Dr. William Howard Adolph, a retired Randallstown-area chiropractor and decorated World War II veteran, died of cancer March 27 at his Owings Mills home. He was 92.
Born in Philadelphia and raised in the Idlewylde section of Baltimore County, he was the son of William Taylor Adolph, a salesman, and Gladys Keen Adolph, a homemaker. As a young man, he helped with family finances — his parents had 10 children — by driving a milk truck, delivering newspapers, cutting lawns and singing in a church choir. He was a 1937 graduate of Towson High School.
He received an academic and football scholarship to what was then Western Maryland College, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. He was twice alumni association president and an alumni visitor to the board of directors. He was the 1973 Alumnus of the Year. In recent times, he organized monthly alumni luncheons.
Dr. Adolph was a member of the Reserve Officers Training Corps and was commissioned into the Army during World War II. He sailed to North Africa and was an infantry line officer from 1942 to 1945. Because he had spent several years studying the French language, he was assigned as a liaison to the French Foreign Legion.
He crossed the Mediterranean and fought in Sicily, Rome and at Monte Cassino. Family members said he witnessed the aftermath of the hanging of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini.
Dr. Adolph received a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star.
"My father never spoke of his war experiences except for the funny things that happened along the way," said his son, Scott Adolph of Finksburg. "He kept his medals in the bottom drawer of his desk."
Dr. Adolph was an officer in the Army Reserves until he retired in 1972 as a colonel. He headed a Liberty Road reserve unit. During the 1968 riots after the killing of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., he was placed in charge of 3,000 reservists who patrolled East Coast cities. He was awarded the Army Commendation Medal and the Legion of Merit for his years of service.
After World War II, Dr. Adolph moved to Davenport, Iowa, where he attended the Palmer College of Chiropractic. He completed his studies at the Columbia College of Chiropractic in Baltimore, where he earned a Doctor of Chiropractic degree in 1949.
He opened a practice at Liberty and Rolling roads in 1952 after working in the Mount Vernon section of Baltimore. As a young chiropractor, he often treated guests at the Hotel Belvedere.
"My father charged $2 a visit initially, and if you were still a patient at the time he retired, in 1999, you still paid $2 for your visit," said his son. "He never had a secretary. He was just an old-fashioned country doctor. He helped a lot of the early Colts. He would open his doors at any time of the day or night. The success of his practice was based upon his generosity. He provided treatment regardless of the ability to pay."
His son said Dr. Adolph maintained a "heartfelt family atmosphere."
Dr. Adolph was twice president of the Maryland Chiropractic Association and was a past vice president of the Maryland State Board of Chiropractic Examiners. He was also a consultant to Maryland Blue Cross-Blue Shield and was Maryland Chiropractor of the Year in 1979.
Dr. Adolph was an enthusiastic Orioles and Ravens fan. He played golf and was an avid collector of shoes and watches.
A life celebration will be held at 11 a.m. April 9 at Mount Olive United Methodist Church, 5115 Old Court Road in Randallstown, where he was a member and an adult Sunday school teacher.
In addition to his son, survivors include his wife of 68 years, the former Margaret Reynolds, a retired Franklin High School adult education art teacher; two daughters, Lorna Adolph of Owings Mills and Brent Toomey of Abbottstown, Pa.; two granddaughters; and three great-grandchildren.