Longtime local physician Dr. Ernest C. McKibben Jr. died Friday, Nov. 11, at the Gene and Irene Wockner Hospice Center in Kirkland. He was 91.
Ernie was born in Kirkland and spent most of his life here. He left to attend WSU, marry Ardis Hines, get his medical degree and serve in World War II, then returned home to practice family medicine jointly with his father, Dr. Ernest C. McKibben Sr. Their overlapping careers stretched from 1914 to 1987, bringing Kirkland a total of 73 years of "Dr. McKibben."
Ernie was always dedicated to general practice, even as he watched it fade from importance and then make a comeback as a specialty of its own. He wanted to get to know whole patients -- their backgrounds, personalities, wants, and outlooks on life-- not just their infirmities. He enjoyed the opportunity to watch whole families grow, and more than once delivered baby girls who grew up to have their own babies delivered by Dr. McKibben.
Ernie was instrumental in launching Evergreen Hospital, and served as Chief of Staff the year that Evergreen opened. Even though he was winding down his obstetrical practice at the time, he made a point of delivering a baby there, "just to say I'd done it." A few years later he returned for another stint as Chief of Staff.
Ernie was an enthusiastic mountain climber, hiker, gardener and Rotarian. He volunteered countless hours with the Boy Scouts, and after moving with Ardis to Emerald Heights retirement community, volunteered some more hours building and landscaping a naturalistic woodland path on the grounds. He is survived by a sister, Helena Kirkwood, four children (Craig, Connie, Barry and Margaret McKibben) and five grandchildren
Memorial services will be held on Tuesday, November 22, at 2 pm, at Emerald Heights Retirement Community, 10901 176th Circle NE in Redmond. All are welcome to come and share their memories of Ernie
The family suggests gifts in his memory be sent to the "Emerald Heights Trail Fund" at the address above.
Friends and colleagues are invited to sign the guestbook at www.bartonfuneral.com