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Ben Ross Burgoyne ’39

July 14, 2018, in Lake Stevens, Washington, at the age of 101.

Ben was born in a sod house on the prairie near Youngstown, Alberta, Canada. When he was four years old, the family moved to Valemount, British Columbia, where his father was running a logging company, providing railroad ties and poles to the Canadian Pacific Railway. The rest of the family joined him later—traveling in the same boxcar as their milk cow, providing fresh milk for the children and enabling Ben’s mother to earn money selling milk to passengers along the way.

At the age of 19, Ben left Canada to attend a chiropractic and naturopathic school in Portland. He married his first wife, Bernita McClure, in Newberg, Oregon, while attending Reed. When World War II began, he joined the U.S. Army and was told, “The U.S. needs doctors, so we will send you to medical school.” As a surgeon he served in the MASH (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) 8055 in Korea and was made a captain.

In 1952, Ben moved to Arlington, Washington, where he set up his medical practice with Dr. Kessling. He was a family practice physician, a surgeon, and an acting anesthesiologist. When Kessling died, Ben’s practice doubled in size. He convinced his friend Norm Zook to join him, and together they built the Arlington Clinic next to the hospital. The two men also worked diligently to build and grow the Arlington Free Methodist Church.

In addition to delivering thousands of babies, Ben was a founder of the Warm Beach Senior Community & Health Care Center. He served on the board of trustees for Seattle Pacific University and was a member of Alpha Omega Alpha, an honorary society for doctors. Mission work took him to Haiti, South Africa, and Guatemala.

When Bernita became ill, Ben retired from his practice to care for her. He enjoyed flying, missions and volunteer work. He enjoyed his time in the sky so much that he built a Falco plane.

After Bernita passed in 1994, Ben was introduced to a widow, LaWanda Goldthorpe, by a mutual friend who described them as “two peas in a pod.” After they married, he moved to Lake Stevens, Washington. To keep his medical license active, Ben kept up with continuing education and licensing requirements until he turned 99.

Ben is survived by his brothers, Lloyd, Frank and Dale; his three children with Bernita, Bonnie Brann, Beth Irby, and Brian Burgoyne; and the three children he gained through his marriage to LaWanda, June Goldthorpe, Jerrie Waltz, and John Goldthorpe.

Appeared in Reed magazine: December 2018

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