Man, 92, receives diploma thought lost forever

PHILADELPHIA - December 1, 2013

He completed his course of study on time back in 1953, but for reasons beyond his control, didn't receive his diploma until a few months ago, when his determined wife located it.

"Family comes first."

That's the decision Lewis Brown didn't hesitate to make after enrolling in Chiropractic School in Ohio when he left the army following World War II.

"We were going to set up a chiropractic clinic here in Philadelphia," Lewis said.

But his dreams were shattered when his only son was diagnosed with spinal meningitis.

Lewis worked two full-time jobs for more than four decades to care for his family. The chiropractic school closed and Lewis didn't get his diploma. But his wife, Dorothy Walker Brown, never gave up hopes of finding it.

"If I could just do this one thing for him to show how much I loved him and how much I appreciated all his sacrifice," Dorothy said.

Time passed. They had four daughters, became grandparents, renewed their wedding vows on their 50th anniversary, but still no diploma on their 66th anniversary.

Then this summer...

"Something said 'well, why don't you go on the internet and Google the school? Try Googling black chiropractors,'" Dorothy said.

Dorothy located a chiropractor in Texas.

"Hhe had graduated from the same school," she said.

The chiropractor led her to the National University of Health Sciences in Illinois, a repository for former educational institutions.

It had Lew's diploma!

The couple remembers vividly the day it arrived.

"Of course, he was in the den watching westerns as usual. I said, 'Lew come downstairs,'" Dorothy said.

"I said, 'ok, I'll be down in a moment,'" Lewis said.

"He knew by the tone of my voice, 'maybe I better go,'" Dorothy said. "And Lisa, I wouldn't trade the look on his face."

"I said 'is this for me?'" Lewis said.

Lewis was invited to participate in the graduation exercises at NUHS in August.

He never had the chance to practice his chosen profession, but at age 92, he's a blessed man with time to take up karate and earn an honorary black belt.

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