The death of Dr. Roland Dean Benedict of Blanding not only diminishes the number of Utah's rural physicians but leaves the Navajo Tribe without a very special friend and healer.
Dr. Benedict died Saturday after a seven-month battle with cancer. Shortly before his death he was taken on a stretcher by helicopter for a farewell visit with his friends - the residents of Navajo Mountain Community - whom he routinely visited for years to take care of medical needs and extend friendship.The high esteem in which the Navajos, and indeed residents throughout southeastern Utah, held Dr. Benedict was demonstrated when the Navajo Mountain Community renamed its medical facility as the R. Dean Benedict Health Center.
After spending 22 years in private family practice and anesthesiology in Pocatello, Idaho, and three years as a flight physician at Hill Air Force Base, Dr. Benedict was a physician consultant on the Navajo Reservation for 11 years.
Such a record of community friendship and service will not soon be forgotten.