Ipswich Tribune -

Dr. John William "Bill" Bloemendaal


January 29, 2020

Dr. John William "Bill" Bloemendaal, 89, orthopedist and surgeon, passed away peacefully at his home on January 13, 2020.

Bill was born on February 10, 1930, in Aberdeen, to Dr. Gerrit and Gladys (Williams) Bloemendaal, parents of Dutch and Welsh descent. He was raised in Ipswich. His father was a family physician, his mother a registered nurse, and together they devoted their lives to the needs of the community, using their family home for their medical practice. Later they started the Ipswich Community Hospital.

Prior to Pearl Harbor in March 1941, Gerrit Bloemendaal, at the age of 41, was called to active duty in the Army. Bill's youthful years were spent crisscrossing the country, as Gerrit was assigned to six different US posts. When Gerrit was deployed to England in 1943, prior to the invasion at Normandy, the family returned to Ipswich to await their father's return. Growing up in a small town, during the 1930s and 1940s, profoundly impacted Bill's life and he developed a strong work ethic at a very young age.

Bill graduated from Ipswich High School in 1948, and then attended the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, graduating in 1953 in Pre-Med. Inspired by his father and two uncles, he also attended Jefferson Medical School in Philadelphia, Penn., receiving his MD in 1955. He returned to Minneapolis, Minn. in 1955 and did his internship at Minneapolis General and his Residency in Orthopedics at the University of Minnesota. There, he met his wife, Carolyn "Lynn," and they married in 1957.

In July 1961, Bill and Lynn moved to Great Falls. Bill joined the orthopedic staff of the Great Falls Clinic, and served there for almost five years. In the mid-1960's, in addition to serving as President of the Deaconess Hospital staff, he established Great Falls Orthopedic Associates (GFOA), with Dr. David Friedrick. GFOA ultimately became one of the state's largest orthopedic practices. In 2010, GFOA opened the state of the art Orthopedic Center of Montana (OCEM) in partnership with Benefis Health System. At 89, Bill remained an active employee of Benefis Orthopedic Associates, seeing patients daily in his office, with a commitment to continuing education. He made "no bones" about continuing his work.

Bill was a very strong and dedicated community servant, and held numerous offices for professional and service groups. His long record of community service included terms on the Great Falls Public School Board of Trustees and 25 years of service to the United Financial Corp Board of Directors. He was a faithful member of the First Presbyterian Church, since 1962, fulfilling the role of trustee. Bill also remained loyal to his home town through his involvement with the Ipswich Area Foundation.

Bill had a tremendous gift as a thought leader and was a mentor to many. He had a philosophy that doctors should be active in hospital matters, and his unique guiding principles were impactful. Early on, he served on the Deaconess Hospital Board of Directors and the Montana Deaconess Foundation from 1992 – 1998. He was also a significant contributor to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), by serving as the Montana Representative to the Board of Councilors, and an active member of the Western Orthopedic and Montana Medical Associations. Passionate about the Benefis Foundation, he served as Director from 1998 - 2005, and was elected as Chairman of the Board from 2004 - 2005. Beginning in 2006, he actively served on the Benefis Health System Board of Directors, guiding several expansion projects.

Throughout his life, Bill was recognized for his many contributions for dedicated medical service to Great Falls and the northcentral Montana medical community. In 2011, he was recognized by the Montana Hospital Association, when he was awarded the organizations Lifetime Achievement Award, honoring his 50 years of service. He was also recognized for 55 years of commitment to the advancement of scientific medicine and quality patient care by the Montana Medical Association. In total, Bill dedicated 63 years of his life to medicine.

Bill is survived by his devoted wife of 62 years, Lynn; loving children, Carla Bloemendaal, Lisa (Brian) McCabe, Marcia (Anthony) Bloemendaal-Zedick, and Jan (Rae Lynn) Bloemendaal; grandchildren, Caleigh and Connor McCabe, and Gerrit and Bryce Bloemendaal; as well as other extended family. He was preceded in death by his parents, Gerrit and Gladys Bloemendaal; and his siblings, Dr. Robert and Nancy Lee Bloemendaal.

Committed first to family, Bill was also passionate about education, the global markets, and the great outdoors. He was in love with Montana and always eager to spend memorable time with family and friends at the family home on Flathead Lake.

For everyone who knew Bill, his wonderful humor, enthusiasm, and compassion brightened the world around him. His proficient and untiring ministry of the science of healing did honor to his God, his community, his profession, and himself. He will remain in the hearts of those who knew and loved him.

A celebration of Bill's life will be held at the First Presbyterian Church at 1315 Central Avenue on Saturday, February 1, 2020, at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts are suggested to the Benefis Foundation or the donor's charity of choice.

Condolences for the family may be shared online at https://www.SchniderFuneralHome.com.


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