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County Seat Newspaper
of Clare County

Dr. Elmer C. “Doc” Shurlow

MARCH 25, 1929-JANUARY 10, 2020


Dr. Elmer C. “Doc” Shurlow, age 90 of Clare, passed away peacefully on Sunday, January 19, 2020 at his home surrounded by his loving family.  On March 25, 1929, Doc was born the son of Ray and Martha (Stier) Shurlow in Lapeer, MI.  He was a graduate of Lapeer High School in 1947; a place where he excelled both academically and in every athletic endeavor he sought.  It was also at this time Doc’s work career began, as his first job was delivering poultry to Henry Ford Hospital and Eastern Market for his parent’s poultry processing company.  After high school, Doc attended Albion College for his undergraduate degree. While there he played football all four years until his graduation in 1951.  Missouri would be home for Doc from 1951 to 1955 while he attended Kirksville College of Osteopathy and Surgery, where he earned his credentials as a D.O. and consequently started a family tradition.  During this time, he met his first wife Wilma Moine; a marriage that resulted in two sons James and Charles.  After serving an externship in Flint and his surgical residency in Clare under Dr. Robert Krainik, Doc sought the opportunity to further his training as a surgeon, studying surgery in Austria and Ireland from ’59 to ’60.  In 1961 Doc returned to Clare and accepted a position at the Clare Osteopathic Hospital as a general surgeon.  He served the hospital until 1992.  While at the hospital he also served as the Chief Physician in the E.R. and as a general practice physician.  More than just a D.O., Doc also had a keen sense of business.  During his medical career in Clare, Doc and Wilma founded the Clare Nursing Home and Clare County Ambulance Co.  In 1978 he opened his own freestanding ER and surgery clinic known as the Clare Medical Building. He was instrumental in founding the BPS Laboratory and the Care More Foster Care Homes. He also served long tenures as the Chief Medical Examiner in both Clare and Isabella counties.  It was also at this time in his career that he met his life partner Mary Ann David.  The couple married in 1983, and enjoyed nearly 37 years together.  In the few hours that Doc wasn’t practicing medicine, he was sure to be at his 130-acre farm just outside of town where he would ride his tractor and put his imagination to work on ideas of all sorts, partnering with Bill Koch and Carl Stephenson to save the local theater from closing (Clare’s Ideal Theater).  In 2004 Doc and Mary Ann opened the Herrick House in Clare where he became the chief dish washer. Doc was a lover of all animals, an avid reader, a veracious collector of junk and a master prankster.  He was kind, tenderhearted, and a consummate hard worker.  In one way or another, he has affected many of us in Clare, whether it was through routine house visits, lifesaving surgery, repairing a fracture, delivering 2,036 babies, trying to save injured animals, or getting stuck behind him driving in or out of town!  Doc sought to leave the world better than he found it.  He succeeded.

Doc is survived by his loving wife Mary Ann Shurlow of Clare, and his sons James Shurlow of Clare, Dr. Charles (Krista) Shurlow of Beaver Creek, OH., and Brian (Jenny) David of Clare.  He is also survived by his grandchildren Dr. James R. (Sara) Shurlow of Gaylord, Sara (Wes) Lee of Amherstburg, ON., Ryan C. Shurlow, and Austin Shurlow both of Beaver Creek, OH, and his three great-granddaughters.  He was predeceased by his parents Ray and Martha Shurlow, his grandson Ryan Charles Shurlow, and his sister Erma Kisser. 

A funeral service in honor of Doc will take place on Thursday, January 23, 2020 at 11:00 A.M. at the Clare United Methodist Church with Pastor John Kasper officiating.  Friends may visit the family at the Clare Chapel of the Stephenson-Wyman Funeral Home on Wednesday the 22nd from 2:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. and again from 7:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M.  Memorial contributions in honor of Doc may be directed to the Clare United Methodist Church or to the Clare Animal Shelter.  For those unable to attend, online condolences may be shared at www.stephenson-wyman.com


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