCNM: Founded in 1956, NCNM is the oldest accredited naturopathic medical school in North America. A nonprofit college of natural medicine, NCNM offers four-year degree programs in Naturopathic Medicine and Classical Chinese Medicine. Its teaching clinics offer free and low-cost medical care throughout the Portland metropolitan area, with approximately 40,000 patient visits per year. NCNM’s Helfgott Research Institute is a nonprofit research institute that conducts rigorous independent research to advance the science of natural medicine in order to improve clinical practice.