Dr. Kenneth Behymer (1936 - 2017)

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  • "Dr Behymer was a gentle and loving man that I had the..."
    - Kristel Clark
  • "dr ken wasn't a good doctor, he was a GREAT doctor."
    - anonymous
  • "Gail, my heart goes out to you. The first thought that..."
    - Sheila Patterson
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    - Audrey Lee
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Dr. Kenneth Behymer passed away on July 29, 2017, following complications of a stroke. He was born in Warren County, Ohio, on Nov. 3, 1936, to Samuel and Ella Behymer. Raised in Mason, Ohio, he graduated from Mason High School in 1954, after which he joined the United States Air Force. His first assignment was medical core training at Gunter Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala. He was then transferred to Ladd Air Force Base in Fairbanks, Alaska, where he was employed in lab, X-ray, tuberculosis surveillance and education, all of which took him to the Bush villages in remote Alaska. Dropped off by plane, he was given a tent to live in, a ring of bologna to survive on and would be picked up when weather permitted. His equipment was rustic and he processed his film in salt water. After service at Ladd, he was transferred to George Air Force Base in Victorville, Calif., where he was trained in helicopter medical rescue.
Following honorable discharge from the Air Force, he entered Ohio State University where he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Physiology. In his junior year of undergraduate studies, a friend was preparing to take the Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT) and convinced Ken he should take it as well. He scored in the top 2% of the nation and was accepted into the Ohio State School of Medicine. He completed his first year of medical school during his senior year of undergraduate studies and earned his medical degree in 1965.
Ken interned with the United States Public Health Service in Norfolk, Va. His residency was also taken with the United States Public Health Service at the University of Washington, where he served as Chief Resident. Alaska Native Health Service recruited him to serve as Chief of Medicine in Anchorage, Alaska. He spent two years in their employ and then opened a solo practice in Internal Medicine. He was a member of Nu Sigma Nu fraternity and Alpha Omega Alpha Honorary Medical fraternity. Ken served as President of the Alaska State Heart Association, Chief of Staff at Providence Hospital, Director of Education and was a member of the Board of Directors for the Alaska State Diabetes Association. He retired in 2000, following a stroke. In 2006, Dr. Behymer moved to Yakima, Wash., where he taught at Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences, providing education for the next generation of physicians. He will provide his final lessons through the University's Gift of Body program, where his body was donated at his request.
Kenneth married Gail Benjamin on Sept. 27, 1975, at Christ Lutheran Church in Yakima and both attended Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church in Anchorage, where they were charter members and Ken served as President of their church council. He is preceded in death by his parents; and his brother, Sam. He is survived by his wife, Gail; sister, Patricia Sanders; brothers, Robert, Joe and Gail Behymer; and his six children, Dr. Laura Jones, Cindy Dougherty, Kurt Behymer, Dr. Meghan Lindstrom, Matthew Behymer and Courtney Petersen; and 13 grandchildren.
Ken was a private pilot who enjoyed hunting and fishing. He loved his family, friends, patients and medicine and that love was returned in full measure.
A memorial service will take place at 11 a.m. on Sept. 27, 2017, at Central Lutheran Church in Yakima. A second memorial will be held at 5 p.m. on Nov. 3, 2017, at Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church, 1612 Oceanview Drive in Anchorage.
"Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity." - Hippocrates
Published in Anchorage Daily News from Sept. 24 to Sept. 25, 2017
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