Thomas Benteen

Thomas Michael Benteen

Thursday, October 14th, 1943 - Saturday, July 11th, 2020
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Thomas Michael Benteen, 76, known to his beloved friends, close colleagues and patients as “Dr. Tom,” died July 11, 2020, of respiratory failure at Community Care Center in La Mesa, California. Tom was born as “Thomas Michael Gregory” in Washington, D.C. on October 14, 1943, to Richard Hugh Gregory (deceased) and Rose Marie Petta (deceased). He later changed his last name to “Benteen” in honor of one of his heroes.

Heroes inspired Tom. His football allegiance was to the New England Patriots. He enjoyed the display of precision and guts Tom Brady and company consistently delivered. He was mesmerized by their skill, their tenacity, their ability to come back again and again and win.

In addition to football, Tom had another love and source of inspiration for his life—his friends. To receive a text, a letter, card, photograph, a visit, a call—any word about their lives—gave Tom incredible joy. Tom, in turn, inspired his friends through his example and—most importantly—with his tender heart for the Lord. He could minister to others by enlisting his natural gentleness and compassion, his great wealth of knowledge, his genuine interest, and certainly with his humor. (Humor was his second-language and he employed it with delight.)

Tom lived by his three-part philosophy: (1) Never, ever give up no matter what the challenge, (2) honor and treasure your loved ones daily (and by doing so you are sustaining life), and (3) consider that God’s plan for your life may be the better plan, as it most likely will not bring you worldly accolades but will develop in you the humility which so pleases God.

Tom was extraordinarily brilliant and loved to learn. In 1967 he received his BS degree from Delaware Valley College of Science and Agriculture. That same year he joined the U.S. Army (Active and Reserve) and served as a medical corpsman until 1973. He served one year at Fitzsimons Army Hospital in Denver, Colorado on the Surgical Intensive Care Unit and on the Cardiac Recovery Unit, one year on special assignment in the Emergency Room at Cook County General Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, and four years in the Emergency Room at Fitzsimons. Tom even tried a stint as a commodity futures specialist with Merrill Lynch after his honorable discharge from the army.

In 1978 he graduated with a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic. He went on to become a senior intern at Westside Chiropractic in Los Angeles for more than a year then jumped off to Italy from 1979-1981 as a clinical practitioner. When he returned to the US, he set up a private solo practice of chiropractic orthopedics in Orem, Utah. For more than ten years he served the local communities in his practice and also taught classes as an adjunct instructor at the University of Utah School of Medicine and Brigham Young University.

Tom kept active in learning while practicing and teaching, and received an MS degree from Brigham Young University; a certificate in Chiropractic Orthopedics and Disability Evaluation in post-graduate school at Los Angeles College of Chiropractic; a Ph.D. from Brigham Young University in Corrective and Rehabilitative Physical Education with a minor in Exercise Physiology, Sports Orthopedics, and Biomechanics; and an M.D. degree from Jagiellonian University, Collegium Medicum, in Kraków, Poland.

He also taught at Maricopa County Community Colleges in Phoenix, Arizona; Palmer College of Chiropractic-West in San Jose, California; the Sacro Occipital Research Society International in Prairie Village, Kansas; Life Chiropractic College West in San Lorenzo, California; and Jagiellonian University’s School of Public Health and the Academy of Physical Education in Kraków, Poland.

Tom was a member of several professional associations including the American Chiropractic Association, American College of Sports Medicine, California Chiropractic Association, Rotary Clubs International, Sacro Occipital Research Society International, and the Utah Association of Chiropractic Physicians.

At 51, Tom started feeling the trembling associated with Parkinson’s. His symptoms steadily worsened. By age 57, Tom was declared 100% permanently and totally disabled. Tom spent his remaining years trying to find a cure for Parkinson’s. He scoured the world literature, both scientific and anecdotal, and personally subjected himself to every reasonable treatment regimen. Over time, he believed, with his experience of the disease and his background as a doctor, he had found a comprehensive non-surgical, non-drug, dietary-intensive remedy. However, his physical debility consigned him to 24-hour nursing care and he was unable to experiment with his ideas to validate his proposed remedy. Yet, he would never give up his dream of testing his theory. With his passing, he has just now given it a rest.

Featheringill Mortuary in San Diego handled the cremation and Tom’s ashes were spread above Sundance, Utah, where he used to ride his motorcycle on the Alpine Loop with a view of the glacier on Mount Timpanogos and the forest below. A Celebration of Life memorial service was held July 26, 2020.

Special thanks to the compassionate and caring personnel at the Pavilion at Ocean Point in Point Loma for the last years of Tom’s life; and the doctors and nurses at UC San Diego Medical Center—Hillcrest in San Diego, Select Specialty Hospital in San Diego, and Community Care Center in La Mesa for their care of Tom in the final months of his life.
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