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Robert R. Runnells

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Robert R. Runnells Obituary
3/18/1925 ~ 2/22/2013
We will dearly miss our loving husband, father, brother, and grandfather, Robert R. Runnells, who passed away on February 22, 2013, just days before his 88th birthday, due to complications from a recent illness. He was born on March 18, 1925 in Eureka, Utah to Raymond Demar and Cleo Cecil Beckstead Runnells.
Bob grew up in Eureka, Utah where he learned his value of hard work at an early age having grown up during The Great Depression. He moved to Salt Lake City at age 15 to learn the trade of upholstery. He attended West High School and finished his last year of schooling through correspondence from the U of U. Bob graduated from Tintic High School in 1942 where he was the drum major for his state award winning high school band.
He worked at S.H. Kress Company where he met his beloved Marian. On October 15, 1943, Bob married Marian Guiver at Minter Army Airfield in Bakersfield, California. They've known each other for 71 years.
Bob served his great country in World War II by becoming a pilot and pilot-instructor in the U. S. Army Air Corps from 1943-1946. After his training, he taught and flew the C-46 airplane which was the largest plane at that time in the U. S..The highlight of his career was that he was able to fly the first jet plane. He really enjoyed that opportunity after "looking through props" all of his career. He remained in the Officer's Reserve Corps of the U.S. Army Air Force until 1955.
After the war, he graduated from the University of Utah with his undergraduate degree. Bob was accepted into Northwestern University School of Dentistry in Chicago, Illinois and graduated with his Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S) Degree in 1951.
Bob and Marian moved back to Salt Lake City to build his dental practice. He enjoyed practicing dentistry for 15 years and building life long relationships with friends and patients.
He was active in community affairs including Junior Chamber of Commerce, Sugarhouse Kiwanis Club, Utah Council of Churches, Salt Lake City District Dental Society, Bonneville Dental Seminar, Boy Scouts of America, International Social Service, and the Bank of Salt Lake. In 1956, he was named "Outstanding Young Man of the Year" by the Sugarhouse Junior Chamber of Commerce.
In 1965, he purchased Western Dental Supply Company and began his next successful career as a businessman. In 1971, he formed MDT Corporation, a dental-infection control company, thus leading him into the next phase of his career as an international dental infection control expert.
Bob was a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Utah Medical Center Dept. of Pathology.
In 1968, Bob moved his family to Fruit Heights, UT so Marian could have a place for her beloved horse, Sandy. His "farm" was a haven for horses, dogs, and cats. Marian and he became experts in raising, breeding, and showing champion Saddlebred, Quarter, and Thoroughbred horses.
Bob was an accomplished author of numerous articles and books on dental infection control. He was an expert witness in the first case of transmission of AIDS to a dental patient. His expertise in this field was instrumental in the development of patient safety in the dental office.
He was a man of many passions which included Big Band music, playing the saxophone, fishing, skiing, riding 5-gaited horses, and working on "the farm". He played his saxophone in Paul Whiteman's band for one night as the band passed through Eureka, UT. He organized small bands specializing in Big Band music and performed at Assisted Living centers.
Bob was a faithful member of the United Methodist Church serving in capacities of lay minister to rural churches and other church office positions.
He is survived by his wife Marian, daughters Janet Kelley and Robyn Larkin (Rod), brother Don Runnells (Erika), foster-daughter Rosalie Reed, six grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
A celebration of his life will be held at First United Methodist church on Tuesday, February 26th at 11:00 a.m. Friends may visit with the family prior to services from 9:45a.m. to 10:45 a.m. at the Church. Following his burial, a memorial luncheon will be served. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in Bob's name to First United Methodist church (203 South 200 East, Salt Lake City UT 84111-2437) or your preferred charity.

Published in Salt Lake Tribune from Feb. 24 to Feb. 25, 2013
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