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Dr. Leslie "Les" Dwight Rivers

May 19, 1934 - January 25, 2017




Leslie “Les” Dwight Rivers, son of Florence and Clayton Rivers, passed away on January 24, 2017, due to complications from Parkinson’s disease. Les was born in Seward, Nebraska in 1934. He graduated from Seward High School in 1952 and Nebraska Wesleyan University in 1956. He then went on to complete graduate school at the University of Nebraska, College of Medicine, earning his M. D. in 1960. During graduate school, he was commissioned as an Ensign in the US Navy.

 While attending medical school, Les met Judy Kuykendall. They were married on June 18, 1958. After Les graduated from the University of Nebraska, they moved to Great Lakes, Illinois, for his Internship at the US Naval Hospital. They then moved to Pensacola, Florida, where he attended Flight Surgeon school, qualifying as a Flight Surgeon in 1961.

 From Pensacola, Les went overseas, spending time in Signonella, Italy and on two WestPac tours on the USS Ranger and the USS Kitty Hawk. He then returned to the US, where he served at the Naval Hospital in Oakland, California until June 11, 1969. Les practiced Anesthesiology at Valley Memorial Hospital.

 In 1972 the family moved to Salem, Oregon where Les’s passion for caring for patients quickly became evident at Salem Memorial Hospital. After 11 years at the hospital, Les moved to Northbank Surgical Center, where he worked until his retirement in 1999. After 43 years in Salem, Judy and Les moved to Vancouver, Washington in 2015.

 In 1982 Les was inducted into the Nebraska Wesleyan Athletic Hall of Fame. No doubt his induction was partially due to the fact that he played basketball, volleyball, football, baseball and participated in track. Les later returned to military service—serving with the Air Force until his retirement in 1991.

 Les was a devoted physician to all his patients and was loved by the hospital staff, often performing surgeries pro-bono. He was a humble man who loved the Lord and enjoyed spending time as an usher at his church. His friends and family describe him as: awesome, loving, patriotic, amazingly kind, a hero, courageous, warm, sincere and very special. Everyone agrees that his sense of humor was “one of a kind.”

 Les was preceded in death by his brother Wendell, Roland and sister Phyllis. He is survived by his beloved wife Judy of 58 years and their three children, Todd, Wendy and Jennifer, their spouses, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

 Services will be at Willamette National Cemetery at noon on February 10, 2017 (arrive 11:30am). Reception and time for sharing will be held at Moreland Presbyterian Church, 1814 SE Bybee. The family encourages donations to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. https://www.michaeljfox.org/

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Guest Book Entries


I worked in the PACU with Dr. Rivers for the 11 years he practiced  at Salem Hospital .
He was one of the most caring , kindest and most understanding Doctors that I worked with-
He was always there when we needed him and was willing to help us solve problems in a
quiet calm way-
It was a pleasure to work with Dr. Rivers-
Keep your memories close-
Carol Doerfler RN
Nurse Manager Retired- PACU