Lilien Vogl, O.D. talks with Donald E. Jarnagin, O.D. about optometry history and the future of the profession

Recorded March 5, 2019 Archived March 5, 2019 44:26 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: APP618124


On Friday, February 22, 2019, Dr. Lilien Vogl, Chair of the Optometric Historical Society, sat down with Dr. Donald E. Jarnagin, past-president of the American Optometric Association (1995-1996) to talk about his life, his work and developments in the profession of optometry in Arizona and nationally during the course of the last half century. Dr. Jarnagin passed away one week from the date of this interview.


  • Donald E. Jarnagin
  • Lilien Vogl
  • Optometry Cares

Interview By




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00:02 It's recording. Ok, Google. My name is Lily and Vogel OD and the date is February 22nd 2018 and I'm interviewing 19 wrote the wrong. Date. I'm interviewing Donald chart again. OD as part of the influential Arizona, optometrist series for the Optometry cares, the American Optometric, Association foundation, and we're speaking at my home in Goodyear, Arizona. In this interview is being conducted in person. So doctor Jernigan. Do I have your permission to proceed with this interview? Thank you. And as you know, the goals of this program is really to learn more about in few influential optometrist who have made an impact on optometry in general, but also in our state of Arizona and specifically, I really wanted to know what made you successful and hear about your experiences it.

01:02 Your many roles in Optometry. All right.

01:06 Okay, start. Well, I actually would like to start at the beginning house that, where did you grow up? Timer? Probably, fifteen hundred to two thousand people and Counting, probably counting some sheep and some. So I went to one, Elementary School is all we had in one eye and it was probably a thousand students total and 400 students in high school. And I moved into town such as I was, but it was a really fun experience play outside. We could claim The Barn at a road.

01:57 Catch pigeons and telling the people who pick lemons on tell your hands are bleeding selling to the grocery stores, downtown Cafe.

02:12 A another apartment Stone store.

02:15 Three grocery stores in the room would have been there at 4.

02:29 I got about a hundred years. I say now, you know, she still kind of its kind of there but they can't expand it out when I get up when the owner died four years ago, but it was very it was a very fun plates and

02:42 My mom and dad were very influential, an education. My dad always said, you know, you don't have to go to college if you want to dig ditches for the rest. Your life was, meant hard labor, or did you go to college to be a pictures of you want to? So, you haven't, even if you have an option, you have a choice, what you want to do? So is it was dressed pretty heavily in my dad had two years at ASU 39 and 40, but you got to drop. Didn't have any money. So you want to work my ring for his brothers and then he got drafted in 1943 and got out of 46. So I was born in February 1945 and after it's born,

03:23 My mother took a train trip, he was stationed in Florida by herself with me and see the baby all the way and I can guarantee you. She never been that far before, California by herself, and she never really talked about it. But I think the other soldiers helped her soldiers on the trains. So you got there and stay.

03:48 About a year. And then my dad got out of 46. So he came in late and 43. They got out later the 46th, and he started, he had a $100 paycheck in the military.

04:00 He went and bought a pickup truck and a shovel the start of farming. But first he didn't have any money. So you farm. He had five brothers. And they all pharmd. Wonder if you're around Bluefield on Peoria. Wanting one in Chandler and Queen Creek. So we are all the farmers and eventually and

04:21 Did you want you was able to buy a property at 87th Avenue and 101 or Thunderbird?

04:28 It was the McLeod property. I'm pretty sure the guy homesteaded before the state is 65 acres. That was his first purchase and he worked he left before the sun comes up and came back after the sun goes down. So I didn't see didn't see me for a few years are very much cuz he was going to keep that property and not lose it and make the payments and he did. And then my mom went back to teaching, after my sister was born in 51 help pay the bills too. So she taught for seven or eight years, whatever.

04:59 So was a busy time, you know, and then we moved it at 858. In fact, it's kind of strange that we moved.

05:07 Either on Palm Sunday or Easter Sunday, I think is Easter Sunday. That's the first time you ever remember. Missing Church would not go to church that day. I literally couldn't believe it. She's very religious, man. We just never missed. That was just expected to be there. She can go Sunday. And if it was a church in Glendale that her grandfather and father helped build dams in 1950.

05:35 So her parents lose your 1914. Lot of sex in Atlanta at the corner of 51st Avenue and Peoria.

05:42 And for him, until he

05:45 Had a heart attack in 1951 over in California, just drop dead basement plate. So, the grandparents, he has put his parents were pretty old nephew tonight, but so they could inform placed over it and moved into Glendale.

06:01 So that's kind of the start, you know, and the education is funny. What? Elementary and high school getting such a small community is small school was as good as anybody when I went to ASU, I'd already had a lot of those courses already had. A lot of the math courses and science courses near thing. That's actually really amazing and they weren't paid more than $1,200 a year at that time. Whatever. It was one very much. So it was good time, you know, the small community and you got to get involved in and I got involved and I decided to sit around in the right if you're not part of the solution. So I ran for offices and

06:45 I was senior class president captain of football team. Had a great time here is like, crap. This is what I was thinking about going out on my own. But I saw, what franquicias I was recruiting from Youngstown, Ohio, and Pittsburgh, and all the faces. The running backs were bigger than I was, but I wasn't going to work very good.

07:24 So, I don't know that about you.

07:31 Okay, left tackle never give up the sack influenced. I mean team, captain influenced your leadership had one story. I was like sophomore.

07:58 I present the class in my best friend, the president. We were really close friends, but he moved that's that last that summer before junior year and some of my friends that we don't run into him. Try to be a nice guy and I was an idiot, but it's okay.

08:21 So you went to ask you for 3 years back to him, you didn't have to have a Bachelors or whatever. So I had about a hundred hours. So I applied and we'll how did you even think about it,? I don't really want to do that. And I know they make a lot of money, but I don't think you really happy to be honest with you. It really not even do like them. Whatever you something about our country. So I give me a brochure for LA City of Los Angeles. College. OK. Google was in Tempe.

09:12 And Jack.

09:21 So three of them came here. They work in peace at work. If he needs with filters, are you get a license that was mandatory and I was going to that was so you had to work for them. Otherwise, you couldn't get your license Rick, okay.

09:40 And then the three of you decide after they got their license, he came here in North Kemah Lindale scope and Stimpy, rain jacket rain jacket jacquet, somebody's running at practice and I don't know who it is. I wasn't at once. You might have any mind, but they all went to every town in Mesa Tempe and Glendale and did very, very, very well. They were the first ones outside of Phoenix in this area.

10:10 So, of course, they did, my partner has used to see his fees from the 40s and 50s. It was $5 for exam, $5 for Liam's and $5 for a frame motion with gold in a gold ring with a screw loose in the volume 70.

10:44 You back then to get a license. You have to take a written test in July.

10:52 And I was guess. I thought it was observing you then. Lambourne.

11:19 Guy from mckeeman name.

11:25 I have to give me all these names again. I will join him. And then in September I get this letter o o. Okay. So you're in already bought equipment, was lease equipment in the morning. I thought he was going to die cuz he was already slowing down. He was but

11:53 55, then he loved to play golf. So he's going to play some more coffee, so I didn't go until January 1.

12:06 And then he saved the practice from his wacky bags, every 3 I rejoin him.

12:11 Give me Tuesday to set up a professional Corporation in Glendale Heights. Red brick building, right? By the restaurant. We can go out the back door, hard, or go to their kitchen glass coffee.

12:35 And then and 83 wanted me to buy the building is going to slow down. Even more, wasn't worth what he wanted and I didn't want to disappoint place. If not, I'm going to my brother and my dad set up a practice at 53rd Avenue and Northern Golf Course.

12:53 And I feel like a building breakfast.

12:59 I had about three 3500 square feet for a house in other rental properties. From

13:10 How much is new practice cigarette, forgot his name?

13:17 We parked with the other four five six years. What we wanted to do and everything. I got back in the military.

13:44 73-74, this is coming.

13:53 Dr. Fahrendorf.

13:55 Wife's brother Ryan. So you got now.

14:07 And,

14:09 I meant to say.

14:12 I'll give you your right after the military. Just practice. In fact.

14:26 You paid him. I got you. And then I had to pay him $80,000 over 7 or 8 years.

14:44 I didn't hurt him. Tax-wise, then another hundred twenty-five and up paying $200,000, which is really a lot back then, but it was taken out of the corporation as a note. So I can come out of my pocket Davis before taxes, which was really, really, really, really good. And then I finally bought him out completely, then he was working. And then in 19,

15:07 I don't want to see patients anymore or 83 when you bought the buying into it, you know, the second one was like another their Partners. They were just people I don't I know who he is.

15:52 Well, most but not all day and then he moved out.

16:03 And then I had this face and then I have people feeling as I moved up the ladder and a UA. So I became 94, we can present left in 95 and became president.

16:16 So, you know, why did you get interested in doing something and ask you to do start state level for you? And he didn't want to spend the time. So they kind of told him to go away and they put me on there. I was the year. I was the year. I get back in 73. I was a computer pack Rose Byrnes with before me, and even on the easy way bored, then I took over and he was in charge of legislation so that I can 75 or I-95 from the last night, back to Washington DC.

16:56 Interviewing Barry Goldwater are not talking to him and stuff like that. So I can go out and all the things you've heard of I was sweating and just I was a mess.

17:21 Funny about 2:30. I said, I got to get some sleep. They want on. I don't know where they got or whatever they want without you. I have no idea. I don't care if I was President 7778 and I went on the federal relations Activities, Committee, Washington, DC.

17:46 Then I was cheer for 3 years.

17:48 Maybe 3-day you six years before and you going to be cheering for three years. I went off in the night that's on the hospital care committee to get privileges for optometrist on showing how to do that. And then I ran for the board and 87. You want to really contested race against doctor from New York state, which has 10 times.

18:14 Allevyn help me. He got about 60% of

18:18 Pennsylvania.

18:23 And I have the southeast that went a good portion of California. Then I got him all the rest of them pretty much. So by the time we got to Tennessee election was already.

18:37 He never, he never came back to another meeting. You just went away feeling. And if you come back, if you lose him from New York City, what city is from the state to do so, he had other things to do, but you never been back since we ran a campaign. And, you know, I talk to every present and I went to their meetings. I did everything wrong with the California couple times this year than I could have made. Certain that out. Didn't it? California thinks you're like,

19:31 The Upper Crust is, you know, if they really do anything, if your present California better than being present of a way, they really believe that they really do. And I can tell you cuz I've heard say that

19:43 But the day was fine. I enjoyed it. I did get divorced in 88.

19:49 Unfortunately with what happened and it wasn't really a always always my fault and then I just moved up. I was on there basically 10 years before it ended up his past with Joe from 87 to 97. In fact a relation. That's your past. So I think I had something to do with it.

20:25 What I was curious about, see I graduated in 88. So I really never knew what it was like to practice prior to,. We could only get reimbursed for contact lenses after cataract surgery. No implants at that time or they fake lenses, no exam. No nothing.

21:06 And we really worked hard there for

21:10 But it came out in 65. So that's why I was meaning. Those guys started working on it and it took 20 plus years to get at 21 years.

21:19 And I just remembered a long time. It really was it, but we were fighting battles in the younger does refraction. Those are not doctors and all that kind of stuff. And a lot of our doctors were that and I make a lot of money on Commercial beat the crap out of them, but we got that. And then we could deal for the exam or a related test and that I do tell you. We told people Medicare won't be more than $100. I'll guarantee you. It's

22:01 Go to Vegas right now. What about just bill?

22:05 Four fields and everything. So it really expanded the scope of what the reimbursement for optometrist that takes Medicare. Realize, these guys can do things. You know, how good we had to send patients? Are you couldn't do. Care? So they had them to their Optical, whatever, to get the glasses chairs, son would send them back in those days.

22:35 1970. We were really a refract, detect and refer profession. We really want a profession.

22:44 We are really just a I don't like it.

22:49 Occupation, I guess I hate to use that word cuz we really couldn't do anything. We couldn't treat. You don't even know a lot of this day before Kobe and get drugs here until 76 or 77 one of the other day. I got an ostrich and then this is really true. Had a rough Mall. Just take a bottle of hurricane.

23:10 He's an optometrist going to kill people in the streets with us.

23:14 It was Thomas More, the Pediatric, he is I actually had some Uptown just want to get it.

23:21 Anyone.

23:23 He was just nasty. And that's was he is we kept telling, look at our curriculum. It's not what it was 20s and 30s and 40s is expanding. Finally got enough, legislators and Bruce Willis.

23:49 Brewster theater. Fresno been cutting and we had Frank Kelly Slater.

24:03 We said find him and Frank Kelly helper,. You said gentleman?

24:12 But he pulled in the bottom drawer, you see this? But the build a nurse is never going to come out of there.

24:20 He was good friends with a phoenix opthamology. So yet they had trees down in.

24:25 Honey, pecan trees and stuff like that. So that was because that's where he got his Stacey.

24:44 When we forego for a rub.

24:49 I forgot for dilating drops. And then in 83, we went for.

24:56 Therapeutic.

25:00 Proposal at 8 I think I had to go take a course over there. So you see I do cuz I'm going to be here. All my weekend traveling for a UA, right? So is a three-week course over there.

25:17 It was three weeks. I know it's at least two weeks. So first and then Kenny John's came around.

25:37 Play 70s, early 80s and then the net and doing it for about 20 years. Now. She should be getting tight as I think she likes it.

25:50 So that's that's kind of my history. So far. They they're going back to

25:59 China National level is the Medicare thing. I don't know why I'm stuck on that. Could I I just wanted to understand the who in the leadership decided. This is the way up. Tama tree is going to go. I mean, or will we realize? I don't know who made the first decision. She has no refractions. Okay, that's what the law says. I think it was just a fragile. We had an abortion office started in 80.

26:44 8786 obvious all the time. And you know what? We just can't develop in. And a lot of the staff, we're actually staff members of congressman and Senators before they came to work for us.

27:08 So it wasn't just like one decision. Got to go for it. It wasn't like the decision in.

27:13 69, the New York terminal in hopping.

27:19 Elves of the Guardia, we have to change because we're being left out a thing, right? Because of Medicare and all the other insurance. Just as long as we're going to be there. We would have been a small-time for fiction.

27:47 And then a lot of us that time we're buying drugs from Tennessee, Acorn akorn, anybody? So I can get my bottom, like, call me tomorrow and see how you're doing, and come back.

28:05 I want to send somebody ten miles or like Chuck Roberts in Bisbee Gibson, coming in the Tucson. That's pretty stupid for attempted manslaughter. Legislators have to take off. I have to work. I will get a treatment that simple drug s, few side effects and it could be treated immediately had like a call. Long as he I got it back to her also.

28:38 Everybody had somebody to send her cataracts to savour retina Problem, whatever. So optometrist were pleased to get a turkey or ham and Christmas, maybe take him to the sun's getting him or something like that and they were happy. They were happy.

28:56 I'm late. A lot of, that was actually only had a great relationship. Unless did you send your patience? No, no, no. No.

29:08 And you know, there's a lot of haters out there and I might have been in your position. You know, I went through four years and four years of medical school in three years of a residency. I don't have any kind of like a little I don't think I would but I probably might be cuz they figure. They're at the top that you go through all this stuff and we only went three and four for before 4 and we're done. So I can see there is some

29:35 Some.

29:38 About to work.

29:41 Not jealousy, just some that we didn't pay her to this maybe.

29:46 Yes, cuz that's how they would never. Look at her education. We don't need to go another three or four years because we're not doing surgery per se. But look at what we're taking. I can tell you right now, the basic science, the students to hear, and I'm sure you two talk about it.

30:03 Was this the same as Dental students and they can do everything they can prescribe Latisse. And what they finally took it away from there, were guys that ever got in there. But but that is something for tried whatever they want.

30:20 But let's talk about your education interest. So, how did how did you get involved with Midwestern University?

30:33 86 or 7.

30:47 By 96.

31:10 She said, would you do somehow? She was referred to me by someone at Cigna somehow they had a connection with him?

31:19 Many years ago.

31:25 The president of what I said, the only way I'll be involved.

31:40 Is that is good for Optometry? It's good for Arizona, Optometry.

31:45 And there's a third one. What else do you use?

31:49 It was good for me. Let me know if you 3rd Avenue Northern multi-specialty Clinic Midwestern which is right there. Any clear? And had a nice office at 2. Big guy feels area to protest and everything. So it worked out pretty good and then Andy tonight at 98,

32:23 Hector Puerto Rico.

32:29 With higher Tuesday, he was denied a part of Rico.

32:39 Only had like three or four faculty of time so I can go over and help with the first class already come through. Okay, so and I was helping with the first year of clinical cases through Lacey lectured.

33:14 What methods and you were still seeing patients?

33:24 What are the bad things about working for me afternoon? Not in the morning, like it is now.

33:39 And then I pretty much left.

33:46 Also, when I want to order something at the Forum before, if I need to order, whatever from a field machine or whatever, but they give me everything I want it.

33:56 Everything they literally really did. Expand Mike. I didn't have a CT and I probably would have bought one of my own, but it did make a difference in. How do you have to have it? No, you don't have to have it but it's just better for diagnosis and then than 90 to get through the first class in May.

34:19 And then he said that was 99 the first class. I'll get it. But Dr. Lee who was the vice president for Optometry and pharmacy at that time?

34:39 Came to me and said she wants to go back. He was really wondering cuz he has a two and everything and it wouldn't give him enough room for the exam rooms and it works out fine. We'll chat again, but he was just really mentally tired and want to go back to Puerto Rico. They came and asked me cuz I was really the only one with any experience. Of course.

35:05 I said,

35:12 Patience and doing the boat for a couple months. I couldn't do it higher and faculty. You know, I had to hit my first six months. I had to fire.

35:31 PhD from Florida.

35:38 Then I had to try to do that so bad to get hired a lot of family turned back later. E45 every year.

35:46 And Goodman the same stuff I never done before. I did 274.

36:22 Let Me Lie Massacre, we stood right there, but we had a really narrow room for 20 ft and his biggest problem. I was just bored going through all the legal process. You just need an excuse to get out and he's a little short guy.

36:54 And most of these things I could see of either retired black in Fort Benning Georgia, which is a huge base or 18 year olds and just finished Heritage School and give me for exam. They got to prepare to pair of aviator sunglasses. They were excited, but they were happy. Is everything you could get back from going over there for anything. And that was still the

37:23 The mood and in America, you know, after

37:28 Parent. What world war was that a time ago? My time and

37:33 And I would have joined you. I got drafted. I wish I had known as going to get drafted. So I would have joined ahead of time. They didn't pay a dime for my education. Nothing.

37:43 And it was going to say, I do a lot of patience. So that's kind of like a residency in a way. You got to work. I got to help Ministry leave. We're like the hospital, supervisor Hospital.

38:13 You charge the hospital when you're on duty and we had it like once a month. Like from 5 to 6, to 6. You stay at the hospital. If I go spend my time.

38:28 What's going on, and he brought to the security and hit, should I?

38:40 Went to the island in, right? At 6 when you can see it.

38:45 So, they called the opthamologist, she had, and I went up with him and help him, and he said, okay, hold this magnet. So I can do some more cutting. So, I got to scrub up, do all that kind of stuff.

39:03 And actually took the eye out of cupcakes later. Go to beer.

39:08 I think the country lateral, I guess still a thing. I don't know if the Nevada but he said he has but back then it was so he lost the other five minutes. We can either start wrapping it up or whatever. You want you or another time if you want to do really I think you want to know how do I want to be known?

39:36 And, and also, who were your mentors is? Unless that's a long, long time. Or how would you like? Let's just do how

39:47 How would you like to be known in the Optometry Community? Get involved with small small, easy or a small ckrs, whatever.

40:04 And,

40:06 I saw the opportunity cuz it's a lot of us from John Amos and Sullivan's and other. They've been in the military would have got to use drugs. Then you come back out or like we're get leprosy. Can't use them all. So they went through the process of John Russian, Oregon, using Air Force. If you can on all those places that second one. Why can't we use in private practice? That was part of the part of the push sides. The

40:36 Military start, teaching pharmacology, analyzed up, which I think was a big move.

41:00 I guess you still going. I don't know. So but I just want to say okay.

41:06 We can push this. Eschew forward to help provide quality care to patients in our communities and we were scattered all over the place.

41:24 So, I feel that I've stood on the shoulders of people who came before me.

41:29 And I was able to see her. Okay, here's what we can do and see a future and a brighter future for Uptown with you. Make it a better place and not, there was bad when I started. I don't mean to say that but the improved here to the communities. We serve. That's what I want to do.

41:45 So I just kept going to borrow more more than one federations committee and my friends were all running for a whiteboard to said, you should run a couple years and decided to run, and it was a lot of fun, being a waitress to you. You got to go to different states.

42:02 The one thing I keep telling the current officers everything when you go to state, you meet with the Board of Trustees. Okay? Talk to just the average until our go talk to Joe blow over there. Find out how things really the one here cuz it's going to tell you the good things and come get a feel what was really going on and that's when we were going through a lot of drug changes and everything. So it was kind of excited for all the way up and like my

42:38 My theme for the year was not even specific, but it was.

42:43 Conquering challenges 3D successes therapeutic. You note from diagnostic to Thai, lady to Therapeutics encouraged to get more involved. So it was kind of my life.

43:14 I would have done it again, but not right away cuz I figured I'd traveled as President elect President for every 3 and 50 days.

43:25 So the biggest the biggest problem is that you lose all contact with your friends. You miss your old ring meetings, you missed her birthday parties and then what the happens, they stop.

43:46 Chamber board, but I had to go off of that but I just didn't have any time million people that beat or more full-time and chairman of the housing authority, and some other conditions and things. So you just lose all that. Could, you can't do it?

43:59 You can stop by whenever you want to. Okay. Well we got about a minute. Let me do that. Let me just put this on hold. Let's stop. This recording will not be able to resume this. Well.