41 years, 3 generations, 100s of children; Dr. Hill retires

July 31, 2013
Dr. Hill examines 4-month-old Ava Huffman today.

Dr. Hill examines 4-month-old Ava Huffman today.

By Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON — Today was a bittersweet day for Dr. Ken Hill. After 41 years of practicing pediatric medicine in Ludington, today was Dr. Hill’s last day. It was a busy day at the Tinkham Avenue office, with lots of patients and parents coming in to say goodbye to the doctor who clearly loves what he does.

“It’s been very fulfilling,” he said, between seeing patients. “Ludington has just been a wonderful place to practice medicine and to live. It has always amazed me that we have the privilege to live here, the place where people come to vacation.”

Dr. Hill said he doesn’t know how many patients he has seen through the years, but his tenure has spanned three generations. “Some of my patients’ grandparents were my patients,” he said.

After finishing his residency in Columbus, Ohio, Ken and his wife, Diane, moved to Ludington on the recommendation of a medical school colleague, Minor Seymour, who had a cottage at Epworth Heights. He has no regrets about that decision.

To this day, his practice is the only pediatric-only practice between Muskegon, Manistee and Big Rapids. The practice now has three doctors and sees patients from Mason, Manistee, Oceana and Lake counties.

Over the past four decades there have been a lot of advancements in pediatric medicine.

“We hospitalize fewer and fewer children,” he said. “It wasn’t uncommon that we would have three or four children in the hospital during the winter due to respiratory issues. We don’t see that too much any more.”

He said there are fewer severe illnesses, especially infections.

“The newer vaccines have really helped reduce illnesses like meningitis, measles and chicken pox. Medications for respiratory illnesses like asthma and croup have really helped make them less severe and more treatable.”

He has noticed more awareness of psychological and neurological conditions such as learning disabilities and autism.

“I think we are much more at the forefront of evaluating many of those conditions early and recognizing them. I don’t believe autism is more common as much as being more commonly diagnosed.”

The Hills raised three children in Ludington, Marlena, Marina and Marty. Marlena and Marina, along with their husbands and children continue to live in Ludington while Marty and his wife and children live in Chicago.

Dr. Hill plans to spend a lot of time with all seven of those grandchildren during his retirement.

He and Diane also plan to winter in Florida and travel a lot.

On a personal note, it was an honor that Dr. Hill was able to see our newborn daughter earlier this month. But, our family is even more grateful because he was the leading doctor who saved the life of my nephew when he had meningitis several years ago.

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