Culver physician Deery celebrates 50th year of practice

Dr. Michael and wife Judy Deery at a surprise party for him at the Plymouth Miller's Merry Manor in September.
Jeff Kenney
Citizen editor

Dr. Michael Deery of Culver didn't see the surprise party in his honor at Miller's Merry Manor in Plymouth coming, though the fact that he didn't is one indication as to why he's the sort of doctor a staff would clamor to celebrate.

Which is to say, in fact, that Deery appears to be far too focused on helping patients to spend much time contemplating his accomplishments. Deery, who said the September event was "a complete surprise," also didn't realize the date (Sept. 8) was exactly 50 years to the day after he'd received his medical license.

But Emily Rogers, Administrative Director of Nursing at Miller's, knew. She noticed the date and go to work, alongside other staff, in organizing the celebration. Staff members welcomed Dr. and Mrs. (Judy) Deery with applause and a cake, which may be less spectacular than some of his past honors (such as being honored in 2007 as the recipient of the Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center Community Spirit Award for his efforts to establish the Plymouth health center, a facility aimed at serving needy residents' medical needs; or a multi-page write-up in the pages of the most recent edition of the Culver (Academies) Alumni Magazine), but was no less heartfelt.

"It didn't occur to me it was actually 50 years to the day," Deery mused, over a piece of the cake made by one of the Miller's staff members. "Time goes by fast."

In terms of Deery's relationship with Millers, that time is more than four decades. He began serving the very first Miller's Merry Manor nursing home in 1968, in Warsaw, Indiana. In those days, not only did Deery's Culver patients not have a nursing home in their own town, but neither did anyone in Marshall County.

"It seems weird that people from Culver would be in a nursing home in Warsaw (back then)," he says, though Judy Deery notes that Dr. Howard, with whom Deery first partnered when he came to Culver, said he had allotted land behind the present Lake Shore Clinic for just such a facility in Culver, even if it didn't end up taking shape there.

Dr. Michael Deery has a lot more to celebrate, now, than a career milestone. He's overcome some major health issues this past summer -- his first ever major ones, he notes -- and appears to have beaten the odds in beating the illness. "I'm very, very lucky," he says of his health ordeals this summer. He's also very determined.

He may have retired earlier this year from his 38-year post alongside Dr. Warren Reiss as Culver Academies physician, but he's still seeing patients three days a week at Lake Shore Clinic in Culver, besides his rounds at Miller's and at the health center in Plymouth (new Lake Shore Clinic and Culver Academies pediatrician Dr. Noemi Adame, speaking last week to Culver's Kiwanis Club, said of Deery's unfailing, dogged persistence as a physician, "That man is amazing!").

"It's nice to have other, young doctors coming in for continuity for the town," says Deery of Adame and fellow Lake Shore Clinic addition this summer, Dr. Rebecca Brice. "

And having a pediatrician (Adame) is nice for the community." He adds that the bi-lingual knowledge base of both new physicians is helpful, noting that a number of Spanish-speaking patients do make use of Lake Shore Clinic.

Editor's note: A detailed look at Deery's background and Culver career (as well as that of partner physician, the recently-retired Dr. Warren Reiss) appeared earlier this year in The Summer, 2015 edition of Culver Academies Alumni magazine (click here and navigate to page 22), which was excerpted in the original print version of this Culver Citizen article. Or take a look here at more of our past articles on the Lake Shore Clinic in Culver and its physicians (earlier and recently-joined) and staff.

Click here to subscribe to the Culver Citizen in print or digital format and read articles in full.