WESTON, W.Va. – Dr. Ben Orvik was honored with a retirement reception on Tuesday, December 17, at the Mon Health Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital boardroom. Several physicians, SJMH board members, former and current employees took the opportunity to honor Dr. Orvik for his many years of service to the Lewis County and central West Virginia region.
Mon Health Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital CEO Avah Stalnaker welcomed the well-wishers to the event and noted that Dr. Orvik had been serving the local area for 42 years and was well-deserving of retirement, though he will continue to provide medical services at several nursing homes.
Dr. Orvik first began at SJMH as a family practice resident from the United Hospital Residency program in the late 1970s. Providing services at SJMH was part of his family practice program. After finishing his training, he chose to open a practice in Weston and marry a local girl, Jo Gum, a farm girl, who was also a nurse. Jo eventually also served as his office manager and the two of them provided excellent care to their patients. Once Jo retired from his practice, Dr. Orvik chose to become an employee of SJMH.
Stalnaker noted, “Ben worked tirelessly having one of the busiest family practice offices around. He was also the only physician doing OB at that time. He delivered over 2,000 babies and assisted the general surgeons with C-sections, so that number may be 2500 deliveries. He was on cal 24/7, 365 days a year. He made patient rounds twice a day without fail and took medical call way too many times to count.”
Dr. Orvik also served as medical director at several nursing homes as well as the Lewis County Health Officer. He also served on every medical staff office position at SJMH and served on numerous committees as well.
She also noted, “Ben is someone who does not lose his composure….not during an emergency like a code or trauma; delivering bad news to a family; or even receiving a phone call during the middle of the night.”
The crowd laughed when she pointed out that Dr. Orvik had an “unknown skill” in that he could transcribe the Declaration on a postage stamp due to his handwriting.
“We had to give the nurses magnifying glasses to read his writing,” she chuckled.
Several people attending related other funny stories about Dr. Orvik, but one of the most heart felt comments came from a current staff member who said that Dr. and Mrs. Orvik were wonderful employers who treated their staff so well.
The doctor plans to take it easy but continue his love of the golf course and hunting. It is also apparent that he will have a list of items to do at the house for Jo.
Silver Bay, Minnesota, north of Duluth Minnesota is his original home. As his wife said, “He is still waiting for winter to come here.”
Dr. Orvik’s mother Ardell still lives in Minnesota. Dr. and Mrs. Orvik have three children. Their daughter Kelley Orvik is a phlebotomist at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, in Ohio, and she has three children –daughter Taylor Beckner (enrolled in medical assistant program) and husband, Tyler, have two children – Madi, 4, and Kora, 2; and the middle child, Makenzie Smith is a Certified Medical Assistant; and Bethany Smith is a senior at Buckhannon-Upshur High School and is a phlebotomist.
The Orvik’s youngest daughter, Andrea Orvik, is the board-certified deputy medical examiner for the state of Montana. She and her husband Bobby Hall, a disabled veteran, have a two-year-old, Selah, and another on the way due in March.
Their son, Brad, is a CPA and works for Rooms To Go. He also has a personal financial business. He and his wife, Ashley, have two children – Jack, 15, and Ashlyn, 13, and live in Florida.
As Jo Orvik pointed out, their entire family has gone into the medical field except for Bradley.