As a boy, Daniel I. Welliver suffered from rheumatic heart disease and had to spend months in bed. A curious child, he would often ask his doctor endless questions about the illness.
"I remember he was a very patient man, always willing to answer my questions," recalled Welliver, 70. "I always thought I'd like to be like him when I grew up."
Welliver, son of a Methodist minister, grew up to be a family physician -- one who has left an indelible impression on many Carroll County institutions.
Yesterday, members of Westminster Nursing and Rehabilitation Center gathered to dedicate a wing of the facility to Welliver, the man who guided its development as medical director for 24 years. He retired in November.
"It's a real honor," said Welliver, who attended the evening ceremony with his wife of 47 years, Mary Ada. The couple celebrated their anniversary yesterday.
Welliver moved to Westminster during his high school days. His father's position, as president of Westminster Theological Seminary -- then at Western Maryland College -- brought the Welliver family to the campus' Forlines House, now home of the school's administration and finance division.
Welliver graduated from Westminster High School in 1946 and, to this day, his presence is felt there. Welliver and one of his four brothers wrote the school's anthem during Welliver's senior year.
"The school had an essay contest," Welliver explained. "Everyone had to write an essay. I think we got a silver dollar for our efforts."
Welliver earned his bachelor's degree at WMC in 1950 and a medical degree from the University of Maryland Medical School in Baltimore four years later. After completing his residency at the University of Michigan and two years of active duty as a lieutenant in the Navy, Welliver returned to Westminster to establish a private practice.
He also returned to his alma mater, serving as campus physician and team doctor for the Green Terror athletic teams. Hundreds of Westminster residents will remember Welliver as team physician for many high school athletic teams.
"My career has been very fulfilling," Welliver said. "I've had the opportunity to help many, many people, both young and old."
His dedication to serving others has extended beyond his patients. Time and again, Welliver has reached out to younger doctors as a friend and mentor.
"When I was in residency, I met with Dan. I was looking to set up practice in the area. He sat down with me one Saturday, took me all over the area and pointed me to Taneytown," said Dr. John Middleton, who succeeded Welliver as medical director of Westminster Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on Washington Road.
Welliver has touched Middleton's life more than once since their tour of Taneytown more than 15 years ago. A former president of the state's medical licensing board, Welliver signed Middleton's license to practice.
"Dan's really been an inspiration," Middleton said. "He's touched every institution of any longevity in Carroll County -- the college, the high school and the nursing home."
Welliver was also on staff at Carroll County General Hospital for 36 years, from the time the institution opened in 1961 until his retirement.
Not ready to slow down, Welliver plans to do volunteer work at the nursing and rehabilitation center. He said he also would like to travel and spend time with his wife and four grown children -- Paul, Ellen, Klee and Thomas.
Pub Date: 6/17/98