Dr. Benjamin J. Gaieski, M.D.
Dr. Benjamin Joseph Gaieski, M.D., born Bronislav Joseph Gajewski, in Salem, Mass., on May 29, 1921, died of natural causes in Philadelphia, Pa. on June 11, 2019 at age 98. He grew up in Peabody, Mass., played high school football, baseball, and basketball before matriculating at Tufts University in Somerville, Mass. He was the starting catcher on Tufts’ varsity baseball team for three years and fast-tracked through an undergraduate degree in biology and medical school so he could become a doctor in the Navy during World War II.
Dr. Gaieski was a ship’s doctor on a destroyer assigned to the Pacific campaign when the war ended. After the war, he completed additional medical training at the Newport Naval Shipyard and then accompanied Admiral Byrd to Antarctica on the Second Byrd Expedition, “Operation High Jump.” Afterwards, he settled in the Lowell, Mass. area where he was one of the founding members of the Chelmsford Medical Associates.
For the next several decades, Dr. Gaieski provided outstanding primary care to a diverse group of patients, including a large population of Polish immigrants who were comforted by his fluent Polish and calming bedside demeanor. He completed his medical career providing care to prisoners at the Billerica House of Corrections until he retired in 1989.
Dr. Gaieski enjoyed chopping wood, arguing about politics and philosophy, gardening, reading, cross-country skiing, taking long walks on the beach, and swimming at the Chelmsford Swim and Tennis Club and at Loop Beach in Cotuit, on Cape Cod. After his wife of over 40 years, Constance Foster Gaieski, died suddenly of a cardiac arrest in 2000, Dr. Gaieski moved to Cotuit, Mass. where he spent the next ten years.
In his last years, Dr. Gaieski suffered from dementia. As a high school and collegiate athlete he had at least ten concussions and his family suspected he suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). For the last eight years, Dr. Gaieski lived comfortably at Plush Mills Senior Living in Wallingford, Pa, and he died peacefully at Vitas Hospice at Methodist Hospital in Philadelphia, Pa. Selflessly, he donated his brain and other tissues to the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank to help further understanding about the relationship between repetitive head trauma, CTE, and dementia.
Dr. Gaieski was cremated and there will be a private family ceremony on Cape Cod in Fall, 2019. He is survived by two sons, Benjamin J. Gaieski, Jr., of Vail, Col. and David Foster Gaieski, of Swarthmore, Pa., his daughter-in-law, Jill Bennett Gaieski, and two grandsons, Ethan Bennett Gaieski and Clayton Elias Gaieski. Donations in his name can be made to the VA-BU-CLF Brain Bank, the Sepsis Alliance, or the Cardiac Arrest Survivors’ Network.