If you can’t be a priest, what’s the next best career? Being a doctor, or at least that’s what Dr. Linus Ohaebosim thinks.

He grew up in Nigeria, wanting to be a priest. Instead, he became a doctor, but to him he’s still fulling his dream — serving the community.

“My practice to me is a mission,” said Ohaebosim who shuttered his practice at the end of May after 41 years serving Northeast Wichita and some of the city’s poorest residents.

God was in the midst of it, especially since it was just a chance meeting that eventually brought Ohaebosim to Wichita. He was completing part of his residency work in Kansas City, when he by chance he met Leonard Garrett, who at that time the publisher of The Wichita News Hawk.

Leonard, an outgoing guy, picked up a conversation with Ohaebosim, learned he was a doctor, and –always looking for ways to help Wichita’s Black community — decided to convince Ohaebosim that he should open his practice in Wichita.

Ohaebosim visited and liked the city, so when he finished he training and was offered a job at Riverside Medical on Wichita’s West side, he, his wife, and then two children made the move. He worked Friday and Saturday evenings in Riverside’s emergency room, but was determined he wanted his own practice.

He opened his first office on West 21st Street, near the railroad tracks.

“I didn’t have any patients, so I had to keep working at the emergency room on weekends so that I could have enough money to pay my nurse,” recalled Ohaebosim.

A lot of the people he helped in the emergency room became his patient and, along with referrals from many of the churches, his practice began to take off.

It wasn’t long before he bought the land on east 21st street to build his office. Local McAfee Charles McAfee designed it, but Ohaebosim had a hard time getting local banks to finance it. With the help of Willie Washington at the Small Business Administration, he finally found a lender in Derby. He was so disappointed by the process that he made a commitment.

“I said then, I would never pay myself until I finished paying off the loan.”

With the help of his wife, who was a Registered Nurse, and a modest lifestyle, he remained true to his word.

For the past 40 years, he says he’s immensely enjoyed what he was doing. So much so, it wasn’t like work.

“I loved what I was doing,” he said

He’s helped a lot of people in 40 years, and delivered at least 1000 babies.

It was a scare with his health that finally convinced him to retire.

He was hospitalized in Oct. 18, 2016 with a kidney problem and wasn’t released until Dec. 24. The good news; it wasn’t cancer. He’s still taking temporary dialysis to address the issue, but he anticipates a full recovery.

Now the challenge is figuring out what to do with his time. He’s not moving back to his native Nigeria, he says.

“Wichita is my home,” he says. “When everything is over (his treatment) I’ll travel o Nigeria to see what I can do. If I can help out there, I will do that.”

In Nigeria, he’s Chief Agu Eze, The Orji 1. It’s a position over his village that’s he’s particularly proud of. During the past four decades he’s helped the village financially, paying the schooling for all of the village students.

How many students has he helped,? He has no idea, but he says we need to put things in perspective. “In Nigeria, people can go to school for $10. But, if you don’t have it, that’s a lot.”

In Wichita he’s also a leader in the local Nigerian community. As an elder figure they call him “dad.” He regularly lends his assistance to the local Nigerian community, either through his wisdom and guidance and/or his financial support.

Dr. Ohaebosim has five wonderful children, who he says he expects to spend a lot of time with during his old age. “I’m not going to a nursing home.”

Ozzu the oldest is an attorney in Dallas. Chi Chi, the oldest girl lives in Seattle, and works in public health administration. Adaku, is a corporate lawyer in Dallas, K.C. is a locally elected representative in the Kansas Legislature. Ije, the youngest, a girl, is an engineer in Dallas.

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