Dr. Mark Ivey Jr., a longtime Rim Country physician and former Payson town councilor, died on the evening of Tuesday, July 7.
Health problems over the years forced Ivey to move from Payson to Tonto Basin and then to the Phoenix area, where he had been living more recently.
Ivey served with the U.S. Army in Vietnam — initially as a combat medic, and then he wound up playing with the 266 Army Band and driving both a bus and a 1-ton truck after the driver was killed.
Ivey came “home” to Payson in August 1969, where his family lived, and worked as an orderly at Lewis R. Pyle Memorial Hospital, taking home $56 a week and picking up an extra $25 on weekends singing and playing his guitar at Pete’s Place in Star Valley when it was a steakhouse and cowboy bar.
He practiced medicine in the Rim Country since earning his medical degree from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1977. His medical service changed the face of health care throughout the region.
At the time, he and the few other doctors in town did everything themselves.
“We had a hospital and town lacking in health care. The others didn’t like bringing in specialists to town. But over the course of five years, I had 21 visiting specialists make regular visits to town and from those, recruited a number of physicians” to make Payson their home. He said over the years he had seen at least 50 doctors come and leave Payson.
Ivey helped in the establishment of clinics in Young, Pine-Strawberry and Tonto Basin, where he occasionally practiced.
He helped get medical services provided to area veterans by contracting to operate the Payson Veterans Affairs Health Care Clinic in 2004, operating it for eight years. Ivey also served as the medical director for Rim Country Health for several years in addition to having an active private practice. He commuted from Tonto Basin to Payson for a couple of decades before he decided to semi-retire in 2013. For a time he continued to serve as medical director for both Payson Regional Home Health and Rim Country Health Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation.
Living in Tonto Basin with his wife, Sandy, he enjoyed boating, off-roading and playing the guitar.
No information about services was available at press time.