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To the thousands of children who were his patients, Dr. Benjamin Gilmore was “Dr. Ben,” a caring physician who took the fear out of their doctor’s visits.
“Hi Dr. Ben. Hi Dr. Ben,” they’d shout and run to the gentle man, who would make them feel better.
Gilmore alleviated his young patients’ anxieties about visiting his office for a checkup while practicing kindness and compassion to connect with their parents.
“This can be a scary building for little kids,” said Dr. Bradey Kleman, who worked with Gilmore at Columbus Pediatrics Associates. “But they knew when Dr. Ben was in there, nothing bad would happen to them.”
Dr. Stephen Loheide, a founding partner at the practice, joked that Gilmore was so well-loved by his patients “that they’d refuse to see any us.”
“The kids loved him,” Loheide said. “He loved them right back.”
Colleagues remember Gilmore as a compassionate doctor and a loving and devoted father who was just as comfortable talking about fine wine as he was following NASCAR and cheering on the Colts.
Gilmore, 45, died Monday from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, said Larry Fisher, Bartholomew County chief deputy coroner.
Deputies were called to the Lowell fishing site at Lowell Road and County Road 325W at 6:21 p.m. Monday and found Gilmore dead in his vehicle. Fisher said Gilmore likely died around 6:10 p.m. Monday.
Gilmore saw 2,036 patients at his Columbus practice. Some came from the north side of Indianapolis, following Gilmore from his previous practice in Carmel, colleagues said.
He came to Columbus in July 2006 to see a wider variety of patients, said Dr. David Larson, a founding partner of Columbus Pediatrics.
And Gilmore found a way to connect with them regardless of their background.
He had such an admiration for children and talked to them “on their level,” said Dr. Nancy Scott.
“He would say things like, ‘Hey buddy, how’re you doing?’” Scott said.
Gilmore loved seeing his patients outside the doctor’s office and sometimes went to see them participate in athletic events, Dr. Cheryl Harris said.
Gilmore’s colleagues said the only priority above his patients was his family, including his wife and two children. Gilmore would go from talking about a Foo Fighters rock concert he saw with his daughter in Milwaukee to sending out pictures of a meal he prepared at home. He often was seen at his son’s football games and his daughter’s swim meets.
At work, Gilmore tried to reach more than just his patients. He also wanted to connect with their parents and his colleagues.
Kleman said Gilmore served as a mentor and offered to help him whenever he had a question. He recalled contacting Gilmore for assistance with a complicated delivery, and Gilmore arrived at the hospital before him.
Outside work, Gilmore had an appreciation for music, sports and the outdoors.
Larson recalled that Gilmore loved nature and lived with his family “out in the boonies.” He would spend hours outdoors clearing brush, and he had a fishing trip to Louisiana planned with Loheide.
Larson also noted that Gilmore loved his pets but also had a soft spot for certain creatures that would make others cringe. Gilmore literally would never harm a fly. If a bug or spider was found at the pediatrics office, he would catch it and set it free outside.
Larson said Gilmore also liked studying snakes and would bring them to his house if he caught one outside.
For some of his colleagues, Gilmore seemed to have worked at the Columbus practice for years longer than he actually had.
“We called him the Rock,” said Robbie Hyer, the practice manager at Columbus Pediatrics Associates. “We’re heartbroken.”
Hyer described Gilmore and his co-workers as a family that will lean on each other for support during a difficult time.
Loheide said Columbus Pediatrics will make sure Gilmore’s patients will be taken care of in his absence.
“We’re going to try to carry on and try to take care of each other and his patients,” Loheide said.
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