Washburn health center reopens with dedication to local physician

1 month ago

WASHBURN, Maine — The Pines Washburn Health Center reopened this week with a dedication in memory of a longtime Aroostook County physician.

Members of the health center board and Washburn officials welcomed the family of the late David Jones, MD, and area health care leaders to the clinic on Thursday to present two plaques which will hang at the facility.

Dale Gordon, FNP, began seeing patients on April 15. It’s the first time in three years Washburn has had its own medical practice. For health center leaders, honoring Jones brought the reopening celebration full circle.

“The many times that I talked with him, I was convinced that practicing medicine was a passion to him,” said Dana Hews of the health center’s board of directors. “It was his devotion and life.”

Jones, 71, died in October. He was a partner at Aroostook Family Practice for about 30 years and also a medical examiner, according to his obituary. He worked in the emergency department at Northern Maine Medical Center in Fort Kent for 20 years and served at the Aroostook House of Comfort, a hospice care facility in Presque Isle, where he later became medical director.

Hews displayed a framed collection of photos of the health center, designed by local artist and board member Lavina Corey. Another plaque contains a photo of Jones and says, “Our appreciation for his commitment to our community and good health.”  Both will be displayed at the health center.  

Hews credited Jones and The Aroostook Medical Center, now known as Northern Light A.R. Gould Hospital, with bringing health care to Washburn decades ago. Jones told him once that mediocrity has no place in medicine, and that patients need a safe place where they can have a provider’s full attention, Hews said. 

WASHBURN, Maine — April 18, 2024 — Dana Hews of the Washburn Health Center board of directors holds a framed photograph series to be displayed at the facility in memory of local physician Dr. David Jones. With him are board members Maylen Kenney, Lavina Corey and Mary Easler. (Paula Brewer | The Star-Herald)

Hews recognized Jones’ wife, Debbie, who was there with her son, Carl Litsch, and grandchildren Lucy and Carl Jr., and Jones’ daughter, Chriki Harvell. 

“He truly just loved medicine,” Debbie Jones said. “We certainly appreciate this. He is someone who deserves to be memorialized because he gave so much of himself.”

Washburn leaders attended, including Town Manager Donna Turner and councilors Larry Bull, Laurie Wark and Daren Churchill.

Jones was known for his passion for what he did and his compassion for people, said George McLaughlin, Northern Light Home Care and Hospice bereavement coordinator.

Several others shared reflections, including Jay Reynolds, MD, CEO of the Presque Isle hospital; Kris Doody, RN, CEO of Cary Medical Center in Caribou; Carl Flynn, MD, of Pines; and Abbie Clair, executive director of the  Aroostook House of Comfort.

It’s good to have the health center open again, Doody said.

“When we finally had a plan to reopen the clinic, I know the community was quite excited. And what better way to reopen than through this dedication,” she said.