There will never be another Dr. Ben

Published 5:32 pm Monday, November 14, 2005

By By I. Harrison Moore
(Editor’s Note: The following is a column written by Dr. Harrison Moore of Physician Associates following Dr. Benjamin C. Maxwell’s retirement in 1996.)

On June 26, the end of an era came in Atmore. Dr. Benjamin C. Maxwell retired from his practice of medicine in Atmore.
After 45 years, Dr. Ben decided it was the right time to do other things.
I have known Dr. Ben for almost 17 years now and can testify to only a fraction of all those years of service to this community. When I first met Ben, I knew he was someone special. He showed to my wife Joanne and me a genuine concern for our family. He listened well and showed a unique ability to ask the right questions. I was impressed with his desire to learn new things and his awareness that in our field of medicine we always need to be learning.
Joanne and I spent a weekend with Jean and Ben. We were impressed with their hospitality. Joanne told me as we drove back home that she felt like Atmore was where we would be living because we were treated like we were at home. That was 16 years ago.
During those early years when problems came up, like a breech delivery, I knew I could call Ben and he would be there almost instantly with calm assurance and the wisdom and knowledge to solve the problem. I learned a great deal from his years of experience.
Ben always surprised me with his timely generosity. He could see when I was tired after a night on call or several days of call and he would always offer to work to give me a break.
His endurance would astound me. Multiple times I have heard the testimonies of patients and families, who talked about the great loyalty and respect they had for Dr. Ben. This resulted from the great love he showed for them in being available and willing to meet there needs.
June 27, the day after Ben’s last day, was the 15th birthday of my third daughter, Sarah. Like he has been for so many others, Dr. Ben was there to deliver her. Not only did he help bring so many children into this world, but also one of the things I will miss most is his constant word of encouragement to everyone – especially the children.
When the time comes to give up something that has been your life for so many years, correctly resolving a difficult decision reveals character. To leave a lifetime vocation at the right time, in the right way, takes wisdom, courage and humility. Dr. Ben has all those qualities.
The mark of a great man is humility. I have been asked why there was not a public reception to honor Dr. Ben at this time in his life. Dr. Ben specifically requested that nothing be done. His wishes were honored.
Scripture says in Proverbs 15:33, “Before honor is humility.” James 4:6 say “God gives grace to the humble.”
My prayer is that God will honor Dr. Ben for his humility and give him grace to be successful in this time in his life when he has chosen to change directions.
I thank God for the contribution Ben has meant in my life and in so many lives of this community.
I will miss him in his role of physician and associate, but I am confident that his service to others in need will not stop.

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