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Feb-24-2013 23:42printcommentsVideo

Dr Phil Leveque: The Coolest 90-Year Old on Planet Earth

Happy Birthday Doc Leveque: WWII Hero, Professor of Pharmacology, Forensic Toxicologist and top Oregon Pot Doctor!

Doc Leveque during WWII in his 'battle rattle' and today.
Doc Leveque during WWII in his 'battle rattle' and today.

(PORTLAND, OR) - Dr. Phillip Leveque celebrated his 90th birthday Friday by appearing on the popular Portland television show, Cannabis Common Sense. The thing is, Doc is not 90-years old, he's 90-years young! Ask anyone who knows him, they will tell you the same thing.

Just a few years ago, he went up the Snake River on a jet boat with our documentary team. No hesitation whatsoever.

Phillip Leveque's life is like a whole bunch of lives put together. He's a "never say die" kind of man, always challenging those around him to make a difference in whatever they are doing. If you are sitting still too long in his presence, there is a very good chance he will have you reading aloud to the group in no time. His years as a Professor show through.

His father was a Construction Superintendent for about 50 sawmills in the Pacific Northwest. He told his sons in 1940 that the trees were about gone, so they should find other careers. They agreed, and both Phil and his older brother Charles went into the medical industry.

Their family lived in Klamath Falls, Oregon, a pure log and sawmill town when Phil was between 5 and 12 years old. He never meant to live anywhere other than Oregon, but life has a way of making it's own plans.

Phillip Leveque paid his way through college with a major in chemistry when he signed up for the Army. "I volunteered for the Army in May 1944. I thought they could use a good chemist, but I was wrong. Instead I was dragooned into being a Battalion scout, point man and forward observer, a real Dogface," he said. He was trained in chemical Warfare but was sent to the Infantry to become a scout - the most dangerous job.

Doc served under the infamous General George Patton. Among many other challenging and life-threatening events, he walked from Luxembourg to Czechoslovakia mostly under fire.

"Being in Patton's Third Army was a mixed blessing. Everybody knew about the swashbuckling, profane theatrical General. The men at the front of his attacking battle sword spoke of him as Old Blood and Guts - Our Blood and His Guts. He seemed to expect more from his troops and officers than any other General. Many of his Divisions had the highest casualty rates. Our introduction to the Third Army was enough to scare even the most Gung Ho Infantryman."

He lost many friends in WWII, but fortunately never took a life, which is a blessing for a man born to be a life saver and healer. After the war, he was sent to Eisenhower's Headquarters to be a statistician in Public Health.

The esteemed Doctor continued his education after the war, and hold degrees in Chemistry, Biochemistry, Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Osteopathy. He was a Professor of Pharmacology, employed by the University of London for 2 years; and he personally trained the first doctors in Tanzania.

"I taught in Africa for two years. My students were from a dozen different African tribes as well as Pakistan and India. When I left I was presented with a Chief's cane and an invitation to return," Leveque recalled.

He was one of Oregon's first toxicologists and has served as an expert witness in more than 400 cases. "I won about 80% of my cases and angered a lot of lawyers in the process," he laughed.

Dr. Leveque ("Doc") was instrumental in the creation of Oregon law that allowed the use of Medical Marijuana in the late 1990's.

He worked with Paul Stanford to launch the THCF Clinics, and Doc signed 5,000 applications for the sick and dying in Oregon. He helped at least 500 Veterans receive relief with the non-lethal, non-synthetic Cannabis plant.

Helping so many people drew attention to him however, and he was the victim of a massive anti-informational campaign that eventually cost him his ability to practice medicine in Oregon. That was a sad day for the people of this state. He stood his ground however, and does so to this day. We stand with him.

We recall the countless times we have been with Dr. Leveque at events like 'Hempstalk' in Portland, where you can't move twenty feet sometimes without another Doc Leveque fan running up to thank him and acknowledge him.

So many say Dr. Leveque was the first to listen to them about the benefits of medical marijuana use, how using the herb had changed their lives for the better. The overwhelming evidence speaks for itself.

Not a surprise for those that have experienced the Hell of war, Dr. Leveque suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) more than 60 years after WWII. Because he had a unique understanding of the effects of PTSD, he specialized in treating Veterans during his years as a doctor in Molalla, Oregon. Many of them attribute their success in overcoming hard drug and alcohol addiction to his help and support.

In honor of Armed Forces Day 2012, Dr. Leveque was asked to be keynote speaker at an event in McMinnville, Oregon. He shared his story, "the best kept secret of World War II", keeping his audience on the edge of their seats through to the last word. It was a story unlike any other, and involved a surprising intoxicant (where there's a will, there's a way!). To hear that story, you will have to get your hands on Doc's book.

That's right, among his many accomplishments, he is also an author. He wrote the book, "General Patton's Dogface Soldier of WWII", where the poem below was originally published. The origin of the term "Dogface" is best summed up by one who knows, firsthand:

    "Perhaps I should explain the derivation of the term dogface. We lived in 'pup tents' and foxholes. We were treated like dogs in training. We had dog tags for identification. The basic story is that wounded soldiers in the Civil War had tags tied to them with string indicating the nature of their wounds."

"The tags were like those put on a pet dog or horse, but I can't imagine anybody living in a horse tent or being called a horseface. Correctly speaking, only Infantrymen are called dogfaces. Much of the time we were filthy, cold and wet as a duck-hunting dog and we were ordered around sternly and loudly like a half-trained dog," explained Dr. Phil Leveque, WWII Army Veteran.

Dogface Soldier

I went to the vet’s clinic to ask of PTSD

The receptionist, she laughs, and says “we don’t have that here”

And the helpers in the clinic laugh and fit to die

I outs it to the street an’ to myself says I

It’s “sojer” this and “sojer” that and “ ‘sojer’ go away”

But it’s “thank you Dogface ‘sojer’ when army bands start to play

The band begins to play, my boys the band begins to play

And it’s “thank you Dogface “sojer” when the band begins to play

His recollection of crossing the Rhine River is a harrowing tale. They lost 150 men that day. So is the story of the day he captured 26 Nazi officers almost single-handedly; they were holding a meeting inside of a commandeered French house when he and another soldier came upon them, convincing them to give themselves up. Another day, they lost 20 men of a thirty man platoon who charged a German machine gun. War is full of losses.

He says it took several decades for him to even begin to talk about the war, and some special prodding from his wife. Eventually he mastered the ability and his stories all give you chills, every single one.

Doc was severely injured in a car accident shortly after returning to the United States from his military service in Europe. He actually broke his neck! He was told he would never walk again, but he proved them wrong. He spent many months in traction, healing from this severe event, and still feels the pain every day, but it wouldn't be like Phil Leveque to let a broken neck stop him.

His wife, Eve, was a Holocaust survivor and suffered her own form of PTSD. Her solution was to keep busy, and that was easy with Phil as a partner. What a hoot they had together, they and their five kids and the adventure of a lifetime. She was a very committed, highly respected nurse and also an artist. Her paintings are awesome and intense. They tell the story of a little girl whose father, a prominent Jewish German physician, barely survived the war. 14 out of 16 of his relatives disappeared during the war and were never seen again. They were likely murdered like so many other people who Hitler's forces claimed. She was sent to England and was saved.

Our time with Doctor Leveque has been incredible, he entered our lives bringing a great deal of valuable information about medical marijuana to readers. Dozens of video reports have been shot and produced with the good doctor and the trauma of war is an often discussed subject.

Dr Phillip Leveque has plans for today, tomorrow, and next week... we expect another good twenty years at minimum, and we aren't alone. We can only guess what fun that will mean for the rest of us!

Special thanks to Paul and Theresa Stanford, Michael and Angie Bachara, and everyone who has stood by Dr. Leveque!

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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lisa February 17, 2014 2:11 pm (Pacific time)

volunteer at the milwakie center...You go Doc

Dominique March 2, 2013 11:13 am (Pacific time)

Happy 90th Birthday, Dad!

Anonymous February 26, 2013 7:13 pm (Pacific time)

The good die young it seems.

Wishing Many More February 26, 2013 8:37 am (Pacific time)

Glad Salem News has it own "Dr. Phil", and HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Sir!

Portland mom February 26, 2013 3:22 am (Pacific time)

We salute your service to your country and for your continuing help for humanity.

Matt Johnson February 26, 2013 2:21 am (Pacific time)

Love that title! It could not be more accurate, we are all so fortunate that Dr. Leveque is still going so strong!

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