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I was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, two years after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. My mother and baby sister died when I was 3. They were bathing and the radio fell in the tub. I discovered them. My father, recently returned from World War II, had not been informed when he came home from work as the bodies were being loaded into an ambulance. The tragic accident made national news and was instrumental to legislation requiring Ground Fault Interruptor Circuits (GFICs) in bathrooms. A few years later my father remarried, I had a new mother and sister, and we moved to a small Mormon farming community in northern Utah.
I went to college at the University of Utah and in Hawaii. After my Junior year I received a little money from my maternal grandfather and spent some years working and traveling in San Francisco, Europe, and the Middle East. In Syria, my traveling companion, a Dutch girl, and I, were poisoned. We almost died. She flew home, I went to Jerusalem, crossed through the Mandelbaum Gate, and was working on a Kibbutz at the time of the first Israeli-Arab conflict commonly known as the Six Days War.
After returning to college in the US, I received a BS in biology and an MS in herpetology, studying turtles, from the University of Utah. From 1972-75 I served in Malaysia with the US Peace Corps in an experimental program teaching at the university level. On a field trip I discovered a probable new species of the turtle genus Pangshura in the remote fresh-water lake-swamp Tasek Bera in Pahang Province.
After the Peace Corps my first wife and I traveled in Southeast Asia, India, the Middle East, and Europe before returning to the U.S. I was awarded a graduate fellowship and studied spider communities for a Ph.D. in theoretical community ecology at Utah State University.
After being appointed to the faculty at the largest chiropractic college I had a ‘conversion experience’ and matriculated in the professional program. I completed the first clinical trial to demonstrate the benefit of chiropractic care (Waagen, G.N., Haldeman, S., Cook, G., Lopez, D., and DeBoer, K.F., Short term trial of spinal adjustments for the relief of low back pain, Manual Medicine, 2:63-67, 1986) the same year that I received the Doctor of Chiropractic degree. Currently I am a full professor at the college and licensed to practice in Utah and California.
I have four grown children and live in Northern California with my wife, Wendy, and our tuxedo cat, Ernest. We recently bought a house in a cohousing community in central Oregon where we will retire in a few years. We’re planning on buying some farmland nearby to raise goats and rabbits and chickens and crops for fun and maybe a little profit.