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Bennett, Kathleen M., MD
Of Boston, age 56, died at home on Nov. 23, from metastatic breast cancer. Beloved and devoted life partner of Sharon Hanson, she was the cherished daughter of Mary (Dooley) Bennett of Quincy and the late Edward Bennett; beloved sister of Pauline Bennett and her husband Ken Gibson of Marshfield, Edward Bennett of Quincy, Michael Bennett and his wife Noreen MacLean of Weymouth; beloved aunt of Jessica Gibson of Marshfield and Samantha and Ryan Bennett of Weymouth. Kathy is also survived by many other devoted family members: Sycilian Shackleford of Jamaica and her ex-husband Usign Gilpin and his wife Pearlita of Dorchester, Courtney and ex-wife Beverly Gilpin of Andover, US Army Brigade CSM Chris Gilpin and his wife Lorraine of Statesboro, GA, Joan Gilpin and Andreen Gilpin, both of Boston and Nicolas, Chrisraine, Christophe, Kaleel and Samantha M. We want to thank Dr. Eric Winer, Jen McKenna RN, NP and the entire care team at Dana Farber for the exceptional care and devotion they gave Kathy throughout the years. We also want to thank Erica Bernstein for all the loving care she gave Kathy. Erica was there many days and nights and would always come over when Kathy needed her. Sharon and the family will always be grateful. Kathy was born and raised in Quincy where she developed an enduring love of the ocean. She spent many happy hours swimming, catching minnows and crabs and sailing in our MiniFish. Kathy was a real tomboy - she loved playing sports and could hold her own when playing with the boys. She was thrilled when Quincy abandoned the school dress code and she no longer had to wear a dress to school. She was a great sister who was very protective of her younger brother and who liked hanging around with her dad in his basement workshop. The Bennett family has had some medical hardships in the last few years and Kathy has always been there. She spent a lot of time with her niece Jess at Brigham and Women's Hospital and was a real source of support to her. The family could not have gotten through them without her love and support. Kathy graduated from McGill University in 1978. She took a year off while deciding whether to go to veterinarian school or medical school. After working at a vet's for a year she finally decided on medical school. (There are many people in the city of Boston who are glad she made that decision!) She graduated from Boston University School of Medicine in 1984 and completed an internship in Family Medicine at Cook County Hospital in Chicago followed by 3 years of Internal Medicine at Boston City Hospital, and a year as Chief Resident. After completing her training, Kathy served as a residency program director and community health physician and later as a leader in health care administration at Neighborhood Health Plan, Boston Medical Center HealthNet Plan, and most recently as Chief Medical Officer at SeniorWholeHealth. Kathy inspired and mentored peers and trainees. She was respected by everyone she touched for her generosity of spirit, her strong sense of justice, her brilliant mind, her tremendous clinical skills, her keen moral compass, and her commanding presence as she safely steered patients, trainees, colleagues, and programs to the best possible interpretation of health care. She was passionate about her work at Uphams Corner Community Health Center, where she not only provided exceptional clinical care but was a fierce patient advocate. She is remembered as always putting patients first; " . . . quality care first and all else will follow . . . " was a lesson she taught in the clinic, in the hospital, in the classroom, and in health care administration. A colleague who trained with Kathy at BCH said to her, "there is no doubt in my mind that the clinical care that we all gave in those years was better, more careful, more researched, more agonized over, and more compassionate because you were there." Kathy and Sharon enjoyed discovering and exploring new places and restaurants. Almost every weekend they would be off in Kathy's VW convertible for a day trip to favorite haunts and new experiences. Kathy especially loved their vacations to the Caribbean where Sharon introduced her to Island culture and family. Kathy had never seen water so blue and was happiest overlooking the beach with Sharon on a wide veranda, although shopping for shoes with Sharon was a close second. They delighted in holiday shopping as an opportunity to spoil all their beloved nieces and nephews. Kathy was a friend maker in all avenues of her life and most importantly a friend keeper. She held tight to friends and nurtured relationships for a lifetime. As a testament to the positive force Kathy had in so many lives, whether as a recent friend or a treasured friend from decades past, everyone claimed her as family. She had an infectious zest for life, for nature, and for people. Kathy created a web of friends, colleagues, and family who, through Kathy's gift for storytelling, all felt indelibly linked to one another, through her. Anyone who knew Kathy knew that she adored her partner Sharon, her family, her friends, her colleagues, her patients, and, of course, her VW convertible. Visiting hours will be held on Friday, November 30 from 4:00 to 8:00PM at the Dennis Sweeney Funeral Home, 74 Elm St., QUINCY CENTER. Family and friends are invited. On Saturday there will be a gathering at the funeral home at 9:00AM, followed by a Funeral Mass at 10:00AM at Holy Trinity Parish, Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, 227 Sea St., Quincy. She will be laid to rest at St. Joseph's Cemetery, West Roxbury next to Kathy's dad, Aunt Peg, Nana and Grandpa. In lieu of flowers, donations in Kathy's memory may be made to Bird St. Community Center, 500 Columbia Rd., Boston, MA 02125. Attn: Andrea Kaiser, birdstreet.org/donate or to Dana Farber Cancer Institute, PO Box 849168, Boston, MA 02284-9168, dana-farber.org. For directions and online Guest Book please visit

Published in The Boston Globe from Nov. 29 to Nov. 30, 2012
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