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Original Rockmonter and Rockmont Hall of Famer Ben McKibbens: April 23, 1941 - March 2, 2020

Ben McKibbens was a dear friend to Cindy and me personally as well as to the entire Rockmont nation. "Benny", as he was known first at Camp Ridgecrest and then when he made the move to Rockmont's inaugural session in 1956, was as kind and generous as anyone to ever be a part of the Rockmont family. "Chief" Bashful Bear was a giant figure in Rockmont's history, and will be missed, but not forgotten!....R David Bruce

Ben McKibbens (2).JPGBenjamin Manly McKibbens peacefully entered his heavenly home on March 2, 2020, in Mobile, Alabama, surrounded by his beloved family and friends.

Born in Louisville, Kentucky to parents, the Reverend Dr. Thomas McKibbens and Betty Manly McKibbens, Ben and his brother, Tom, grew up in Laurel, Mississippi, where Ben developed his lifelong interest in camping and all sports, especiallyfootball. Ben enjoyed telling the story of "the most beautiful giel I've ever seen." He saw Loren across a High School football field with his college roommate while visiting Forest, Mississippi. He told his companions "I'm going to marry that girl!" Ben and Loren Ormond were married on June 17,1966. They were blessed with four children, seven grandchildren, and shared a wonderful life of faith and service.

Ben graduated from Mississippi College, the University of Alabama's Healthcare Administration graduate program, and completed his residency at the Mobile Infirmary Medical Center. Throughout and following his long and successful career in healthcare administration, Ben was known for his exceptional servant leadership, instructed by his deep faith and strong values. His passion for teaching and helping uplifted all who came into his path, be thet patients, friends, or strangers.

Multiple longstanding institutuins and programs are testimony to Ben's extraordinary organizational development skills and commitment. He served as President and CEO of the Valley Baptist Health System in Harlingen, Texas for 25 years, overseeing a time of unprecedented growth in structures and service. Both Harlingen's Golden Palms Retirement Center and the Family Practice Program, now named for Ben and Loren MiKibbens, are results of his vision and leadership. His service as a preceptor for graduate programs in Healthcare Administration with Trinity University and the University of Alabama gives testimony to his dedication to help develop future generations of healthcare leaders. Following retirement, he was founder and Executive Director of the Healthcare Outreach Network, a faith-based network serving to connect healthcare resources with needs worldwide, providing supplies, equipment, training, and programs to clinics, hospitals, and medical missions across the globe. Another mission close to his heart is the family owned Camp Hollymont for Girls, in Black Mountain, North Carolina. He loved visiting the mountains of North Carolina, because of a love he continued throughout his life for Camps Ridgecrest, Rockmont, and Hollymont.

A fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, Ben served as the President of the Texas BaptistHospital Association, Chairman of the Texas Hospital Association, the Baptist Hospital Association, anf the Voluntary Hospitals of America, Inc. He also served as a board member for the Texas Health Institute and as well for his alma mater, Mississippi College, where he was an Alumnus of the Year. He recently retired as a board member of the Westminister Retirement Center in Spanish Fort, Alabama. In addition to his extensive leadership in healthcare throughout the nation, Ben was a committed commuinity servant wherever he lived, and was especially active in Baptist churches as a Deacon and Sunday School teacher. He received countless awards for his service throughout his lifetime.

Ben was a devoted husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather, brother, brother-in-law, uncle, dear friend, and leader. Ben will be missed by all who were touched by his inner strength and kindness. His surviving family includes spouse Loren Mitchell Ormond McKibbens; his four children and their respective spouse: Benjamin Manly "Kib" McKibbens, Jr. and spouse Anna Laura Bryant McKibbens; Loren Mitchell "Missy" McKibbens Roper (widow of the late Dr. John T. Roper, Jr.) and their daughter, Loren Jane; Merridy McKibbens Sims, and spouse, Terry Bartelli Sims, and their children, Benjamin Steele, Oliver Spence, Douglas McKibbens "Trice", and John tyke Bartelli; and Woods Ormond McKibbens and spouse, Virginia Thomas McKibbens, and their children, Anne Grace and Woods Thomas; and brother, the Reverend Dr. Tom McKibbens and spouse Donna, and nieces and nephews , George McKibbens and spouse, Sisi, and their children, Tayron and Constance and niece, Katherine  McKibbens; and sister-in-law, Jan Ormond Sherman, and spouse, Larry Sherman, and their children, charlie and Cory Sherman Stewart, and spouse, Jeff, and their son, Nate.

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