Doc was born on McKinley Ave. in Phoenix, Arizona on Dec. 27th 1927.
In 1932 he attended Garfield Grammar School.
The family moved to Rosevelt Ave. in Phoenix to a Dairy Farm where Doc learned to milk cows.
Doc’s father, Branson Gladner Stillion was a Nazarene minister and his mother Corra Marie Pope tended to the home.
When they were living on Rosevelt Ave. Corra gave birth to two more sons: Branson Gladner and Samuel Wayne.
When Doc was 12 years old he began plowing fields for his Uncle Ezra on McDowel St. every summer. He used a single share plow using two mules to pull. Thus began his love for mules.
At age 14 Doc used a tractor to plow the fields for his Uncle Otho in Glendale, Arizona.
From age 14-18 Doc went to Phoenix Union High School where he played Full Back and Line Backer for his football team.
He graduated in 1945 with two football scholarships one to Arizona State and one to USC California. His father wouldn’t allow him to take either because he believed Rodney would “go to hell.”
At age 18 God called him to be a medical missionary. Doc’s response was “you’ve got to be kidding” because he’d flunked a year of grammar school and a year of high school.
In 1946 doc attended Pasadena Nazarene College where he studied Biological Studies. After three months he was flunking out of college because they discovered he had dyslexia, until he met a young man named Randy Russell who had bright red hair, freckles and stood 6’2” tall. He explained to Doc if he would write all of his notes out by hand he’d pass. Doc did just that and ended up with a “C” average. Doc saw Randy four more times and every time he saw him Randy would say “atta boy”. Doc refers to him as his angel.
In 1949 Doc married Francis. The couple had three children together: Ann Marie, David and Sandy
Doc went on to graduate from Arizona State with a B average in 1950.
In 1951 doc was accepted to the California College of Osteopathy located in Central Los Angeles across from the big hospital in Los Angeles, General Hospital which is often seen in the TV soap by the same name. He did his residency there from 1954-1955.
In 1955 doc moved to Palmdale.
Doc commuted to the University of Irvin medical school where he became an MD in 1961.
In 1962 Doc took training in San Francisco with Dr. David Smith who wrote a book titled “Unchain your Brain” about opiate addiction. Doc was granted his specialty in Opiate Addiction
In Nov. of 1962 Doc married Wanda, a widowed mother of three: Caryn, Kenny and Kellie and the family grew to 6 kids Caryn recalls “if we’d go somewhere all together dad made us march in two’s from the tallest to the smallest in military fashion.” Fun times……
In 1962 doc was also named as one of the “50 Grand Men of Palmdale”. There were actually 56 men who contributed
in a project that lead to Palmdale becoming an incorporated city. Each man donated $100 a piece. A few of the 50 men included Mayor Larry Chimbole and Dr. Bob St. Clair. Doc was the final remaining member of the 50 Grand Men.
In 1964 Doc, along with two other doctors; Dr. Lester Nichols and Dr. Bob Lukas built Palmdale General Hospital on Ave. S and Swan Drive. Originally it was called Swan Memorial Hospital but later was changed to Palmdale General. It started off as a 42 bed acute medical care hospital and 150 bed psychiatric hospital. Later it expanded to 250 bed hospital which included an opiate addiction wing.
In 1984 Palmdale General Hospital was sold to United Hospital.
Doc continued to run his medical practice until 1990 where he then sold his practice and retired for 5 years.
In 1995 doc came out of retirement and went to work as Medical Director of American Health Services focusing on alcohol and opiate addiction recovery. He was in charge of 25 clinics in LA County and 3 in Texas. He spent his time going from clinic to clinic training doctors in dealing with substance abuse and opiate addiction developing a program of treating the whole person not just their addiction.
In 2004 Doc lost his beloved wife and Caryn's mother, Wanda. Three years later Kellie, Wanda's youngest passed and in 2012 Her son Kenny past leaving Caryn the only remaining sibling. Doc's oldest daughter Ann Marie lives in Seattle, his son David and his wife are in San Francisco and his youngest daughter Sandy and her husband live in New Jersey. Doc's brother Sam died in ....his remaining brother, Gladner, lives in Arizona.
Doc had 7 grandsons: Matthew, Brian and Christopher Stillion, Brian Wilson, Blake Cerin, Cory Sylvester, and Graham Smith. And one granddaughter: Heidi Sylvester Graybill. He had 15 great grandkids.
Doc worked until age 90 years old for Garrison Family Medical Group treating substance abuse addiction patients.
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