All good things must come to an end. Lloyd Cleaver (’72) had a monopoly as the only dermatologist in Kirksville for more than two decades. The native of Macon, Mo., attended both Truman and A.T. Still University, and after serving in the Navy, he returned to open Cleaver Dermatology in 1986.
Like with most successful businesses, competition eventually followed. First it was one doctor, then another, and before long a third was practicing in town. Rather than feel any pressure, Cleaver was actually pleased to welcome each new physician since they are his sons. All three followed in their father’s footsteps, attending Truman and ATSU. Patients calling the office to make an appointment with Dr. Cleaver need to be specific as the practice now includes David (’02), Jonathan (’04) and Nathan (’06).
“It is a delight, and I pinch myself to see if I am dreaming,” Lloyd said of working with his sons. “We have always been very close, but continuing to work together brings us even closer.”
Many people cannot imagine working with a family member, let alone three, and the doctors get comments to that effect from patients all the time.
“I always say it is great 99 percent of the time,” Jonathan said. “We all have strengths that we can bring to the table which makes working in a family practice easier. We all round each other out well.”
Since Lloyd started the practice more than 30 years ago, Cleaver Dermatology has grown exponentially. From humble beginnings in Gutensohn Clinic, it now occupies an expansive building on the south end of town, and the doctors see patients in five other locations in Missouri and two in Iowa. Services consist of medical, cosmetic and surgical dermatology, as well as dermatopathology. Cleaver Dermatology also includes a skin spa specializing in a variety of products.
There may be more growth much farther down the road. Jonathan’s eight-year-old son, Brighton, already considers himself a dermatologist in training and occasionally shows up in scrubs to “help out” at the office. While Lloyd’s run as the area’s sole dermatologist did come to an end, it also marked the start of a new streak: Cleaver Dermatology as a multi-generational enterprise.