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Obituary: Robert William Matthies, M.D

Robert William Matthies, M.D

Robert William Matthies, M.D

Robert William Matthies, M.D., who loved his Lord and Savior Jesus, his wife Marcie of 52 years, his family and friends, and his many patients and their families, died at age 75 on March 22, 2011, in Prescott, Ariz. Diagnosed in May with cancer, he bravely served others in Christ's name as long as he could.

Born in Hammond, Ind., on Oct. 28, 1935, to Robert and Irene Matthies, Bob grew up in Lansing, Ill., where he was active in the church youth group, Boy Scouts, and sports. He developed and maintained close friendships throughout his life and followed his parents' example of servanthood. Feeling led to Christian service as a pastor or family physician, Bob chose medicine and received his M.D. from the University of Illinois College of Medicine in 1961. He served in the U.S. Public Health Service Indian Health Division in Keams Canyon, Ariz., from 1962-64, was a medical missionary in Haiti in 1964-65, was a student at Garrett Theological Seminary in 1965-66, was in private practice in Wheaton, Ill., from 1967-71, was director of the Student Health Service at Boise State University from 1971-76, was medical director of the Family Practice Residency in Boise, Idaho, from 1976-81 (during which time he was honored as a "distinguished citizen" of the state), was in private practice in Spokane, Wash., from 1981-95 and in Prescott, Ariz., from 1995-2008, held various offices in county and state medical groups, was on the Postgraduate Medicine editorial board, was chosen 2009 Arizona Family Physician of the Year, and went on numerous medical mission trips to Albania, Haiti, the Gulf Coast, and other places.

Bob and Marcie met in the Methodist Student Foundation at Northwestern University. Always committed to integrity in relationships, Bob early on asked for complete honesty. "Well then," she gently replied, "that tie doesn't go with that jacket." Bob loved that story and had Marcie select his tie, shirt, and cardigan sweater every morning. An avid reader and lifelong learner - in medicine, theology, history, and photography - Bob shared his insights through stories and humor. He made house calls, hugged patients, family, and caregivers, and truly listened to people. He endured criticism to promote a smoke-free Prescott and Arizona and urged politicians to improve local and national health care systems. Bob specialized in geriatrics and was known as the physician who helped Alzheimer's patients and their families. He taught physicians end-of-life care and learned from various specialists how to better care for his patients in his own office, thus avoiding unnecessary referrals. A devoted husband and father, Bob took great joy in sharing with family and friends the wonders of God's magnificent creation, in person and through his photographs.

Dr. Matthies is survived by his loving wife Marcia, daughter Sharon, son Steve and his wife Karie, their daughters Amanda, Samantha, Hannah, Christina, Kathryn, and SaraGrace, his brother Richard and family, and his sister Buena (Copsey) and family. Those who wish may visit www.ruffnerwakelin.com to sign his guestbook. A celebration of Dr. Matthies' life will be at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, April 16, at Prescott United Methodist Church, 505 W. Gurley St., Prescott, Ariz.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to charities serving needy persons worldwide.

Information provided by survivors.

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