Dr. Marvin Shapiro             Inducted 1989 - Class of 1927

A citizen can live his life isolated or withdrawn or he can live with useful, active, and selfless devotion to community good - good to his fellow man. Dr. Marvin W. Shapiro's life has been a distinguished record of the latter.

He has achieved the summits of his profession-but has found time to serve his community, his country, and his fellow man. He has lectured, educated, and entertained audiences for many, many years-giving generously of time, energy, and effort.

Dr. Shapiro's education began at the old Central Grade School which was located in the basement of old Woodward Tech. He moved on to Jefferson Grade School and then to Point Place Grade School. During this time, he lived on Woodruff Avenue, just off Canton, where most children were of immigrant parents. Nearly all the youngsters worked or sold papers to help their families survive - but none were aware that they might have been underprivileged.

At Woodward, Dr. Shapiro, Class of 1927, claimed many friends, but his closest were Naomi Pollard, Ed Glow, Isadore Mitchell, "Kipke" Staunton, and all of the Jacob brothers, including Amos - who is now known as Danny Thomas. His favorite teachers were Philo Dunsmore, Steven Materni, Clyde Meek, and Irene Wright. Each, in his own way, was the personification of dignity and leadership, and each provided him with a desire "not to give up," even though his grades, at the time, were not up to standard. Their constructive criticism, sometimes hard for a young man to take, was their greatest contribution to him. Dr. Shapiro's favorite memories of Woodward are of the friendships he made, the convocations that were held in the study halls featuring outstanding citizens of the community, and the many musical shows in which students both participated and helped produce.

His own career began as a pre-med student at the University of Toledo in 1927 with graduation from the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine in 1932. "I was selling shoes as a pre-med student," Dr. Shapiro recalls, "and I noticed that nearly all my customers had foot problems. I asked my uncle, Dr. William Shapiro, a medical doctor, what could be done. He explained that he had no time to work on feet. Because of what he said, I did some investigating and learned about chiropody and the opportunities it offered me."

He began laying the groundwork, along with a handful of other men, to raise podiatry to the level it is today. In his first year of practice, he founded the podiatry department at St. Vincent's Hospital and Medical Center. His goal was to make the medical community aware of podiatric medicine and the contributions this branch of the health care team could make to the welfare and comfort of all Americans. He achieved that goal and much, much more.

Dr. Shapiro has been in podiatric medical practice for over 50 years and his pioneering work in the establishment of international relations has earned him the title of "America's Foot Ambassador." He has traveled around the world five times trying to learn about the extent and management of foot problems. He has founded and directed podiatric medicine’s initial efforts in the medical audiovisual educational field and established the audiovisual library of the American Podiatry Association, one of America's important resource centers for foot health information. He has created "Little Johnny Sorefoot," a series which is used in public information programs.

Dr. Shapiro opened many other areas formerly closed to podiatry, such as the degree of Doctor of Podiatric Medicine, and affiliation with the American Public Health Association, where he was the first podiatrist to be selected for fellowship. He is a past president of the American Podiatry Association and has received that group's highest honor, the Distinguished Service Citation. In addition, he has received the Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine Most Distinguished Alumni Award and the 1987 Award for Podiatric Public Health from the American Public Health Association.

There are many other awards, too numerous to mention, that Dr. Shapiro has earned. He is proud of what has happened in his field. "Podiatry today is the result of things that the men I worked with did 50 years ago. They deserve all the credit. I was just a small part of it. But, I was a part, and that's what I'm proud of," he states.

Dr. Shapiro and his wife, Anne, recently celebrated their fifty-third wedding anniversary. His brother Al (deceased) was Chief of Detectives of the Detroit Police Department and was a member of the 1920national basketball champion Woodward Tech team; while, his other brother, Dr. Howard Shapiro, was a center on Woodward's first football team in the early 1920's. Although he is retired from clinical practice, he still attends conferences at St. Vincent and Riverside Hospitals. He continues his two main hobbies, each in its 50th year, photography and public speaking.

We are proud to say that, "America's Foot Ambassador," who once walked the halls of Woodward High School, tonight walks into the Woodward Hall of Fame.

©2020 Woodward Alumni Hall of Fame

  • Facebook