FORT WORTH - Ben Ford Bridges, 93, of Fort Worth, Texas, passed away July 31, 2019, after a brief illness. He was born on September 14, 1925, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Dr. Ford Evans and Ina Mae Bridges.
Ben attended Tulsa, Oklahoma, public schools and was a graduate of Tulsa Central High. His pre-medical education was completed at the University of Tulsa. He was a graduate of Southwestern Medical School, Dallas, Texas, in 1947. His Internship was completed at the UT Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas, in 1948. Ben then trained with the National Foundation of Infantile Paralysis at Los Angeles County Hospital and completed a fellowship in treatment of poliomyelitis patients, primarily at Hillcrest Memorial Hospital in Tulsa. His first year of residency in internal medicine was at the University of Alabama Medical Center, Birmingham, Alabama. It was shortened by the Korean Conflict, during which he served in the 2789th Hospital Squadron as an Air Force Captain from 1951-53. He then completed his last two years of residency at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas, from 1953-55. It was there Ben met his ""Dottie"" on a blind date, and they married in 1954.
Dottie and Ben moved to Tyler, Texas, in 1955 where he was in private practice for 30 years in internal medicine. He then moved his practice to UTHSC in Tyler, becoming Professor of General Medicine, assisting in the development of the Family Practice Residency for nine years. Afterwards, he returned to practice in the Trinity Clinic until retirement in 2005.
Ben was active in community affairs, serving on multiple boards and committees, primarily in the medical field. He was past president of both Mother Frances Hospital and Medical Center Hospital medical staffs. The Smith County Medical Society honored him as its first Golden Headed Cane Award recipient. He also received the Doc Ballard Award from the Northeast Texas Public Health Department and the Doctor Luke Award from Bethesda Clinic. The Ben Bridges, MD Endowment Fund at UTHSC Tyler is in his honor. He is a past member of the Vestry of Christ Episcopal Church of Tyler, where his ashes will be interned in the Memorial Garden Columbarium.
His wife Dorothy Baird Bridges, daughter Amy Bridges Glasgow and her husband Walter, son James Ford Bridges and his wife Courtenay and grandchildren Sam and Claire Bridges survive Ben. His parents Dr. Ford E. and Ina Mae Bridges, and brother Jack H. Bridges preceded Ben in death.
Dr. Bridges had many appointments and memberships, which included Diplomat of American Board of Internal Medicine and Past President of the East Texas Academy of Internal Medicine, along with being a member of the American College of Physicians, Texas Medical Association and Smith County Medical Society. He also served on the boards of Stewart (Carter) Blood Bank, Cancer Foundation for Life, Northeast Texas Public Health Department, and Bethesda Clinic. During the last years of his retirement, he conducted research on the history of medicine in Smith County, Texas.
A reception honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Bridges will be held at the Parish Hall of Christ Episcopal Church in Tyler on August 16, 2019, at 3 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to UTHSC Tyler in memory of Ben Ford Bridges, M.D.
Published in Tyler Morning Telegraph from Aug. 16 to Sep. 15, 2019.