Dr. Don Ridgway, who in my mind embodied the soul of what it means to be a physician, passed away this morning. I had the privilege of being his partner and essentially his apprentice when I first started the practice of medicine at the North Fork Medical Clinic in 1994. I was a medical greenhorn, a newbie, when Dr. Ridgway took me under his wing and taught me technical skills and life skills that still serve me today. I have yet to meet any physician more dedicated to providing care to a community than him. Day or night. In the home or in the clinic. Sickness, trauma, births, surgery, ambulance runs -- Dr. Ridgway took care of it all. "Dory, medicine is a jealous mistress" he told me in my first year. Ask anyone in the North Fork who was around in the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's and you will hear fond and sometimes hair-raising tales about this stellar man and pillar of a physician. He was a breed apart, a special contrast from many physicians today. I only can hope that I might honor his memory with my own time and actions within the privilege of practicing medicine.
Dory B. Funk, M.D.