Robert Alexander de Vito
1935 - 2020
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Robert Alexander de Vito

Born: July 19, 1935; in Portsmouth, NH

Died: October 27, 2020; in Lisle, IL

Dr. Robert Alexander de Vito, of Lisle, Illinos, passed away peacefully in his home on Tuesday, October 27, 2020, at the age of 85. The only child of immigrant parents, Bob was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on July 19, 1935, and grew up in the Boston area, where his lifelong devotion to the Braves baseball franchise took root. Exceptionally bright and funny, Bob was the first graduate of Norwood High School to attend Harvard University, where he prepared for a career in medicine when he wasn't playing pranks on his housemates. Upon graduating in 1957, Bob studied psychiatry at Loyola Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois, and earned his MD in 1961.

During residency training at Illinois State Psychiatric Institute, Bob met his future wife, Joan Pratte, a psychiatric nurse. The two married in Chicago on May 23, 1964, and soon relocated to Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas, where Bob directed the base's inpatient psychiatry unit, serving airmen returning from combat in Vietnam. When Bob's service concluded in 1967, he and Joan returned to the Chicago area, where they raised their daughter, Stefani, and where Bob served as Superintendent of the John J. Madden Mental Health Center in Maywood. Tapped by Governor Jim Thompson for a cabinet position in 1977, Bob next served the state of Illinois as Director of the Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, where he received a special commendation for Outstanding Leadership from the Illinois legislature.

In 1980, Bob accepted the dual position of Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Loyola Stritch School of Medicine, his alma mater, and Chief of Psychiatry at Loyola University Medical Center. Over his 18-year tenure at Loyola, Bob received numerous awards for his teaching, administrative, and clinical work. Of these, he was most proud to be named 1998 Psychiatrist of the Year by the Illinois chapter of NAMI, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, in recognition of his compassionate and innovative therapeutic work with people suffering from severe and chronic mental illness.

Throughout his career, Bob embraced the challenging clients others shunned, most notably in forensic settings, where he founded a national study group on "pre-serial killers" and consulted with FBI profilers to intervene with dangerous individuals before they committed serious crimes. Bob also bucked psychiatric orthodoxy in the final chapter of his career, when he joined Naperville's Pfeiffer Treatment Center in 1998 to study the efficacy of nutrient therapies as a naturopathic alternative to traditional psychopharmacology.

A devoted husband and father, avid tennis player, loyal Braves fan and eternal maker of bad puns, Bob now joins his wife and large extended family in the Kingdom of Heaven. A memorial mass on Saturday, November 7, 2020 may be viewed on the public Facebook page of Father Becket Franks of St. Procopius Abbey in Lisle.

A private inurnment was held Tuesday, November 3, 2020 at Assumption Cemetery in Wheaton, Illinois

In lieu of flowers, please make memorial donations online to the Walsh Research Institute's "Make Healing Possible" fund, www.walshinstitute.org

Arrangements by Friedrich-Jones Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Naperville, IL.

For more information, please call (630) 355-0213 or visit www.friedrich-jones.com


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Published in Suburban Life Publications on Nov. 12, 2020.
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