KENDALLVILLE — After 45 years of adjusting patients’ spines, Dr. Tom Jansen is looking to spend less time at the office.
Jansen is semi-retiring from Jansen Chiropractic, as of Jan. 4, but isn’t totally skedaddling out the door just yet. He’ll continue to see patients on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.
But it’s part of transition into a fuller retirement, as Jansen has recently stepped back from decades of service to Kendallville’s parks department, too.
Jansen followed in his father’s footsteps in choosing to be a chiropractor, making the decision as a freshman or sophomore at East Noble High School. He graduated from the National College of Chiropractic in Lombard, Illinois, west of Chicago.
“I wanted to be in health care and it’s a great way to help people,” he said.
The practice has welcomed a new doctor with ties to Kendallville, to help shoulder some of the load. Dr. Meleah Robertson joined the staff Jan. 4 along with the other Jansen in the Jansen Chiropractic family, Tom’s brother Jerry.
An East Noble graduate, Robertson graduated in 2016 from Logan College of Chiropractic. She has practiced at Clear Choice Chiropractic in Hartford City for the past five years before moving to be closer to her family here.
Jansen said chiropractic is more than adjusting the spine — it’s also about building relationships. He said Robertson has a great personality to work with patients, especially during the transition, which helps him to walk away from work. Another plus — as a young professional, Robertson is working on the office’s Facebook and social media presence to attract new patients.
Jansen’s desire to help people extended to his community, too. He just completed a 30-year stint on the Kendallville Park Board, which he said was a great place to serve the community in improving the park system.
One of his bigger accomplishments while on the board included the completion of the Kendallville Outdoor Sports Complex.
His park board experience has taught him to plan for the future of projects, not just for the immediate creation of improvements.
“The Sports Complex has an endowment to care for it,” Jansen said. “It plans ahead for what the needs will be.”
And although it didn’t get completed during his time, Jansen is supportive of a proposed skate park, provided that a suitable location is found for it. Future planning includes maintenance of the improvements and the funding for it.
Kendallville is a unique city, Jansen notes, because all the departments work well together to help each other. He said such cooperation is rare and doesn’t happen everywhere.
Health care also involves planning ahead, Jansen said.
“You take care of it today for a better future,” he said. “It’s how to keep good health.”
He was involved with the Rotary Club and Kendallville Jaycees for years, and remains active at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. He also coached baseball.
Jansen has given 50 years of service to the Boy Scouts of America and served as Scoutmaster. He was on the board that opened the Anthony Wayne Scout Reservation, a camp near Pleasant Lake that is a favorite place.
Jansen won’t lack for things to do in retirement with his hobbies of trains, kites and photography. He also plans to get involved with the Kendallville Heritage Association, a group working to preserve and display artifacts significant to the city’s history.
Travel is on the horizon, too. Jansen had planned to go to Ireland in the fall of 2020, but the trip was postponed by COVID-19. He hopes to make that trip this September.
Jansen loves camping and has visited Yosemite National Park, driven the coast of Oregon, and been to the Florida Keys and Smoky Mountains.
“It’s awe inspiring, but don’t forget to look in your own yard,” he said. “Don’t be afraid to look around the community.”
Jansen has a great belief in the contributions of young people to their community. “They can make things happen,” he said.
The support of a loving family is also central to success. Jansen’s family includes his wife and two sons, Chris, who is an attorney, and Nick, a practicing chiropractor in Indianapolis.
“It’s nice to see families follow in their parents’ footsteps, but people have to make their own decisions,” he said. “We were fortunate to have our parents and the things they taught us, and to have the families we do.”