Prince Albert residents mourned the loss of local chiropractor, Dr. David Buettner, who died April 14 after being diagnosed with cancer and leaves behind a legacy that goes far beyond health care.
Buettner practiced in Prince Albert for over 45 years and served with various provincial and national chiropractic organizations. Locally, however, he was fondly remembered for his voluntary work and efforts to revitalize German culture with the Prince Albert German Club Waldhorn.
“He was exactly the kind of guy you could always count on to do something,” recalls Don Cody, Prince Albert city councilor, former president of the German Club and good friend of Buettner. “If you needed anything, call Dave, and he would do it. He was a great volunteer, a great citizen and certainly someone we miss in our community.
Buettner began his career as a teacher in northern Saskatchewan, working in La Loche, Île-à-la-Crosse and Turner Lake, before enrolling at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in Toronto. He returned to Saskatchewan after graduating in 1976 and settled in Prince Albert where he opened his own practice.
Dr. Mark Boden joined Buettner at the practice in 1998. Boden remembered Buettner as someone who made great strides in chiropractic treatment, while remaining a friendly, down-to-earth member of the community.
“Dave always had a busy practice,” Boden said. “The office was always filled with laughter from the stories he shared with his patients. It was nice to be in a clinic with a friendly environment and to be part of a situation where lots of people were getting great care.
Buettner’s contributions to the field of chiropractic extended far beyond Prince Albert. Less than two years after moving to the community, he was elected to the Board of Directors of the Saskatchewan Chiropractors Association (CAS), where he served as Registrar, Vice President and eventually President. . He was also invited to serve on the Government of Saskatchewan’s Joint Professional Examination Board and in 2012 was awarded a Lifetime Membership in the SCA for demonstrating excellence in the chiropractic profession and providing exemplary service. to patients and the CAS.
Nationally, Buettner was elected to represent Saskatchewan on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Chiropractic Association and was a member of the Council on Chiropractic Education Canada and the Council of Chiropractic Accreditation. His duties were to help shape Canada’s chiropractic standards and to certify the quality and integrity of Doctor of Chiropractic programs used to train the next generation of Canadian chiropractors.
“The profession has been around for 125 years, but in Saskatchewan he was working at a time when we were trying to get a foothold in the health care system,” Boden said. “His contribution, along with that of many of his colleagues at the time, was to establish chiropractic care by becoming more mainstream.”
Locally, Buettner gave school presentations on spinal health, provided medical evaluation and treatment to young boxers, gymnasts and volleyball players. He also offered Prince Albert students the opportunity to job shadow at his office so they could learn more about the profession.
His practice even provided him with opportunities to get involved in the cultural side of things when he met another Prince Albert resident with ties to Germany. Myron Schmalz said he first met Buettner while visiting his practice for treatment. The two started talking about their German cultural ties and eventually decided to rejuvenate the German-Canadian cultural club in 1986. Their efforts proved hugely successful.
“We thought we would run feelers and see if there was interest,” Schmalz recalls. “That’s how it started. It turned into a bit of interest and a lot of fun.
One of the biggest goals of the club was to teach the German language. Buettner, Schmalz, and others recruited recent German-speaking immigrants as teachers and quickly discovered that there was significant demand for the class, and not just from residents of German descent.
The club opened a German language school, launched an annual Oktoberfest, and established a choir and social club. Buettner often represented the German Club at Tapestrama, an annual cultural showcase organized by the Prince Albert Multicultural Council. He was also elected to the Saskatchewan German Council, serving terms as president and vice-president of the organization.
Throughout it all, Schmalz said Buettner remained generous and approachable.
“He was always full of jokes,” Schmalz said. “Anything you needed, he was there to help him and (his wife) Ann together.
“He was a really good friend and really nice to work with, and it wasn’t just the German part he was working on. He worked with all types of people who needed help.
These other voluntary tasks were considerable. Buettner served as vice-chairman of the Prince Albert Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, was a board member of the Prince Albert Parkland Regional Health Authority and Victoria Hospital, and was an active member of the Catholic Church St. Mark, where he served on the parish council and was part of the baptismal liturgical team.
Buettner was a member of the Saskatchewan Northern Trappers Association and served as a councilor for its Northern Fur Conservation Area. Other activities included performances in local theater productions with the Prince Albert Community Players, hockey and softball games, judo competitions, and supporting youth sports and culture through scholarships for the Prince Albert Aerials Gymnastics Club, the Prince Albert Toppers volleyball club and Barveenok Ukrainian Dancers and many local hockey teams.
All of his local volunteer efforts were recognized provincially when he received the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal of Leadership and the Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal for his contributions.
“Dave was the kind of tough guy to replace,” Cody said. “I saw Dave in church every Sunday and I saw him on the street. I saw him everywhere and he was always doing something more important than doing something for himself.
“He was just a hard-working guy and he was tireless in his efforts,” Schmalz added. “He was a great professional and a great volunteer. He will be missed by Prince Albert and the District – and the Province.
Buettner is survived by his wife Ann, their four daughters, three sons-in-law and eight grandchildren, his two brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, as well as many relatives and friends from across Canada.