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Chiropractor Roy Love: Making Great Adjustments to Local Causes

by on July 02, 2020 1:47 PM

 

Good Day Café was certainly the best place to meet Dr. Roy Love for coffee. After all, it was his idea to create this Strawberry Fields enterprise to provide jobs for adults with intellectual disabilities or mental health diagnoses. And he continues to be one of the café’s key boosters. 

It was also a good time to sit down with this man who improves the function of State College spines and supports almost as many Happy Valley causes. Not only had the café reopened just 12 days earlier, but I had demolished my little toe the night before. 

Surely I wouldn’t ask for free medical advice, would I? Of course I would. So the good doctor confirmed my pinky toe was probably broken, and he told me to simply tape it to the adjoining digit until it healed. 

With that accomplished, I turned my attention to the man with the notable name and the stellar reputation for community service. One of Love’s steady patients for nearly seven years, (yes, I pay for office visits), I already knew a lot about his practice and his community service. What I wanted to learn—and to share with you—was the why.

Why does this Lansdale native serve State College organizations as different as Strawberry Fields is from the State Theater? And why does he devote such energy to so many causes when his chiropractic practice is already quite demanding?

It only took an hour and a cup of great joe to provide me with insights—and some amusing stories—that revealed the real Dr. Love. And later I supplemented my interview with comments from four others who know him well—Cindy Pasquinelli, CEO of Strawberry Fields; Pat Chambers, head coach of Penn State men’s basketball; Mike Desmond, a former co-owner of Hotel State College; and Cindy Love, Roy’s wife who is also his office manager.

WHO IS THIS GUY?

My search for the essence of Roy Love (yes, KISS fans, “Calling Dr. Love!”) brought me quickly to the man’s passionate nature.  As Cindy Pasquinelli puts it, “When Roy is in, he’s all in.”  Or as Cindy Love says, “He’s just a very passionate person. He puts everything into it. Sometimes I don’t even know how he does it all.” 

Passionate, yes, but also productive.  

“I look at my mom and dad and I realize I got Irish Catholic and Protestant German,” says Love. “When you talk about the melting pot of America, you’ve got a mom who says, ‘Don’t worry, every day is going to get better; live your life to the fullest.’ And you’ve got a hard-working German father who says, ‘You’ve got to get this done. You’ve got God-given ability and you’d better make the most of it.’”   

In addition to his lineage, the 61-year old Love says he’s been shaped by basketball, the sport he played until a shoulder injury ended the fun a few years ago.

“I'm a point guard,” says Love, who was cut from his powerful high school team at Lansdale Catholic but played lunchtime pickup games for decades on Penn State’s campus. “I don't care if I score three points or if I score 20 points. The goal is for the team to win. And that's really infused in me about helping other people and making this place (the State College area) a better place.”

COMING TO PENN STATE

It was 1978 when Love transferred to Penn State, having spent his first two years of college at the University of Delaware. Soon he began to meet a series of fascinating personalities.  The first was Dr. Steve Danish, a human development professor who taught a course in “Helping Relationships.” Danish, now a professor emeritus at Virginia Commonwealth, operated from a wheelchair but certainly was not limited by it.

“Everyone loved him,” says Love, “and he guided me into the general field of helping professions. Maybe that’s where my philosophy came from, that every human being has a purpose on earth and that you have a responsibility to live up to those God-given expectations.”  

Inspired by Dr. Danish and other faculty members, Love says, “My education from Penn State was a world-class education.”  

Meanwhile, the future chiropractor met members of the community who were just as interesting.  For example, he and three buddies rented rooms in 700 W. College Ave., a rooming house owned by business pioneer Glenn O. Hawbaker, Sr. “I really didn’t even know who he was,” says Love. “He was just my landlord. When I came back here to work (in 1986), I realized he owned the largest construction firm in central Pennsylvania. But when our furnace broke down, he would show up to fix it. And we used to have to pay our rent to Mrs. Hawbaker so she could see the boys in person. One person couldn’t bring four checks. All four had to come to pay the monthly rent.” 

AUTOPORT ADVENTURES

Many Penn Staters worked their way through college in the good old days, and Love was no exception. In 1979, he took a bartending job at The Autoport, then a premier location for lodging and meals. And that gave him a closeup view of Don Meyer, the facility’s longtime owner.

“Mr. Meyer was persnickety on every component of management of the place,” recalls Love, “and you realize that anybody who runs a good restaurant has to be that way. One time I was working on a slow afternoon and a bunch of the wives of businessmen were in the lounge. Mr.  Meyer was obsessed if there was a fly anywhere around; he ’d always be walking around with pesticide spray. So, a fly landed on the back of one lady’s arm and I had a rolled up newspaper in my hand. All three of the other ladies nodded ‘yes,’ so I smacked the fly on that lady's arm. She jumped up out of her chair, and they told that story for years. The Autoport was a great place because it forced me into being a more social person and interacting with everyone.” 

One day, the future Cindy Love came into the restaurant to apply for a job. Coincidentally, Roy’s mother was staying at The Autoport while his dad attended a conference at Penn State, and she saw Cindy catch her first glimpse of Roy. Mrs. Love happily told her son that Cindy “has eyes for you,” and soon the attraction became mutual. Not only did Cindy get hired as a waitress, but she tied the knot with the future Dr. Love in 1983. 

“She was just a great person—fun to be around, beautiful, funny,” says Love. “And we were a good match. I couldn’t be doing what I’m doing as a chiropractor without my wife as a support staff person. Both of us learned hospitality through The Autoport, and she is the world’s greatest at knowing how you treat people.” 


Roy and Cindy Love chose to live in Happy Valley as a geographical compromise, but the choice worked out well for raising children. (Photo by Bill Horlacher)

RETURNING TO STATE COLLEGE

Love graduated from the well-known Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1985. Then he and Cindy faced a key decision. Where should they set up their practice and raise their family? “I could have worked with a very good chiropractor in southern Connecticut,” says Roy. “But I’ll never forget Cindy saying, ‘Three hours from your parents and eight hours from mine. That’s not gonna work.’”  

State College proved to be a geographical compromise and a fabulous community for the Love family. 

“It's the greatest place to raise kids,” says Roy, as he reflects on the upbringing of Sean, 34, Collin, 29 and Molly, 26 (she’s the newest chiropractor in the Love practice). “You have a wonderful world-class high school. You have hiking and fishing. And after you expose your kids to culture, you get back in your car and you’re home in five minutes.”

Dr. Love’s early years in State College required hard work to establish his practice, yet he still got involved with community activities. First he coached all of his kids’ soccer and basketball teams until they reached seventh grade. Next, he originated the idea for the Haunted Granary, an annual fund-raiser for the Lemont Village Association, and he served on its board for many years. And then he chaired the board and raised the funds to start the Stan Yoder Preserve, a 15-acre property in Boalsburg that offers walking paths and a lovely natural area.

BIG-TIME BOOSTER FOR STATE THEATRE

But no other local cause could capture Dr. Love’s passion as fully as The State Theatre. He recalls being invited by local businessman Mike Negra to join a group of folks who were pondering a complete renovation of the old movie theatre at 130 W. College Ave. Predictably enough, Love was “all in” then and remains that way today, long after the rebuilt facility’s grand opening on Dec. 14, 2006.

“I love live music and I love performance,” says the man who has given or raised hundreds of thousands of dollars on behalf of the facility. “I grew up with an ability to go to small venues outside of Philadelphia and see the likes of Arlo Guthrie and Bonnie Raitt. And we lived near the Temple Music Festival, so from age 14 on, my friends and I were fearless about sneaking in and sitting in seats close to the stage.  So we had great exposure to great musicians. And we didn't have that kind of venue in State College where there’s an intimate setting with quality musicians. But now, we've had David Crosby, Graham Nash, some really phenomenal performers, and every single seat in The State Theater is less than 30 yards away from the stage.”

Great performances are important to the veteran chiropractor, but so are the relationships he has formed through the theatre.  He’ll certainly never forget Mr. and Mrs. Sid Friedman, owners of the building and major donors to the theater. 

“I remember multiple times giving Mrs. Friedman my arm while walking through the alley with Sid to the State Theater,” he says. “Then, maybe three or four years after the theater opened, Sid died and then Helen died maybe two years after that. They were a wonderful couple who did so much for our community, especially The State Theatre. And the Friedman family continues to be a major benefit to the theatre.” 

SERVING WITH DESMOND

Serving with The State Theatre also led to Love’s friendship with Mike Desmond. Brought together by Negra in 2001 because of their common interest in The State, the two have shared two multi-year stints on the theatre’s board—and lots of laughter. Asked to describe the Loves, Desmond told me this: “Roy and Cindy Love continually live up to their name and reputation. They’re caring and generous and gracious. And Roy has an element of the prankster.” 

Some years ago, Love was playing Santa Claus at the Senior Center, and while still in costume he decided to pay a prankster’s visit to his new friend Mike Desmond. He also brought a prop—a package of coal. “I went to Hotel State College and said to Mike, ‘You’ve been a really nasty bad boy. So all you deserve is coal.’ And he didn’t know who I was. I let it ride for about three weeks until I told him it was me. We became very good friends after that.”

Desmond’s account of the Santa incident is identical to Love’s, but he also tells another costume story that the doctor forgot to mention. “We had a costume party to support The State Theatre in the Autoport’s main dining room. And Roy came as ‘The Man in the Shower.’ If you can imagine this, he manufactured a harness that rested on his back and went over his shoulders.  To that, he attached aluminum shower rods above his head in a ring with a shower curtain all around himself. So he had the shower curtain pulled so you could only see his legs from the knees down. And then he’d slide open the curtain and there would be Roy in a shower cap, wearing a pair of shorts and holding a scrub brush. That was my all-time favorite Roy Love costume.”


Shown here at Good Day Café, Dr. Love continually urges business and community groups to gather at the coffee shop which is operated by Strawberry Fields. (Photo by Bill Horlacher)

ALL IN FOR PENN STATE BASKETBALL

Few fans have been more steadfast in supporting Nittany Lion men’s basketball than Roy Love. Because he understands the context of the program, he’s not one to get frustrated by the team’s ups and downs. “Until this year (2019-20), they were always under-skilled over-achievers,” he says.

Love notes that his heart for the Lions stems from his appreciation for basketball and also from his respect for Coach Pat Chambers.  “He’s a family man,” says Love. “He has a deep faith. And he loves the guys.”

Like me, Chambers is a patient who appreciates Love’s chiropractic care and his friendship. “It’s not just about going in there and getting an adjustment,” he says. “He really cares about you. And for me, with the pressure I’m under—because I need to win—he’s able to alleviate that as a warm and kind person you can talk to.”

Chambers recalls one particularly traumatic loss from several years ago that left him virtually unable to move the next day. “I texted him and said, ‘I’m hurt, I can’t move, I need help.’  Within an hour, he and Cindy came right to my house. And within a day, I was up moving again and back at practice. That’s a powerful story to me, but I don’t want people to think he does house calls.”  

GOOD DAY CAFÉ IS HIS BRAINCHILD

Because Molly earned her bachelor’s degree and competed on the track team at UNC Wilmington, it was not uncommon for the Loves to visit that Carolina beach community. On one such trip, they enjoyed Bitty & Beau’s, a fabulous coffee shop that is staffed by disabled adults. Already a Strawberry Fields booster, Roy knew the concept would work on the heels of a similar enterprise, the reuse store called Scraps & Skeins.    

“I knew we could do this in State College,” says Love, “and I knew it would be incredibly successful.”  

And so, the next time Pasquinelli came to his office, the chiropractor insisted that she visit the website for Bitty & Beau’s. She did, and the process for launching Good Day Café had begun.  Says Pasquinelli, “Roy is one in a million! He is the spark that lit the fire to start Good Day Café.”     

As for his ongoing commitment to the café, Love explains it this way: “We have a social blanket that helps those with disabilities until age 18. But once that’s over, are you going to just sit around for the rest of your life? Everyone wants to find a fulfilling job. I would like to see everybody in State College hold their meetings at Good Day Café.”

Pat Chambers is one leader who is already on board with Love and the Strawberry Fields coffee shop. “My one assistant coach, Keith Urgo, has a daughter with Downs,” says Chambers. “So with Roy pouring his heart into a cause like Good Day Café, that hits home for us. He wants to make you feel better about yourself, and Good Day Café is a perfect example. The logo is basically a sun with a smile. That’s who Roy and Cindy Love are. They want to impact people in a positive way, and I’m incredibly blessed to have them in my life.”


 

Roy Love has been providing chiropractic treatment to local residents since 1986.  (Photo provided by Cindy Love)

 



Bill Horlacher is a native of Happy Valley, a 1970 graduate of State College High School and a 1974 graduate of Penn State (journalism). He has spent his last 30 years in service to international students, helping them with personal, cultural and spiritual adjustments to America. After 39 years of living in California, Maryland and Texas, Bill returned to State College in 2013 along with his wife, Kathy.
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