Gloucester, Va —For Dr. Henry Rowe, practicing medicine was an "art."

"Henry just loved people. He loved medicine. Henry had not only perfected the science of medicine and caring for people, he had perfected the art. There was a very deep, compassionate side of him that really, truly cared, not just for the disease he might be treating, but his care was really for the person."

That's what Bob Bryant, Senior Vice President for Riverside Health System's Lifelong Health Division said in a tribute video produced for Rowe's family and released to the public this month on the Riverside web site.

Rowe, a doctor regarded as selfless who worked tirelessly for his patients and colleagues, died earlier this year, leaving Riverside and its team members not only at a loss for a physician that served the community for nearly four decades, but with sadness for the loss of a friend and colleague.

Born in 1947 in Heathsville, Va., Rowe attended the University of Virginia School of Medicine where he graduated in 1973. He proceeded to complete his Residency at Riverside Hospital in 1976.

Rowe first moved to Gloucester 39 years ago. He worked as a Medical Examiner in Gloucester and Newport News before becoming a Medical Director with Riverside's Lifelong Health division.

"We are a small, community-based team," said Lynne Callis, Assistant Director of Nursing at the Riverside Convalescent Center in Mathews. "We talk about teamwork all the time, and while he was part of our team, he was also part of our family. We're going to miss him, we already do miss him."

Though Rowe was fortunate to have a large, loving, "extended" family through Riverside, he was incredibly fond of and dedicated to his own family. He is survived by Bernie, of 44 years, and their son Henry Rowe, Jr.

He loved the community where he lived and worked, and as a self-proclaimed history buff, had often said he had settled into the right place. Rowe lived in one of Gloucester's most historic homes, the 1751 Cappahosic House.

"Dr. Rowe was known for his playful attitude, insistence on quality care, and for practicing medicine that emphasized quality of life," said Julie Bayly, Administrator at the Riverside Convalescent Center in Saluda. "Dr. Rowe could fix a tractor, grow and orchid, train a bonsai tree, teach the Ming Dynasty, and most of all—make you laugh."

As if they were his own family, Rowe knew how to comfort patients during some of their most scary times, Callis said.

"He knew how to put the patients at ease no matter what their diagnosis," Callis said. "He always put a smile on their face. They always lit up when he came into the room."

In fact, the entire community lit up for him.

"Henry made an impact in this community…the interaction between patient and physician doesn't end in the office, it extends throughout the community," said Dr. Fredrick Arnold, the Riverside Health System Service Line Chief for the Middle Peninsula. "It extended on the soccer field, it extends in Rotary Club, it extends to the Abingdon Seafood Festival every year. They don't teach that in medical school."

Rowe's Riverside tribute video can be viewed online here.

Published: November 26, 2014