Meet The Team
Meet the Team
Our Sarasota Legacy
If you had the privilege to be adjusted by our Dad, then it is obvious to you why he would get his very own section on our website. If you were not, allow me to introduce him to you. Dr. Ralph “Skip” Wilkinson was born in Indianapolis, Indiana where he grew up and met our beautiful Mom at the ripe old age of 15. Our parents were married in 1963, at which time Dad had no real focused aspiration for his future, except that it must include football or shot put and it must include Mom. After a brief stint on the LSU Football Team, Dad made the wise choice to transfer his scholarship to track and field (less physically grueling). He threw shot put and discus at LSU and, after marrying Mom, at Butler University where he still holds a shot put record. He earned his degree in Biological Science and turned his attention to the medical field. He initially applied to dentistry, but the school was not local and Mom found out she was expecting, so he switched gears and applied to a local chiropractic school, Lincoln Chiropractic College.
Historically speaking, in the late 60’s the chiropractic profession was knee deep in legalities with the medical community to remain an independent health entity. During his early years in school and practice, while Dad confidently recognized the benefits of both allopathic medicine and chiropractic and stayed well within his scope of practice, he was on the front lines fighting for his profession. He was an Officer or President of many Clubs and organizations throughout his career, paving the way for doctors like myself and his grandson, to pursue this rewarding career.
Lincoln closed its doors and Dad had to finish his studies at National Chiropractic College in Lombard, IL and graduated January 15, 1972. He opened his first practice in the small town of Shirley, Indiana where he was the only doctor. At that time, the scope of care for Chiropractors was quite large, especially for rural America and he was able to practice many skills including acupuncture and phlebotomy. From there our parents moved to Ft. Wayne, Indiana where he and a colleague had the exact opposite type of practice. Offering the most advanced chiropractic treatment available, including 24 hour in-office care and monitoring of conditions like sciatica and migraine headaches, he quickly learned he needed to find a balance between patient care and family time.
In 1974 we packed up our black Oldsmobile and headed to Florida. Here he began working as an intern at the original Doctors Hospital. He soon found a friend and colleague in Ron Pike, and they practiced together on Bee Ridge Road for 5 years. In 1978, Dad went out on his own opening Wilkinson Chiropractic at 3131 S. Tamiami Trail, where practiced solo until 1981 when his brother, James Wilkinson, joined the practice. (I should mention it was 1980-something that a young Dr. Shamp (me) began working at the office. After seeing the care and comradery of the practice, there was NO question what I wanted to be when I grew up.)
They quickly outgrew the office on the Trail and moved to this current location in Pinecraft in November 1992. Thanks to our childhood neighbor and good friend, Mr. Yoder, Dad built a trusting relationship with the residents of Pinecraft that he values to this day. And because of those growing relationships, he chose a location convenient for them. About this time, Dad hired Sue to be his right-hand girl. At that time, insurance isn’t what it is today, so he found odd jobs for her to do which just made it evident that he only wanted her with him, as part of the family business. Over the years, Sue’s job responsibilities have grown and she is the heartbeat of the practice. Thank goodness for Dad’s penchant to have his family near!
I (Sherry) started Chiropractic school in September, 1995 at which time Wilkinson Chiropractic Care was thriving. I was excited to join my family and step into the portion of the practice my uncle built, while he focused on his growing practice in Tampa. Sadly, in 1996 we lost Uncle Jim but his patients remained loyal to Wilkinson Chiropractic Care and the nurturing hands of Dr. Wilkinson. Two kids and hours of boards later, I joined the team in May, 1999, eager to fill the void and finally work under the auspice of my dad.
It was in 2006 when Dad decided to realize his dream of a small, one room waterfront practice and opened his Creek Chiropractic office. This casual atmosphere channeled his ideal of a Jimmy Buffet attitude and he began to forge more personal relationships with his patients. While still practicing at the Pinecraft office, he worked only 2 days a week at The Creek, but that was his oasis.
We have practiced together for 22 years, bringing more to our patients than just pain relief. As with any gifted physician, you can’t really put an adjective on their ability. You can’t distinguish the blurred line between trusted doctor and potential friend or express the care he gave patients that had nothing to do with the physical body. The environment of our office has always been like that of a family, which was completely nurtured by Dad, at the prompting of our mother. He was personal and interested in our staff, leaving it difficult for them to find a workplace to match. He was generous in his practice, always making certain that if a patient needed or wanted care, he would make sure they got it. His knowledge and grasp of the human body was outstanding, doctoring each patient individually. He had a working relationship with the medical community readily referring out and receiving referrals for care. He was a patient’s doctor, and that’s exactly what made him successful.
So thank you Dad, Dr. Wilkinson and friend, for caring for all of us for the last 50 years. God’s gifts were great within you and you used them to their fullest. You deserve a whole lot more than a paragraph on a website, but until we figure out how to adequately honor the legacy you have left, these words will have to do.