October 9, 1924 – February 7, 2020
Longtime Gilpin County resident, Donald Albert Bennallack, M.D., passed away early in the morning of February 7, 2020 after a short hospitalization at 95 years old. He was born October 9, 1924, the son of Ralph Bennallack and Leona J. (Weir) Bennallack, of Central City, CO. Born and raised in Denver, “Dr. B,” as his many beloved friends and patients called him, graduated from East High School in Denver in 1942 and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree at the University of Colorado in Boulder. He then continued his education at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus to earn his medical degree. After completing his medical residency in New York, he established an Obstetrics and Gynecological private practice in Denver, CO, primarily practicing at Rose Medical Center. Dr. B was proud he delivered more than 3,300 babies never missing a delivery. Many of the people he treated, as well as their families, became lifelong friends of the good doctor. He retired in 1995 after practicing medicine for more than 40 years.
Dr. Bennallack served his country in the Navy and was a proud patriot. He enlisted in the Navy in 1943 and served in the Korean Conflict from 1951 to 1953 where he was a medical doctor for a destroyer group. He left active duty in November of 1953 and joined the Naval Reserves for an additional 20 years, even while maintaining his Denver medical practice, where he finally retired as a Naval Commander in 1972. During his military service, he received many honors including the China Service Medal, the Korean Service Medal, and the National Service Defense Medal.
Dr. B loved to travel. After he retired in 1995, he traveled the world with many of his friends. He traveled to Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey, England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Germany, Holland, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Aruba, Colombia, Canada, and extensively throughout the continental United States, plus Alaska and Hawaii.
During retirement, Dr. Bennallack volunteered many hours for several years at Colorado Talking Books and Reading for the Blind. He also played the piano for his fellow veterans at the Navy Retirement Home at Fitzsimons. He was honored for his volunteerism by local TV station, Channel 9, receiving the 9 Who Care Award. Dr. B was also honored by his medical school alma mater in 2013 when the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus awarded him the Creating Futures Award because of his generosity to start a Scholarship Endowment for future medical students.
In addition to Dr. B’s volunteering, he shared his musical talents starting in 1976 with the Peak to Peak Chorale in Central City, CO. The chorale honored him in April and May 2015, by writing and performing a musical history of his life.
Even though he was born and raised in Denver, Dr. B always believed his soul belonged in the mountains – after all, his father and uncle grew up in Central City, and his mother came from nearby Clear Creek County. So as soon as possible after he had established his Denver medical practice, he purchased a cabin in the South Beaver Creek area in mid-Gilpin County, north of Black Hawk. The cabin was eventually replaced with a comfortable house, and Dr. B became a 45-year resident of Gilpin County. This wasn’t an easy situation for an obstetrician who was always on call to deliver babies in Denver, but he never missed arriving in time for a delivery – even in the snowiest winters.
Dr. B is preceded in death by his parents, Ralph and Leona, and his sister Leona Chappel Hansen, who was called “Pat” because she was born on St. Patrick’s Day. Since Dr. Bennallack was a lifelong bachelor, he leaves a legacy of grateful patients and a long, long list of great friends – all of whom are his true ‘next of kin’ and will miss him dearly.. He will be missed and remembered fondly by all.
A viewing memorial will be held on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 from 5:00 to 8:00 pm at Horan & McConaty, 11150 East Dartmouth Avenue, Aurora, CO 80014. In lieu of memorial flowers, please make a gift to support the Donald A. Bennallack, MD Scholarship Endowment at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Gifts may also be made online at http://www.giving.cu.edu/DonaldBennallack