Skip to main content

Compere, Clinton L. (Clinton Lee), 1911-1991



  • Existence: 1911-1991


Clinton Lee Compere was born February 17, 1911 in Greenville, Texas to Edward L. Compere and Clara Davison Compere. He attended Baylor University in Texas from 1927 to 1928, but decided then to transfer to Northwestern's Medical School, where his older brother, Edward L. Compere, was an orthopedic surgeon. Clinton earned his B. S. degree in 1936 and his medical degree in 1937 at Chicago. In the following months he worked as a technical and research assistant, and in 1938 went as an intern to the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan. From 1939 through 1940 Compere completed his residency in orthopedic surgery at the Blodgett Memorial Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

With his first wife, Mildred Ferriss, who died in 1948, he had two children: Clinton Jr., who was born in 1941, and Katy, born in 1945. On March 31, 1949, he married his second wife, Katharine Gram.

During World War II Compere served in the U.S. Army. In 1943 he was sent to Temple, Texas to work at a large amputation center at McCloskey General Hospital, but soon he left for Richmond, Virginia, where he was made chief of the amputation section at McGuire General Hospital. He was discharged from military service as Lieutenant Colonel in 1946, but for decades acted as consultant of the orthopedic surgery of the U.S. Army, North (Fifth Army). Compere settled in Evanston, Illinois, where he began a private practice in orthopedic medicine. At the same time he joined Northwestern's School of Medicine as an instructor at the Department of Bone and Joint Surgery. In 1950 Compere was appointed assistant professor of that department, three years later assistant professor for orthopedic surgery, and in 1956 associate professor. During the following years he intensified his research in bone pathology, prosthetics, and orthopedic rehabilitation. He was one of the founding members of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC), and was named vice-chairman of the board of directors of the RIC in 1957.

The United States President's Committee on Employment of the Physically Handicapped awarded him a citation for meritorious service in 1959. In the same year Northwestern's Medical School launched its new Prosthetic Education Program which was organized by Compere. This program was operated on a training grant from the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, and provided courses about the prescription, fabrication and fitting of artificial limbs and braces and the rehabilitation of the handicapped.

In 1965 Northwestern appointed Compere professor of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery. His special interests focused on major joint replacements, prosthetics-orthotics, bone pathology and professional liability. In 1972 Compere became director of the Rehabilitation Engineering Program at Northwestern's McGaw Medical Center, which at that time focused on total joint replacement research and the development of assistive aids for profoundly disabled individuals. In the same year he became member of the University Council for Orthotic Prosthetic Education (UCOPE).

In 1978 Compere was named chairmen of Northwestern's Department of Orthopedic Surgery. He held this position until he retired in 1980.

Compere was a member of numerous medical associations, including the American Medical Association, American Board of Orthopedic Surgery, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, American Orthopedic Association, Institute of Medicine of Chicago, and American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine. He also worked as a consultant to the amputee clinics of the U.S. Veterans Administration, and to the Chicago Cubs.

Clinton Compere died on May 26, 1991 in his home in Tucson, Arizona.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Clinton Lee Compere (1911-1991) Papers

Identifier: 18/3/19/1
Abstract Clinton Lee Compere was a professor of orthopedic surgery at Northwestern's Medical School and, as a founding member of Northwestern's Rehabilitation Engineering Program (REP), nationally recognized as an authority on rehabilitation engineering. His main focus was the improvement of prosthetic devices for the physically handicapped. Compere participated actively in the development of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) to one of the best rehabilitation hospitals in the country. The...
Dates: 1954-1991; Other: Date acquired: 06/02/2011