MICHAEL J. MASTERS, D.C.
"What do I know? I'm just a boy from Iowa," became a common refrain Dr. Michael J. Masters usually delivered with a grin - sometimes punctuated with a laugh - when he learned something new. A consummate chiropractor and healer, Dr. Masters delighted in learning a few new things every day. Arguably, he now knows everything. Dr. Masters, 74, died surrounded by the love of his wife Judy and daughters Kate and Coco on the afternoon of July 13, 2019, in Honolulu, Hawaii, where he had practiced chiropractic for 33 years. The youngest of four sons, Michael J. Masters was born in Carroll, Iowa, on April 5, 1945, to the late Mary Jane and Dr. Ronald Ommen Masters, Sr., patriarch of his family of chiropractors. A boy for all seasons, comics and robots, 6-year-old Masters jumped from a swing to attempt flight. He broke his arm in the fall, but walked away buoyantly unafraid of the impossible. (Sixty-eight years later, doctors bestowed him with that elusive moniker: "Superman".) After high school graduation, a summer spent motorcycling Europe, followed by a double-major B.A. in Religion and Psychology from the University of Iowa, Masters enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard in 1967, deferring his acceptance to graduate school. Stationed as a bookkeeper in Honolulu in 1968, he met Lahaina-born Judy Ai Imamoto on her birthday - July 15 - at Kia'i Kai Hale Red Hill Housing. After years of courtship and a return to Iowa, they married on July 31, 1971, adorned with haku and maile lei under the oak trees of his older brother's property in Mason City. In 1974, Masters was bestowed the degree of Doctor of Chiropractic summa cum laude from the Palmer College of Chiropractic, and eventually took over his father's practice in The Masters Chiropractic Clinic, where he worked alongside his brothers. That seminal year, Dr. Masters also became "Papa", as he and Judy welcomed their firstborn. In 1986, Dr. Masters returned to Honolulu with his family's tradition of chiropractic, wife and two daughters in tow. And after knocking on 1,000 doors in 30 days to introduce himself and the benefits of chiropractic care, the community welcomed him, as he did his patients, first to the Masters Back & Neck Pain Relief Center on South Beretania St., then to the Medical Arts Building after moving in 1997. Dr. Masters practiced for 45 years with a passion and integrity of care unrivaled by his peers, adjusting many thousands of patients and becoming a respected, central figure in Honolulu's healthcare community. He found problem-solving at the core of his profession "fascinating", enthralled by how to tackle subluxation and the resilience of the human body. Intense curiosity combined with his voracious reading habits, Dr. Masters drew from various chiropractic methods, techniques and research to apply them to his practice. He was a member of the American Chiropractic Association, Hawaii State Chiropractic Association and the American Public Health Association. But a pinnacle experience for Dr. Masters was his first official recognition as an outstanding member of Hawaii's health community in 2006 when he won The Honolulu Advertiser's "The Best of the Best" People's Choice Awards for Chiropractor. Beaming and proudly telling his wife, "Well, you always wanted me to be the best." In 2016, he was diagnosed with Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia, a rare cancer he termed "a disease old white guys get". Putting aside his plan to reach centenarian status, he rested four months while undergoing chemotherapy and switched to part-time at the office, allowing parity with his associate, Dr. Elliott Hirai, and himself more time at home with Judy and their miniature schnauzer Zoe and overseas visiting their younger daughter Coco. Dr. Hirai continues Dr. Masters' chiropractic legacy in practice with Dawn Davidson, Gaye Gouch, and Kiare Kawagoe-Aoki. Judy, Kate, Coco and Zoe will miss Michael, Pop, beyond words and continue to love him, as well as seek his guidance and wit in everyday moments. But he probably knows that, too. A service to celebrate the life of Dr. Masters - a.k.a Pop, Michael, Mike and Doc - will be held Saturd ay, August 3, 2019, at 10:00 a.m., at the Central Union Church Windward in Kailua, 38 Kaneohe Bay Dr. Arrangements Provided By: Ultimate Cremation Services
Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of the deceased