Dr. Wally Schmitt passed away unexpectedly on the afternoon of Saturday November 20, 2021 while enjoying his usual jog in the neighborhood in which he had lived for almost 40 years. Those who knew him, were mentored by him or attended his seminars, his colleagues and patients, family & friends all deeply mourn his loss. In honor of his memory please share your stories, comments & reflections on the life & legacy of this incredible healer, helper, physician & physician educator whose graciousness & humility shone like a bright light on all he encountered & served.
You are with us from our first cry to our final breath. Every one of our days unfolds in your sight. Truly you are nearer to us than we are to ourselves. In this tender time, aware of how fragile life is.
We cry out to you, O Keeper of Our Days. Hear us now, and hold our hearts;
Draw out our souls to cling to you. Lord, in your mercy… Fount of blessing, Giver of every good gift, we give you thanks for Walter Schmitt.
Known to you from his mother’s womb, known to us affectionately as Wally. We give thanks for his warm and wide smile, his easy manner, his kind touch, for all the ways he shared in Christ’s gentleness.
We celebrate his vigor for life, his joy in skiing, dancing, and sport, his devotion to his family, the love he nurtured over so many years in the covenant of marriage with Anne.
Our Great Physician of Souls, you called out, saying, “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden, and you will find rest for your souls.”
We give thanks for the burdens Wally lifted and the care he provided; for the pain he alleviated, and the compassion he carried. In his field, we marvel at the practitioners he mentored, and the legacy he left. And so we praise your name, Lord, for the gift of life, and for all in Wally that was good, kind, and faithful, for the grace you gave him, that kindled in him love for you and love for your people, enabling him to serve faithfully.
Receive this beloved one into your hands; welcome him among your saints of light to join their song of joy. We entrust Wally into your hands.
Lord, in your mercy…Faithful Friend in this life and the next. In Jesus Christ, you promised many rooms within your house. For us who mourn, give us faith to see, beyond touch and sight, some sure sign of your Kingdom, and, where vision fails, to trust your love which never fails.
Be so very near to Anne, O Refuge and Rock. Show yourself true to your promise that you are near to the broken-hearted.
For all of us, lift heavy sorrow, and give us good hope in Jesus, so we may walk our earthly way, and look forward to glad reunion in the life to come.
We ask all this in gratitude and in hope, in Christ's name. Amen!
An esteemed colleague of Wally’s, reflecting on meeting him more than 20 years ago, said, “I then realized that it was possible to be a genius, kind and humble at the same time.” Another shared gratitude for Wally’s life and the love, healing, laughter and richness he brought into the world. Still another noted that Wally’s inexhaustible contributions improved the lives of every one of his colleagues and millions of their patients as well. He was once referred to as a legend in his field.
But these superlatives come as no surprise if you knew Wally. His indefatigable confidence in the body’s ability to heal itself given the proper therapy and chemistry in the tissues combined with his vast intellect, voracious appetite for learning, love of people and contagious zeal for life and the belief that we could all reach higher levels of living it well made Wally a giant in his field and in his friendships. Wally didn’t settle, and he didn’t want anyone else to settle either but believed our best life now- like his own- was there for the taking. And for countless people, through his practice and teaching, Wally enabled this to be true.
Born into a family who knew how to love each other well, Wally, the third in a succession of Walters who laid claim, by design, to its most approachable nickname, grew up delighting in his siblings and playing banjo with his grandfather, compensating with volume for what he lacked in skill. He had the realization at just sixteen years of age that he wanted to dedicate his life to the medical profession in hopes of being helpful to those around him. This heart for helping was fueled by a friendship with a well-known chiropractor neighbor and an off-major class on the anatomy of the leg, the fusion of which in Wally’s mind resulted in his life’s vocation and passion.
When he himself was the patient, Wally applied the same gifts for curiosity and intellectual inquiry, resulting in him being an alert observer of his own heart cauterization before dying briefly on the table, and enabling him to approach his stomach surgery with candor, clarity, confidence, faith and peace.
Wally began swimming as a youth and continued through his Senior year at Duke when he was captain of the swim team. He swam without goggles as they did all those years in chlorinated pools. It is somewhat amazing that his vision was spared. Wally was a strong student though couldn’t quite get his arms around French, prompting one of his professors to do a double-take upon seeing Wally standing in line for graduation, and shout “Schmitt! You made it?!”
It was at Duke that he met his bride of over 48 years in Anne. She had an instant recognition that he was the man she’d marry. In addition to husband and wife, they were amazing friends. NC stole their hearts early. Their home today is the house they’d planned to be in for five years back in 1980. Together they traveled the world on the coattails of his lectures, experiencing Bali adventures and Komodo dragons, Norwegian fjords, Paris swing dancing and cruising on a catamaran in the British Virgin Isles with their friends Jerry and Moureen Morantz; the combined couples traveling as the “Schmorantz Family.”
From natural foods and sweets to downhill skiing and staying fit, Wally savored life and approached everything with a sparkle in his eye and mirthful smile. And all of you were part of his joy. His last moments found him bidding the love of his life well, and drinking in the cool autumn air, enjoying the beautiful changing leaves, then suddenly taking in the vistas of the new life to come when he was reunited with the creator of all the objects and people, systems and processes of fascination that so intrigued his imagination. And found the fulfillment of the faith that had sustained him all his days. And was enveloped in the love that he shared so vitally with us all. And was invited into an eternity of wonders with our God to explore.
On this eve of Thanksgiving, there is surely much to be thankful for in Wally’s life and the endless reverberations of his witness and work. And there is much to be thankful in our Lord. Who makes it possible for us to grieve with hope. And love with abandon. And use our God given gifts as Wally did in service to others. And live our best life now for God is with us come what may and we are together. Our Lord never settles in supplying our need. Thanksgiving is surely fitting. Thanksgiving is surely fitting indeed. Amen.
I am forever grateful for over 35 years of studying with Wally. I never got tired of his jokes and learning whatever he was teaching. Every day in practice I am reminded of how much Wally directed my thinking and my approach to healing. I am a better doctor because of him. He is Sorely missed.
Wally graduated 2 years before me at National. I am a 2nd generation DC. My father first heard Dr. Goodheart in 1966 and was an AK doc. I met Wally my first month there, Sept. 1973. He was teaching an elective/voluntary AK class after school. I was told by higher ups I had to be 4th trimester to attend. I went anyway. They tried to stop me but eventually gave up. I took the AK board in 1977 and passed. We struck up a lifelong friendship when we were in school. Wally, Jerry Morantz and I would meet in the technic lab every chance we got to practice our AK skills. Not only did Wally think outside the box, he found new boxes to think outside of! That's one of the major attributes he had that I admired so much. I would see him at many different seminars/meetings all over the country in the ensuing years. I later got boarded in orthopedics. After we both got boarded in neurology through the Carrick program we had many stimulating, educational, and enjoyable conversations in our attempts to blend AK with the functional applications of chiropractic utilizing neurology that we had learned from Ted. Wally's seminar series really took off after he incorporated neurology because he was a master at discovering, refining, and utilizing nutritional protocals with AK and neurology. One time he was teaching an AK class at Logan and I was teaching a neurology class and neither one of us knew the other was there! We saw each other at a break, laughed, hugged and he said when I start back I want you to come in to my class. I asked why. He said you'll see. I went in, he stopped and said this is one of my best friends in the profession. He has more letters AFTER his name than letters IN his name! Typical Wally, to show appreciation of others when it was he who deserved the all the accolades. Over the years we had many, many so called 'shop' talks that encompassed nutrition, chemistry, technic, AK and on and on. He was so well versed in so many different areas one could listen for hours and hours. About 5-6 years ago my late wife and I drove over to Orlando to one of his seminars. He and Ann pulled up behind my car as I was coming out of the hotel registration. More grins and hugs. We all went to dinner. I can attest to Jerry's comment about his memory regarding the menu. We stopped outside, read the menu, went in, got seated, visited a bit. He never looked at the menu at the table. When it came time for him to order he listed what he wanted verbatim from the menu! I know because I was reading it as he was speaking! I looked over at Ann, she laughed, said yeah, I know. It was a wonderful evening and as typical of Wally he taught a fabulous seminar. To show what he was really made of after my wife passed, he called me every month for over 2 years to see how I was doing. He told me of some things to read that helped him when his brother Curt passed, who I knew very well too as I went flying with him in San Diego. Not only was Wally the consumate physician, clinician, and healer he was even better at being the concerned, compassionate, honest, loving, and best friend any person could ever have. My tears flow for his soulmate Ann too. Unfortunately, I know exactly how she feels. Wally, it has been an honor to be in your company, learn from you, and have you as a wonderful, beautiful friend in all aspects of the word. Love you Wally.
Wally shaped every treatment every day I did for over 35 years. My heart and hands will always be connected to Wally's genius and humble gifts that he taught with humility, grace and certainty. Wally's gift to humanity will live on to help millions.
I was so grateful to hear Wally teach over the years at ICAK. I couldn't believe that he could talk so fast about such high and difficult topics but also make them so accessible. But his intellect wasn't what impressed me the most. He was incredibly accessible, kind and just plain fun. He taught without thinking about it just casually in conversation, but he was just a real guy. I ran into him in the bathroom during an ICAK dance and he talked about it being a two shirt night, meaning he was dancing so hard that he needed a dry shirt to keep going. I loved watching him dance, especially swing dance. Being able to dance like that is a lost art, but I hope that the art of compassion and genuine kindness that he left as a legacy will live on in the people he touched like me and especially the ICAK that he poured himself into over the decades.
Dearest Wally, I feel privileged to have known you, not only as a healer, physician, lecturer, and author. but also, as a personal Doctor to me and my son We made the trek 3 or 4 times a year to your chapel hill oasis to experience your magic touch. What a wonderful healing place your office was. You come from a long line of "Duke" university legacy graduates, perhaps this explains the fact that you were the epitome of a Southern gentleman, even though you were born in Michigan and grew up next door to a legend in the AK world, Dr Goodheart. The planet is lucky that you had this influence and chose chiropractic healing as your profession. It was indeed your calling. We are all grateful that you continued with A.K. and wrote many papers on manual muscle testing, always trying to improve the science behind it. Wally so many of us became better practitioners because of your life's work. For this we should all be eternally grateful. May you rest in peace with your Duke Blue Devil angel wings. You are sadly missed. photo of wally in action, treating my son.
I once learned that a true teacher wants the students to be a thousand times better than him/her; that a true teacher does not create a dependency, lord over a personality cult, nor withholds information in order to always be one step ahead. A true teacher is also willing to learn and keeps an open mind. "Wally" was in every essence, just that - a true teacher. I took his entire very first QA course. Every question I had (and I had TONS) was a good question as per Wally. He never spoke down to me. If I sought him out to ask a question because I was zoning out and missed something that he had actually repeated several times over, he was never frustrated with me and never referred me to a TA. I was shocked that this esteemed master spoke to me as if we were on equal footing. His humility helped encourage my passion. I even felt comfortable talking to him about other seminars I had attended (and there were plenty of teachers that would give me the death stare if I dared do this). I was able to ask at what points in the protocol could I insert some other techniques. He never ever nay-sayed another technique, and was open-minded and genuinely interested in what I had learned. When I sought his tutelage about developing emotional techniques, even ones that could be considered “energy-work” and bordered on the “airy-fairy”, he was ALWAYS encouraging, and never once made me feel like a scatterbrained space cadet. From Day One, when I was simply another face in the crowd, Wally, Kerry, and Anne made me feel like I truly mattered. When I attempted to poke the bear by commenting that my alma mater, Michigan, might be looking better than Duke in basketball, he never reminded me that Duke ALWAYS beat Michigan. He also never reminded me that Duke was the one school I didn’t get into. In fact, instead of swatting me away like the pesky fly I was, he would instead uplift me like a forklift by saying, “Duke should have accepted you” or “Duke would have been proud to have you.” Despite his travels, teaching schedule, and professional private practice, not to mention personal responsibilities, he was always quick to respond to any email or call, even those that I said were not that important and could wait on a response. When my chips were down, Wally’s support for me never wavered. He wrote a stunning character letter in my behalf. He judged someone by character and not by situation. It also became quite evident to me from the beginning that this master did indeed have a secret “weapon.” Not a weapon in the bad sense, but akin to an Angel who wields a secret power of Light, and that secret light was his wife, Anne. I could easily tell from our first meeting that she was the glue that held things together, the power booster engine that made things run smoothly and in perpetuity. Anne, like Wally, has the gifts of compassion and empathy, which also encompass kindness and love. When I was finally granted a “long” presentation at an ICAK meeting, I was disappointed because Wally’s presentation ran simultaneous to mine across the hall, and I would not be able to see it. However, this proved to be a segue to one of the highest compliments ever bestowed upon me - Wally was disheartened that he could not attend my presentation. Despite all of his discoveries and innovations, Wally always shied away from praise and credit. There was an instance where I had severely injured my back two days before an ICAK meeting (and my diplomate exam) and needed to hold on to the wall in order to stand up straight. Selflessly, Wally put his plans on hold and treated me in his hotel room as soon I checked in. I was standing upright again! I gave him a big hug and he said, “it’s not me, it’s the protocol.” As I began to utilize QA in the office, patients would be amazed and lavish me with praise. My response? “It’s not me, it’s Wally’s protocol.” RIP my teacher and friend Walter Schmitt.
I have never had the privilege of meeting you in person, Dr Wally but in my heart and in my mind I feel we are friends, for I carry your knowledge and your wisdom and I pass it on to my patients. I have read and reread and studied and memorized your teachings and because of that my patients have healed where prior there was no hope. I would sign up for your seminars knowing I could not be there just to have your notes. My favorite book in the whole world is Compiled Notes On Clinical Nutritional Products. I even have 2 of those books, 1 for travel, 1 never leaves my house. I can go on and on but to say you will be miss is an understatement. Your legacy will live on forever and your teachings will forever remain and continue to inspire all health professionals, new and old. May you rest in eternal peace. You deserve it and we will continue to work in your honor. Thank you for your service in healing and wisdom.
Wally was the Lifeguard at the Think-Tank...!
My relationship started with Wally while still in chiropractic school and I graduated in 1983 so that tells you how long ago that was. What stands out most in my mind is that Wally taught me how to think not what to think. His was the greatest influence on making me feel like a doctor that had the ability to change people's lives. In the early years of practice, I would drive once a month from Washington DC to Chapel Hill to sit in his treatment room and observe Wally treat patients. It was an experience I will always remember. We always followed that with him treating me, and then a great dinner with he and Anne and my wife Susan and myself. He changed my life as I am sure he has done for so many.
I have known Wally since the LINKS courses in the early 80's. He was always there to encourage and support me. Wally always had a kind word and would answer every email in a timely manner. This great man made this world a better world. Im sure he and George are treating the Heavenly Hosts. RIP my friend
Without Wally I could not be the chiropractor that I am today. In any difficult patient I hear Wally smile when he got excited about AK. When Wally was in Paris he offered to treat my daughter who suffered from a severe conversion syndrome. His attitude and kind way that he treated her will touch my heart forever. Let us never lose the “why" questions Wally was so great to answer
I enjoyed his classes.
Thank you for organising all this. I never met Wally personally but I have colleagues that learned from him directly and had positive things to say about his teaching and commitment to Applied Kinesiology. It is a blessing that you have made the effort to record and produce his material for future learners.
Dr. Schmitt was a true professional and exceptional clinician and researcher. Those of us fortunate enough to have learned Applied Kinesiology under his tutelage have certainly lost not only a colleague but a pinnacle of the chiropractic profession. I am selfishly saddened by his passing and am sending prayers to his close friends and family.
Dr Wally was my mentor from 2005 until his untimely death (I had just spent a couple of hours with him in October). He taught me so many things, but Injury Recall Technique radically changed my practice and enhanced the life of thousands of my patients. His work will continue to resonate all over the world, and we'll miss him until we meet him again in the next world. A very bright light indeed has been extinguished.
I loved & adored him. He was my friend and mentor. I worked for/with him for 5 yrs. He was a genius but so down to earth with a great personality. I will miss him. ❤
I took my first AK seminar on clinical nutrition from Wally in August, 1979 and decided to pursue AK as my way of practice, having never looked back. I took three 100 hour courses beginning that autumn from George and Wally in Detroit. Without a doubt, I am sure Wally has been the brightest mind in chiropractic; so much so that I seemed to gain (temporarily, at least) 10 I.Q. points each time merely being in his radius. Wally graciously and patiently was a perfect lecture partner to George, who regaled us incessantly of his war stories, which of course pertained to whatever topic was in play. Wally successfully steered the lecture back to the 100 hour course so we could learn the material. Wally graciously endured George's constant ribbing. One of my favorites was, fittingly, that Wally, in his passion to teach, spoke 400 words per minute, with gusts up to 600. God bless you, Wally, as he has us, by giving you to us for awhile.
The best teacher in AK world, charismatic, generous, smart, and the best, my mentor!
The road to Wally is a long path. It started in school with my roommate dragging me to a seminar given by this guy named John Bandy, fell in love with AK and that led me to the 100 course with Tom Rogowskey, another with Eugene Charles, 2 seminars in NJ with George Goodheart, David Leaf, Michael Lebowitz and that led me to Wally (ski with Wally). I continued taking any AK class I could find, although I never did QA and always wanted to and now deeply regret never doing it. I would never miss the opportunity to hear Wally speak in Washington DC from time to time. I always sat in amazement of the knowledge that just poetically rolled off his tongue. I would say to myself, I vaguely remember that back in college but he put it to a more usefulness and practicality in everyday life. I surely will miss that kind of education that only Wally could give, that and the occasional delivery of his jokes in a timely manner throughout his seminars.
A short story about Wally, his discoveries, his teaching prowess, his compassion as a healer, a doctor, a wonderful person. My wife and I attended a seminar and he asked if there was anyone in the audience whose breasts were extremely sore and out of the 20 or so women there who raised their hand, he picked my wife to demonstrate his latest and greatest technique. As usual, Wally demonstrated and explained at the same time. After some testing to validate and verify, he started rubbing the Chapman’s reflex for the colon along the TFL. He explained that sometimes when there is breast soreness, it’s because the body is not properly eliminating excess estrogen from the colon causing a backup in the liver, leading to water retention and sore breasts. So, he dutifully rubbed the TFL and asked her to test her breast tenderness expecting an “oh, so much better” but it didn’t help. He rubbed some more, same negative results. He rubbed again and still no improvement and said something to the effect that this almost always works but finally asked for another volunteer. I’ve seen Wally demonstrate techniques hundreds of times with successful results, something was amiss! The next woman came up and got treated with near-miraculous results (thanks to Wally, I’ve used this technique hundreds of times and the results are almost instantaneous!). He brought another woman up, same results, and finally moved on to the next topic. It turns out that the “failure” with my wife wasn’t at all Wally’s “fault”. We found out a couple of weeks later that she was pregnant and the tenderness couldn’t have been corrected with his wonderful technique. And rubbing the TFL didn’t cause any harm with our son—or maybe his hard-headedness was a result of Wally’s demonstration that day. Thank you, Wally, for all you taught me, for all the people you helped heal through me, for being a special friend.
I had known Wally from the weekend workshops he led in Los Angeles over 5 years. He was my favorite instructor. About 10 days after his passing, while I was driving I heard his voice in my head. He said, "When you think of me, I want you to smile. Don't be sad, because you'll only make yourself feel bad. Look, I'm fine. Don't worry about me. Go look at your notes and do what I suggested and then go teach others. That would be the best legacy."
One of the first times I met Wally I was attending one of his seminars as a student in the 80’s. My father had taken Wally’s early courses in the 1970’s... I believe it was in Arlington area. My father told me to tell Wally he said “ hello.” I thought it was like meeting the president of the United States... and there is no way he will know who my dad was, so I wasn’t going to tell him. At a break in the seminar I had a question and walked up to ask Wally. Before I could say anything, Wally looked at me and said, "are you Al Stangl’s son?" Boy was I shocked. Later when my father was ill, Wally took the time to talk to me on the phone and give me advice. He was very generous with his time and knowledge. Through the years I attended some of Wally’s seminars and then the QA Course, which I thoroughly enjoyed. He had the ability to make complex systems understandable and was able to make it live so that we could analyze them in a practical way. Wally always kept my interest and was very patient as we all learned. Wally and his wife Anne always were warm and friendly and he made me feel like he appreciated me as an individual. In my opinion, he is one of the greatest doctors that ever lived!
I always loved my time with Wally. He always took the time to connect with me and listen and was always supportive. I will miss our conversations, but will always use his wise sage advice. Thanks Wally.
I was privileged to be amazed by Wally in two different Touch for Health conference presentations, and was awed by his ability to connect with us, his audience, with all the passion, intelligence, insight, and genius that was Wally.
If you read one of Wally's papers, books or watch him teach, it will change your life. His presence, his knowledge, his humility made him a mentor for me. I have been teaching AK for 15 years and all my students are aware of the importance Wally had in my life...I was very lucky to have the privilege of exchanging with him. When I had an idea about a presentation for a meeting or a clinical observation, I would validate with Wally. He would then ask me, how long have you been observing this? And he would remind me that Dr. Goodheart would always wait 3 years before presenting his observations in a meeting. This has influenced me in my choice of topics when I am privileged to present! Wally left us with many gifts, but IRT is an invaluable tool that looks so simple that many practitioners don't realize the power behind this procedure! Wally was and will always be remembered in Applied Kinesiology for his gigantic contributions. Thank you for everything Wally... Charles
My wife and I graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic in December, 1979, and we had already purchased "Common Glandular Dysfunctions" written by Dr. Wally Schmitt. We took many AK seminars and often came across Wally's publications, but never got to meet him until my wife (Bodil) was president of ICAK-Benelux and the board organized hosting the QA Course in Brussels did we have the honor of meeting Wally in person. The QA protocol gave structure and a more holistic approach in treating patients. It fundamentally changed our way of working and gave us a new fulfillment when treating patients. QA as an open system makes it easier to implement any new knowledge. On a personal note, once Bodil said to Wally: "I do not like gurus". Wally answered: "Gurus are not bad, but you need more than one.” Bodil and I are very grateful to Wally for everything he has given us through his teachings. Wally was unique. His warmth radiated comfort. It was also a pleasure to receive Wally and Anne as guests in our home. Thank you, Bodil & Ivan
I met Wally in 1974 when I began working as a receptionist at Dr. George Goodheart's office while he was one of the associate doctors in the practice. Although I got to know him further after I became a doctor and saw him at professional seminars, some of my most fun memories of Wally are when we would be working late at the Detroit office. One of his patients owned a health food store and would pay for his treatments with a grocery bag of food and treats from his store. With Wally's knowledge, the other receptionist and I would rummage through the bag while he was treating the patient and find some yummy things to try. My love to Anne and the rest of Wally's family. I fully expected to have him be with us for at least another twenty-five years and that's the way it should have been.
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