ROBNETT, M.D., Ausey H. Dad, Grandpa, Robbie - passed away on February 19, 2013 at the age of 95. Robbie was born in Colorado to Ausey and Mary Robnett. His father was a career Naval medical officer who served in various locations through- out the world, including China, exposing Robbie to many different cultures and experiences during his younger years. Robbie decided to follow in his father's footsteps and became a surgeon. After graduating from Northwestern University Medical School, he joined the Navy shortly before the start of World War II. He became a commissioned Naval office and was stationed at the Navy Hospital in San Diego when the Japanese attached Pearl Harbor. He immediately sought sea duty and was transferred to the USS Independence where he served as the ship's medical officer. He was on board during the battle of Coral Sea when his ship was torpedoed. He subsequently transferred to a Hospital ship where he served the remainder of the war in the Pacific Theater. After the war, the Navy sent him to the Bikini Atoll where he witnessed the atomic bomb tests. Robbie left the Navy and accepted a surgical residency at the Cleveland Clinic. He remained on staff at the Cleveland Clinic for several years. In 1951, he met the woman who became his wife, Elizabeth "Betty" Robnett, on a blind date. They married in 1952 and enjoyed more than 50 years of marriage before her death. Robbie and Betty moved to Spokane in 1954 where he entered private practice as a general surgeon. He and his partners, Milt Durham, Pen Harper and Dick Alquist, formed a partnership that endured for years. During the course of his practice, Robbie practiced at all the major hospitals in Spokane. He served as Chief of Staff at Deaconess and on the Board of Directors for Deaconess Hospital and Empire Health. Robbie retired from his surgical practice in 1981 to accept a position with the University of Washington Medical School, helping to coordinate the training of third and fourth year medical students in Spokane. He often remarked that he enjoyed working with the young doctors who would carry on the tradition of excellent medical practice in Spokane. He served in that capacity until 1990. In addition to his contributions to the Spokane medical community, Robbie was active in the Spokane civic life in other ways. He was a member of Rotary, served on the Board of Directors for St. George's School and actively participated in numerous other civic organizations, all of whom benefited from his tremendous energy and enthusiasm. Robbie and Betty enjoyed their retirement traveling, spending time at Hayden Lake and welcoming new grandchildren until Betty passed away in 2006. He subsequently married Margaret Larsen and the two of them enjoyed each other's company until her death. Robbie and Betty raised four sons, Rusty, Jerry, Doug and Paul. He is survived by his sons, their respective spouses/significant others and nine grandchildren who will all miss his good cheer, generosity and banter. Robbie's skill as a surgeon and his compassion and counsel benefited many people throughout the Inland Empire. To this day, the family continues to hear from people to whom Robbie was a beloved doctor, confidant and steady friend. He made a difference in the lives of many and will be missed. A memorial service will be held on Monday, March 4th at 3:00 p.m. at the Rockwood Community Center. The family requests that donations be made to Hospice of Spokane in lieu of flowers.
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Published in Spokesman-Review on Feb. 24, 2013