Bedinger, John Van Doren (P1R, C1, L1)
Captain John Van Doren Bedinger, 32, of Anchorage, Jefferson County, died of pneumonia in Liverpool England on October 20, 1918 while on federal active duty with the 151st Field Hospital, 113th Sanitary Train, 38th Division.
Bedinger was a graduate of Male High School in Louisville. He graduated Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey and graduated from Johns Hopkins University Medical School in Baltimore, Maryland. Bedinger did his medical residency at Bellvue Hospital in New York City. Bedinger returned to Anchorage to begin his practice and the Louisville City Hospital and Louisville’s Home of the Innocents, a nonprofit shelter and pediatric convalescent center with the only dedicated pediatric nursing unit in Kentucky, giving care to children from birth to age 21 with a variety of birth defects and medical problems. He also served as an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Louisville Medical School from 1913-1917.
On April 6, 1917, the United States declared war. Bedinger joined the Kentucky National Guard on May 25, 1917 after they returned from service on the Mexican Border. He answered the nation’s call to serve in the buildup prior to World War 1 and was assigned to Field Hospital No. 1 and attended U. S. Army Medical Corps training at Camp Oglethorpe Georgia in June 1917 and was commissioned a First Lieutenant. His mother died while he was at training in Georgia. Bedinger was drafted into federal active duty with his unit on August 6, 1917. He was deployed with his unit to Camp Shelby in September 1917. Bedinger was promoted to Captain in February 1918. Bedinger sailed for Europe with his unit on October 5, 1918. They landed in England on October 17th. During the voyage there was an outbreak of influenza. Bedinger would have been heavily involved in caring for the sick aboard the ship. He took sick himself on October 16th while still at sea with Meningitis and Pneumonia. Bedinger was transferred to a hospital ashore and perished of his illness on October 20th, 1918. His unit continued to France.
Bedinger was descended from a noted Kentucky family. His great grandfather was George Michael Bedinger, who was one of the first settlers in Kentucky at Boonesborough and went on to distinguish himself in military service as adjutant in the expedition against Chillicothe in May 1779; major in the Battle of Blue Licks, August 19, 1782; major in Drake’s Regiment in 1791; major commanding the Winchester Battalion of Sharpshooters in the St. Clair expedition in 1791; major commanding the Third Sublegion of the United States Infantry from April 11, 1792, to February 28, 1793. George Bedinger went on two serve two terms in the in the Kentucky General Assembly as well as two terms as a member of the United States Congress and was buried on his farm near Lower Blue Licks Springs, Ky.
Beddinger’s body was returned Kentucky for burial in August of 1920. He is buried in the Richwood Cemetery in Walton, Boone County in Section E, Plot 87. There are some 50 Bedingers buried there as well. The family includes several with military service, service in the ministry and medical doctors as well. Princeton University Class of 1907 established a memorial scholarship honoring Bedinger in 1926 and it continues today.