REXBURG - Gary LeRoy Lovell, an owner of Seasons Medical, passed away Wednesday, Jan. 9, due to an aggressive cancer, according to his obituary.
His funeral is to be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 14, at the Rexburg North Stake Center located at 314 East 2nd North, according to the obituary.
“The family will receive friends Sunday evening from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. at Flamm Funeral Home, 61 North 1st East in Rexburg, and Monday from 9:30 to 10:45 a.m. at the stake center prior to services,” his obituary read.
Robert E. Meredith, DO, Chairman of the board at Seasons Medical, said that it was Colorectal cancer that caused Meredith’s mentor to pass away.
Meredith said that this wasn’t the first cancer to affect Lovell’s life. In fact, early in his career Lovell had lymphoma cancer and part of his bowel had to be removed. He would also have kidney failure at another time in his life where he would have to undergo a kidney transplant.
The two met in 2007. Meredith was fresh from his residency and Lovell was looking for a colleague, an associate, a partner.
“I was available and wanted to come back to Rexburg,” Meredith said. “He took a chance on me and my family. He was the greatest mentor, coming out of residency, that anyone could ever have. He was infinitely patient with a vast, enormous, Smithsonian worthy wealth of knowledge. Lovell may be the smartest man I have ever met in my life.”
Despite his ailments, Meredith said Lovell was “always happy.” He said that he had a very quiet and subtle sense of humor but that he was “hilarious.” Meredith said that Lovell’s humor was often misunderstood.
Meredith said that Lovell had a passion for many things including his faith and his church. Lovell was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. During his time as a member, he went on two missions. His first, as a young man, was to Germany. His second was with his wife, Carolee Lovell. He was also medical director in the Missouri Independence mission.
Meredith said that Lovell retired from work at the hospital just two years ago and was supposed to be on that same Missouri Independence mission until March of 2019. They came home early when they found the Colorectal cancer.
Lovell has a long medical career. According to his obituary, Lovell grew up in Rire as one of seven kids and would later attend Ricks College before moving on to the University of Utah.
His wife, Carolee, met Lovell at the University of Utah when she was studying nursing and he was in medical school. “They enjoyed their first years of marriage living off garden green beans and studying in the library,” his obituary read.
Meredith says that after Utah, the Lovell’s moved to Michigan where Mr. Lovell completed his medical residency at Beaumont Hospital and then moved to Rexburg. They’ve stayed in Rexburg for 36 years and have six children and 15 grandchildren. He would also deliver thousands of babies at Madison Memorial Hospital. According to his obituary, he delivered a total of 4,000 babies.
Douglas McBride, Public Relations and Marketing Director at Madison Memorial Hospital, said that Lovell delivered many babies at the hospital and was well acquainted with those working in labor and delivery.
There are many memories of Lovell at the hospital but there is one that sticks out to McBride.
“We had here one day, at the hospital, kind of a clean up day. So we were going around just cleaning out all of the different flower beds and everything. And lo and behold, here he (Lovell) comes walking up there and he sat right along with us and helped us weed and get all things fixed up. And it was just a nice thing to know the type of person, the caliber he was. Very kind person that way, he liked to see things nice. I think he took great pride in his things and the hospital.”
Meredith said that when Lovell came to Rexburg, he started his own practice and then had the idea to join several practices into one clinic. That clinic is now Seasons Medical. He was one of the founding members.
Meredith said that Lovell had many firsts. He was the first in the upper valley to perform laparoscopic surgery, where he would use a scope to look into the abdomen without cutting it open. He would be the first in the Upper Valley to use a vacuum during delivery where a vacuum is placed on a baby’s head to help pull the baby out of a birthing mother. He was the first in the Upper Valley to have an electronic medical record just 22 years ago. Meredith says that Lovell even created his own templates for the same record. A feat that Meredith says was “revolutionary.” He says that Lovell also has several medical equipment patents that have never gone commercial.
“He loved to help people, he was very efficient and frugal,” Meredith said. “Costs always mattered to him. Not for him but for his patients. He wanted to help them have a more cost effective treatment.”
Meredith said that Lovell had a great love for boy scouts and he loved to be outside hiking. Lovell also knew a lot about geography and history; Meredith said that Lovell knew the history and geography of every place he ever visited including Turkey, Armenia, Hawaii, the Cook Islands, and other places in Europe.
“He just knew everything about every little obscure place.”
Lovell also had a love of reading, Meredith said.
“I have never in my career met a physician that was as well read as doctor Lovell,” Meredith said. “Not only did he keep current with all the magazines to do with our particular field but he also read the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association.”
Meredith said that Lovell liked to travel and experience new things. He said that he was always changing and learning. “He was forever learning and that’s no lie,” Meredith said.
“In lieu of flowers, please send memories of Gary to firstname.lastname@example.org and shovel your neighbor’s driveway,” read Lovell’s obituary.