Benjamin Land Bivins ’61

Benjamin Land Bivins, 81, died peacefully on February 19, 2021, at his home in Tallahassee, FL after a long battle with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Born and raised in Macon, GA, he was the son of Howard and Katherine (Armstrong) Bivins. A 1957 graduate of Lanier Senior High School, he attended Davidson College and Emory University School of Medicine before enlisting in the Air Force for three years, including one in Vietnam.

Following his residency at the University of Michigan, in 1972 he moved his young family to Tallahassee to open his dermatology practice. Several years later, he became the first in Tallahassee to offer Mohs skin cancer surgery after training with Dr. Mohs. Dedicated to his patients, many expressed over the years how much they appreciated that he took the time to listen to their concerns and treat them as individuals.

After retirement in 2000, he continued helping patients as a regular volunteer at the Neighborhood Medical Center.

Throughout his life learning meant doing. Whether it was teaming with his brother Guy on boyhood woodworking projects, traveling to experience other cultures and locales, sailing, developing photographs, speaking Spanish, or simply trying his hand at something that sparked his interest, his broad curiosity led in many directions.

A longtime supporter of and participant in the local arts community, in retirement his passion for creating art deepened and he returned to school to earn an MFA in painting at Florida State University.

After graduation, he continued his involvement with FSU through advisory positions, as an instructor, and by funding travel for students and visiting artists. He delighted in exploring the possibilities in art, and it was rare to find him without a small pad and pen for quick sketches and notes. Enjoying art remained a central part of his life even as Alzheimer’s took his ability.

He cherished and was cherished by his family. He is survived by his wife, Elece; children; Christopher (Jennifer DuBose and daughter, Kate), Margaret Irene (Kit Goodner and children; Henry and Ana) and Lucy (Eric Schmidt and sons; Hugo and Leif), all of whom he had with his first wife, Nancy, and Elece’s daughters; Ali (Ed Thomas and sons; Chad and Ben) and Emily (Rick Mottern and daughters; Amelia, Ava and Adeline); and siblings; Jack (Deanna), Guy (Juanita) and Charlotte (Roland Knight, who predeceased him) and their families.

The family will hold a private memorial service. Donations in his memory are encouraged to the FSU Foundation to benefit the Ben Bivins Fund for Art or to the Trust for Public Land.

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