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Robert J. Klimek

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Robert J. Klimek Obituary
Lyme - It was a spectacular day for sailing, but then again every day for Dr. Robert J. Klimek was a "perfect" day for sailing. It was Aug. 5, 2013, and there was a consistent, dry northwesterly wind blowing at a steady 12 to 15 knots. These were ideal conditions for "Reverie," his beloved sloop of nearly 30 years. Bob felt most at ease while behind the helm and relished in the splendor and speed that his vessel provided. The winds held true and his children's graceful smiles beamed about as they finished the day by sailing back to port. This was his spectacular day; a day capped by a view of the sunset sky over Hamburg Cove, sipping a Mount Gay rum and tonic, all the while listening to a little Oscar Peterson.

Robert J. Klimek sailed into this world on Jan. 20, 1941, in Middletown, and was raised in Meriden. His mother became head nurse at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary and worked there for nearly 40 years; this was to be his catalyst for his chosen profession of ophthalmology. Bob graduated from La Salle Military Academy in 1958, Manhattan College in 1962, and Southern University of New York Medical School in 1966. Following medical school, he interned at Greenwich Hospital. He returned to New York for his residency at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary in 1967, where he was chief resident.

Carol Pearson, a Canadian "Doris Day," caught his eye during his last year of residency. In 1969, they were married along with her sister, Margo and husband, Don, in a double ceremony at St. Mark's Catholic Church in Prescott, Ontario. As winter rolled in, Carol hinted that the two of them should go to Europe for a ski vacation. Carol, having skied in Colorado, was the more avid and agile skier. In true Bob fashion, he perfected this new craft and was soon able to tackle the double-blacks of Telluride. Skiing became his sole winter pursuit, and Telluride would eventually become his second home.

After the birth of their son, Rob in 1970, the two decided to leave the glass and metal skyline of Manhattan and headed to the shores of southeastern Connecticut, where Bob had spent his summers as a child. Bob went into practice with Dr. John Gager. After Dr. Gager's passing, Dr. Jack Reilly partnered with Bob and the Shoreline Eye Group was formed. Bob was the chief of ophthalmology at Lawrence + Memorial Hospital until the formation of the Constitution Eye Surgery Center East in 2001. He was one of the founding members and president. Bob's passion for his patients and his staff was second to none. He strived for excellence and perfection, one of the many reasons he was respected by all.

Bob was precisely balanced. When not attending to the needs of his endearing patients, he tended to his family and the community of Old Lyme, where they lived for 18 years. They eventually settled in Lyme overlooking Hamburg Cove from its eastern prow. It was from this location that he would blast the sunset cannon, a tradition instilled from his memberships to the New York Yacht Club and the Cruising Club of America.

During the rearing of his three doting children, Rob of Colorado, Serena of New Canaan, and Alison of Boulder, Colo., he took it upon himself to insure that they had an upbringing that was sans pareil. He invested in their minds, their pursuits, and their unlimited love for family and friends. That was what he bestowed upon his wife, children, four grandchildren, and patients. Bob lived every moment of his life with conviction and purpose. His legacy will continue on even though his life was cut short. On Aug. 18, 2013, he died at home surrounded by his family due to a brief illness.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013, in Christ the King Church in Old Lyme.

Fulton-Theroux Funeral Home of Old Lyme, is handling the arrangements.

Please visit www.fultontherouxoldlyme for tributes, directions, and more service information.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Lyme Land Conservation Trust or a .
Published in The Day on Aug. 22, 2013
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