Dr. Wendell Kingsolver, a doctor for more than half a century and an advocate for family medicine and rural health, dies at 96

Dr. Wendell Roy Kingsolver, a longtime physician and advocate for family medicine and public health, especially in rural Kentucky, died Thursday, May 30. He was 96 and lived in Nicholasville.

After graduation from the University of Kentucky and an internship and residency, Kingsolver set up a family practice at Carlisle in his home Nicholas County. He was one of the few physicians in the area and served patients of all ages at all hours in emergency, operating, and delivery rooms, He was among the first physicians certified by the American Board of Family Practice, and trained UK medical students in rural family practice as they lived in his home and learned what a diverse rural medical career was like. In the 1960s he was a medical volunteer in the Republic of Congo, and later on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia and the Newfoundland coast town of St. Anthony. After retiring from five decades of full-time private practice, he was a public-health doctor for the Wedco District Health Department in in Nicholas, Harrison, Bourbon and Scott counties.

Kingsolver was an early adopter of organic farming, and he and his first wife Virginia were founding members of the Sierra Club chapter in Kentucky, the group that built Lake Carnico in Nicholas County, and the First Christian Church in Carlisle, where he was an elder and sang in the choir. He was a board member of the Cane Ridge Meeting House, where the Disciples of Christ denomination began. He enjoyed birdwatching and served a term as president of the Kentucky Ornithological Society. He and Ginny, who predeceased him, established a KOS scholarship for young people interested in the study of birds, and worked to preserve natural land in Nicholas County, some of it donated to the Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park.

Kingsolver’s survivors include his wife, Eva Lee (Lynam Kanatzar) Kingsolver; son Robert (Paula) Kingsolver; daughter and noted author Barbara Kingsolver (Steven Hopp); and Ann Kingsolver, former director of the Appalachian Center at UK. A viewing will be held Tuesday, June 4, at 2 p.m., followed by the funeral at 4 p.m., at Milward Funeral Home, 391 Southland Drive in Lexington.

Information for this article was taken from the obituary.

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