Thomas Lee Ely is a 1964 graduate with
a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry.
He received is Doctor of Osteopathy
degree in 1980 from Kansas City College
of Osteopathic Medicine.
Ely, who had been a ROTC corps commander,
was commissioned into the U.S. Army
after earning his bachelor's degree,
serving in the medical service corps
and ultimately attaining the rank of
Thomas Lee Ely
While in the Army, he graduated with
honors in the U.S. Army Aviation Flight
Class and the Army Medical Department
Officer Advanced Course. He took two
tours in the Republic of Vietnam as
a medical evaluation "dustoff" pilot
and commanded medical evaluations in
Vietnam and Fort Ord, Calif.
After working within the medical
service corps for 12 years, Ely resigned
to attend Kansas City College of Osteopathic
Medicine, in Kansas City, Mo., on
a health professions scholarship through
the military. In medical school, Ely
served as class president during his
second, third and fourth years, graduated
10th out of 150 and was the recipient
of the Upjohn Achievement Award as
Upon completing medical school, Ely
returned to active duty in the Army,
serving as chief of the department
of primary care at Blanchfield Army
Hospital in Ft. Campbell, Ky.; chief
of the department of family medicine
at Womack Army Hospital in Ft. Bragg,
N.C.; family practice residency program
director at Womack Army Hospital;
and chief resident at DeWitt U.S.
Army Hospital in Ft. Belvoir, Va.
In 1988, Ely retired from the Army
after 20 years with the rank Lieutenant
Colonel to work at a private practice
in Clarksville, Tenn., where he worked
for 14 years. In 2000, he was elected
as chief of medical staff at Gateway
Medical Center and in 2002, accepted
the position of vice president for
medical affairs/director of medical
During Desert Storm, in 1991, he
was recalled into the Army and assigned
as department chief at a large teaching
In 2001, Ely was the recipient of
the Tennessee Osteopathic Medical
Association's "Physician of the Year"
Award, which is reserved for individuals
with a record of meritorious service
to their community, county, state
and national professional associations,
as well as the osteopathic profession.
"I met Tom while interviewing a replacement
for my physician, who had taken care
of my family and me for most of my
adult life. I met with five or six
doctors before a friend recommended
Tom Ely as a true 'family doc', not
just someone who saw patients," a
nomination letter said. "It only took
a minute or two to realize he really
cared for his patients. And he has."
Currently, Ely is a member of many
professional organizations and is
a member, grand trustee, and president
of Eta Xi Sigma Chi House Corporation.
"Tom Ely is a people person, with
high integrity and clarity and someone
with whom it has been a pleasure to
work along side on many projects,"
the letter continued. "I'm sure there
are Sam Houston alums that have distinguished
themselves. Tom Ely's credentials,
accomplishments and service puts him
right there with them."
Ely and his wife Donna Ruth live
in Clarksville, Tenn. He has three
sons: Kevin, Theodore and Brad, and
two stepdaughters: Kim and Wendy.
As profiled at
the November 7, 2003 Distinguished