Remembering Dr. Fred C. Tinning

Remembering Dr. Fred C. Tinning, Second President of PNWU

A national leader in osteopathic medical education, Dr. Tinning served as PNWU president from 2006 through 2007, and led development of the PNWU College of Osteopathic Medicine. Previously, he served as President of Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine from 1984 to 1996, and was awarded the title of President Emeritus of AT Still University-Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Dr. Tinning expressed his committed support of PNWU students though an annual gift for the Dr. and Mrs. Fred C. Tinning Osteopathic Principles and Practice Award in Memory of Melicien Tettambel. This award recognizes an outstanding 4th year student each spring at graduation. Tribute gifts for this award in memory of Dr. Tinning can be made online,, or through Michele Erickson,

Dr. Tinning was very kind and generous in offering PNWU his expertise, and I experienced his big-hearted nature during telephone conversations with him this past year. We are truly grateful for Dr. Tinning’s leadership and mentorship during PNWU’s formative years.

Any additional information on services for Dr. Tinning will be shared when available.

On behalf of the PNWU community, we offer sincere condolences to the family and friends of Dr. Fred C. Tinning.


Dr. Fred C. Tinning, age 83, unexpectedly went home to be with Jesus on November 30, 2019, after having had a broken heart since losing his sweetheart of nearly 62 years in February of this year. Fred was born August 15, 1936 to James and Susan (Smith) Tinning in Detroit, Michigan. His mom and dad were proud Scottish immigrants. His father came to Detroit in 1927 working as a tool and die maker and his mother made the journey from their beloved Scotland with Fred’s four older siblings in 1928. Fred had many adventures in and around Detroit as a young boy and shared many wonderful stories of those simpler times. He attended Dixon Elementary School where he found friendships that he maintained to this day. Fred graduated from McKenzie High School in 1954. He then went on to attend Michigan State University where he earned three degrees. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Business in 1959, followed by a Master of Arts in Rehabilitation Counseling in 1961. He became a graduate assistant for the then Dean of the Michigan State University School of Osteopathic Medicine and it rekindled an interest he had as a young man in the Osteopathic profession. He continued and pursued his Doctoral degree and wrote his Thesis for the Degree of Ph.D. on “An Experimental Study Investigating The Effects Of Real And Simulated Clinical Training On Psychomotor, Affective and Cognitive Variables During Real Clinical Performance Of First Year Osteopathic Medical Students.” He earned his PhD in Medical Education in 1973 and thereafter began his career in the world of Osteopathic Medical Education.

During his time at Michigan State in 1958, Fred met the love of his life and his eternal sweetheart, Janet Eileen Marshall. They married on March 9, 1963. Although this date was incredibly important and meaningful to them, perhaps the most significant date in their lives was on January 24, 1971, when they both committed their lives to the Lord by asking Him to come into their hearts and be their Lord and Savior. This wonderful decision would define their life of service to the Lord and enable them to be witnesses to so many about the saving grace of Jesus.

After earning his PhD, Dr. Tinning was officially hired by the Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine (MSU-COM). He proudly served MSU-COM in the following capacities: 1972-1973 Instructor in the Department of Osteopathic Medicine and Administrative Assistant for Clinical Affairs, Director of Educational Program Implementation 1973-1974 Director and Associate Professor, Office of Staff and Educational Resources 1974-1975 Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs, Associate Professor, Office of Academic Affairs 1975-1984 Assistant Dean for Planning and Program Operations; Professor, Department of Counseling, Personnel Services and Educational Psychology, College of Education, MSU; and Professor, Department of Community Health Science.

In 1999, he received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the MSU Alumni Association for his outstanding community, state, and national service.

His time at his beloved alma mater was not limited to academia, however. Dr. Tinning, or “Doc” as he was widely known, was incredibly involved on campus. Together, Doc and Janet started the MSU chapter of the Fellowship of Christians Athletes (FCA). Through FCA they held Bible Studies at their home every Monday evening and had a house full of MSU student athletes who wanted to learn more about a relationship with the Lord. He was also the faculty advisor for the MSU Varsity “S” Club, again serving athletes in every sport on campus. Lastly, Doc was invited to become the Chaplain/Advisor for the Michigan State Football team. He served as Chaplain and traveled with the football team for over 8 years, conducting chapel services before games and mentoring hundreds of young men in their faith and in life. He loved every minute spent with these wonderful students and supporting his Spartan family.

After his time at MSU was done, Dr. Tinning became the eighth president of the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (KCOM) in 1984. At the time, the founding school of the Osteopathic profession was struggling and in financial distress. When he arrived, he said he was committed to one goal: “To do what is right for the institution, by preserving traditions and planning tomorrows.” And he did just that. The time of “New Beginnings” for the founding school had begun. His commitment served him well throughout his 12-year tenure. Before he retired in 1996, the school dedicated a new education center in 1994 that is named in his honor and began the allied health campus in Phoenix, AZ that has developed into the Arizona School of Health Sciences, now located in Mesa. Upon his retirement Dr. Tinning was named president emeritus of KCOM (now A.T. Still University – Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine) and received a doctor of osteopathic education honorary degree at ATSU-KCOM’s commencement on May 17, 2014. He was so very proud to have been given this honor by the institution and profession that he so dearly loved.

Dr. Tinning also served as President at Pacific Northwest University from 2006-2007. Throughout his career he has been an advisor and consultant to multiple Osteopathic colleges including Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, North Texas State University, New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, Florida Osteopathic Medical Association, and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Jersey College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Dr. Tinning had more than 45 years of experience in educational administration, medical education, consulting, and rehabilitation counseling. He made a lasting impact and extensive contribution to the Osteopathic profession as a whole.

His professional career was remarkable; however, he would certainly have said that his most important roles in life were as a follower of Jesus, committed to sharing the Gospel with as many people as possible, a devoted husband, loving father, doting Papa and wonderful son, brother, uncle and friend. He loved fiercely, spoke boldly, and put Jesus first every day. For the last seven years, Doc has been sending a daily scripture message to hundreds of people from all walks of his life. And these messages have certainly been passed to many thousands of people over time. The impact he has surely made is beyond comprehension this side of Heaven.

Fred was preceded in death by Janet, his beloved wife of nearly 56 years. He is survived by his daughters Marie (Curtis) Ebeling of Memphis, Missouri; Jean (Michael) Virkus of Rochester, Michigan; and Laura (Wade) Reister of Lansing, Michigan; his “adopted” son, Gregory (Amy) Body of Phoenix, Arizona; grandchildren Christina (fiancé Todd Fox), Elizabeth, Rachel and Rebekah Duzan and Matthew Ebeling; Benjamin, Jacob and Marlowe Virkus; Alec, Zachary, Maximus and Mason Bode; Step-Grandchildren Josh (Kat), Emily and Andrew Ebeling; Godson Tristan Buckner; Sisters-In-Law Virginia Johnson of Petaluma, California and Arlene (Doug) Turner of Brighton, Michigan; as well as many nieces, nephews and cousins. In addition, he is survived by so many others who called him Dad, Papa and “Doc”, and he cherished those relationships more than words could express.

Services for Dr. Tinning will be held at Davis-Playle-Hudson-Rimer Funeral Home in Kirksville, Missouri. Visitation will be held on Friday, December 13 from 1-4 pm and 5-8 pm. And the Celebration of Life Service will be held on Saturday, December 14 at 11:00 am with burial following at the Parkview Memorial Gardens on site. There will be a meal for all family and friends immediately following in the Family Center.

In addition, a Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, January 4, 2020 at the University Club of Michigan State University, 3435 Forest Road, Lansing, MI 48910. A lunch will be held for the family at 11:00 am. There will be a visitation time at 1:00 pm followed by the Celebration of Life Service beginning at 2:00 pm. Then following will be a coffee and dessert reception for all who wish to stay and visit further with family and friends.

If you wish to make a donation in Fred’s memory, there are three organizations which were extremely significant and meaningful to him.

The Tinning Endowment is a fund through A.T. Still University (formerly the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine) that will provide money to a scholarship that will help Medical Students in need of financial support as well as offer funding to continue the annual A.T. Still Memorial Lecture.

The Michigan Fellowship of Christian Athletes has been very important to him for so many years. The money donated will go toward providing scholarships for children who are in need and will enable them to attend an FCA summer athletic camp. At camp they will have the opportunity to learn more about their sport, but more importantly they will be nurtured and loved by people who will teach them about a relationship with Jesus Christ. It will also support the starting of new FCA huddle groups across the state of Michigan.

The Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project is an amazing organization for which Dr. Tinning served on the Board of Advisors. Its founder and CEO, Twesigye Jackson Kaguri, was like a son to Dr. Tinning and “Momma Janet” and is an extended member of the Tinning family. Jackson started the organization after recognizing the extensive need in his home country of Uganda. The AIDS epidemic had taken two of his siblings and he learned that over one million children had lost either one or both parents to the epidemic and were lacking basic human needs that most of us take for granted.

To donate, you may send a check to one of the following: ATSU, Tinning Endowment, Development Office, 800 West Jefferson, Kirksville, MO 63501 Or Michigan Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Fred and Janet Tinning Memorial Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 90053, Grand Rapids, MI 49509-9920 Or Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project, Fred and Janet Tinning Memorial Fund, 2970 E. Lake Lansing Road, East Lansing, MI 48823.



(Obituary via