Skip to main content

John Upledger, CEO of Upledger Institute International, Passes Away


The following message was posted on the Upledger Institute's Facebook page.

Our hearts are broken as we share this sad news…..

John Matthew Upledger, age 56, CEO of Upledger Institute International, the Barral Institute, and the International Alliance of Healthcare Educators (IAHE), passed away at his home in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, on May 21, 2017.

John Matthew “JM” was a true entrepreneur and successful businessman. He started his lifelong career in the company mail room, was recognized for his natural leadership skills early on and then quickly promoted through the ranks. While still very young, he was promoted to the position of CEO of the Institutes’ worldwide comprehensive continuing education and manual therapy training programs, product lines, Foundation and Clinic.

JM was born in Kirksville, Missouri and as a child moved with his family to Clearwater, Florida. JM was raised in both Florida and Michigan and attended Michigan State University (go Spartans). He leaves behind his beloved wife, Donna Stevens Upledger and their daughter Miranda Skye Upledger, his sister Leslie Upledger Ray (James) of San Diego, California, his brother Michael Upledger (Lynne) of Clearwater, Florida, and his mother Beverly Roy Upledger of Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. He was pre-deceased by his brother Mark and his father, Dr. John E. Upledger, the developer of Upledger CranioSacral Therapy. In addition, other surviving loved ones include his stepmother Dianne Gardner (Pete), a large extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins, and numerous friends and colleagues.

JM was known for his incredible sense of humor, his passion for life and a good party! He loved the music of the 70s and 80s, and was passionate about his Miami Dolphins and MSU Spartans. Most of all, he was known for his incredible compassion and generosity. From staff to friends, he always made time to listen and then, with great empathy and kindness, offer advice that was wise beyond his years. His big-heartedness and loyalty were just two of the emblems of his larger-than-life personality.

JM was recognized for his creative and visionary spirit. With his determination, humor, keen business sense and positive spirit, he led by example and he and his team worked tirelessly to create one of the most recognized and respected manual therapy training and clinical names in the world. With more than 50 international affiliates, and 125,000 alumni residing in 110 countries, JM remained personally committed to a high standard of excellence and his strict adherence to delivering quality continuing education.  

Starting with the work of his father, JM created a personal and collaborative environment for teaching manual techniques to treat individuals suffering from conditions including: migraine, headache, chronic neck and back pain, traumatic birth, orthopedic problems, scoliosis, TMJ, concussion and traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress, autism, Alzheimer’s and dementia, immune system disorders and post-surgical dysfunction. Today the Upledger Institute, Barral Institute, and the IAHE network of companies are international leaders in manual therapy education.

JM had the unique ability to transform visionary ideas into programs that have benefited countless individuals throughout the world.

JM gave his time and talents by serving on the Boards of numerous professional, community, civic and business organizations and associations. He was an active member of the Young Presidents Organization/World Presidents Organization where he served in a variety of capacities.

To continue his legacy and honor JM’s life work, the family requests that donations be made in his memory to the Dr. John E. Upledger Foundation for the establishment of a John Matthew Upledger Scholarship. 

Please keep JM and his entire family in your thoughts and prayers as you continue to make a difference in the lives of others in your own special ways. JM’s legacy will live on through the continued work of the Upledger Institute, Barral Institute and the IAHE network of companies. As JM always said, thumbs up!

Celebration of Life details will be provided in the near future.

Please feel free to share your photos and stories. It will be of great comfort to his friends and family.