Dr. Romaine L. Bendixen

Dr. Romaine L. Bendixen delivers the keynote address at the dedication of the Crawford County Veterans Memorial on the courthouse lawn on Monday, May 26, 2008. The dedication ceremony culminated Memorial Day ceremonies in Denison. Photo by Bruce A. Binning

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Dr. Romaine L. Bendixen, who came to Denison in 1972 to practice medicine, died Thursday, June 6, at The Bird House-Hospice Home of Johnson County in Iowa City.

He was 81 years old.

According to a story in the August 17, 1972, Denison Bulletin, Bendixen had been trying to move to Denison since December 1970 after being flown to the community from Norfolk, Virginia, by Dr. D.N. Crabb.

The July 10, 1971, Denison Review announced that a drive had been started to write letters to Secretary of the Navy John H. Chafee to ask for the early release of Lt. Cmdr. Romaine Bendixen.

Bendixen was among the doctors actively recruited to remedy a physician shortage in the county.

Upon Bendixen’s resignation from the Navy, he was assigned to the USS Ticonderoga, which was the prime recovery ship for the Apollo 16 moon mission on April 27, 1972. According to the August 17, 1972, Bulletin story, as senior medical officer, Bendixen was very importantly involved in the historic event.

Bendixen joined the Navy in 1962, and after his discharge, joined Dr. D.N. Crabb’s medical practice on July 5, 1972.

On November 1, 1977. Bendixen started his own practice, focused on family and aviation medicine, at 203 North Main Street in Denison.

In July 1989, Bendixen was among the first rescue workers on the scene of the crash of United Airlines Flight 232 in Sioux City.

Bendixen was clinic commander of the Iowa National Guard 185th tactical fighter group and had just landed in another place. He was at the scene within minutes after the crash.

In the crash, 111 passengers and one flight attendant died. The airliner had 285 passengers and 11 crew members onboard.

Bendixen and his wife, Jan, moved to Coralville after he retired from his practice.

In 2016, he received the award for 50 years of dedicated service in aviation safety.

The Wright Brothers “Master Pilot” award was presented to him on November 7 that year.

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