Osteopathic doctor Ida C. Schmidt, 95, of Glenside, said more than once that she wanted to be buried with her treatment table "in case St. Peter has sciatica." She died of congestive heart failure and pneumonia Sunday at Abington Memorial Hospital.
Her path to becoming an osteopath began after she was hit by a car when she was 5. She cracked three vertebrae, spent months in traction, and afterward suffered sciatic nerve pain. A doctor from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathy, which was on Pine Street, relieved her pain. He also instilled in her a love of the profession.
"There was nothing I wanted to do right from the very beginning but be an osteopathic doctor," Dr. Schmidt said in a 2002 Inquirer article. She explained osteopathic medicine simply: "If you can align the body, nature herself will heal the body."
After graduating in 1931 from Cheltenham High School, she passed the exams to enroll in the college, which had moved to 19th and Spring Garden Streets. After graduating in 1935 - first in her class - she completed her residency at an osteopathic hospital in Lancaster.
In 1937, Dr. Schmidt opened a private practice on Ogontz Avenue. She married a former patient, Vincent Perry, in 1940. The couple had three children before he died of a heart attack in 1957.
That same year, Dr. Schmidt began teaching courses at the College of Osteopathic Medicine, which moved to City Avenue in 1967. She taught at the college for 30 years and was named professor emerita in 1999.
In 1960, patient David Williams came into her office seeking rib-pain treatment. When he kept returning after he recovered, Dr. Schmidt told him, "Mr. Williams, you don't need to come here anymore."
He asked her on a date and they married a year later and settled in Glenside. Dr. Schmidt moved her practice near her home in 1963.
She continued to manipulate her husband's thoracic vertebrae, and he took care of the books, bills and insurance forms for her practice. He also took care of their home.
Dr. Schmidt's patients often included several generations.
Her patients kept her spirits up after Dr. Schmidt had a malignant polyp removed from her colon in 1997, and two of her children, son Vincent Perry and daughter Marguerite Roberts, died of lung cancer within five years.
"They [the patients] are almost like psychiatrists: 'Now, doctor, I know you've had a bad week, but I feel terrible and I need you,' " she said in 2002.
Dr. Schmidt maintained a full-time practice until frail health began to slow her down a few months ago.
In addition to her husband, Dr. Schmidt is survived by another daughter, Ida Perry Sobotto, and two grandchildren.
Friends may visit at 7 tonight at Baron Rowland Funeral Home, 1059 Old York Rd., Abington. A funeral will be at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Calvary Presbyterian Church, 217 Fernbrook Ave, Wyncote. Burial will be at Hillside Cemetery, Roslyn.