Kokernot Robert Hutson Kokernot, age 94, died June 12, 2016. Robert had been a resident of Columbus, Ohio since September, 2006, after moving from Texas, to be near his family. Robert was born in the West Texas town of Alpine in Brewster County on August to 14, 1921 to Robert Lusk Kokernot and Lucy Moss Kokernot. His father, Robert Lusk Kokernot was born in Gonzales, Texas, and his mother Lucy Grinnell Moss was born in Marathon, Texas. Robert's family had been cattle ranchers in the Alpine area since 1883. His great great grandfather, David Levi Kokernot, served as a Lieutenant in the Texas Revolution. As a direct descendant from two ancestors who resided in the Republic of Texas before 1846, Robert was proud to be a Life Member of the Sons of the Republic of Texas. Robert is survived by his four children, Jan Stephanie Kokernot and her children, Blake, Derek and Brooke, daughter, Peggy Kokernot Kaplan and her husband, Rick from Columbus, Ohio, son, Walter Hutson Kokernot and his children, Laura and Juliette from Columbus, Ohio, and daughter, Diana Kokernot Britton and her husband, Chuck from Germantown, Tennessee and her children, Stephanie and Peter. His beloved wife, Marlene, died in 2011, a month shy of their fortieth anniversary. Robert attended Texas A & M University in College Station, Texas, graduating with a degree of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1946. His study there was interrupted for military service as a combat medic with the 37th Infantry division in the Southwest Pacific and the Philippines, during which time he was awarded the bronze star. He then attended Baylor University College of Medicine in Houston, Texas graduating with a Doctor of Medicine. Following an Internship at Brooke Army Hospital he attended Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland and earned his Masters of Public Health degree in 1952. He returned to Hopkins in 1960 and completed a Doctor of Public Health degree in the field of Epidemiology in 1961. After completing the MPH program at Hopkins in 1952, Robert spent one year as a Public Health officer - State of California, Department of Public Health; Bureau of Acute Communicable Diseases. Following this he was a staff member of the Rockefeller Foundation for ten years during which time he and his family resided in South Africa and Colombia, South America. In each location he was assigned to do field and laboratory studies on arthropod-borne virus disease. Subsequently, Robert was a faculty member at the University of Illinois; then the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston; and finally at the Texas Tech University School of Medicine. Robert's scientific publications were in the field of Tropical Medicine. He also made presentations at five sessions of the International Congresses on Tropical Medicine and Malaria which were held every five years. Over the span of 25 years, he attended the Congresses held in Tehran, Iran; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Manilla, Philippines; Athens, Greece; and Lisbon, Portugal. Robert held Specialty Board Certification in the American Board of Preventive Medicine and the American Board of Family Practice, Honors which were bestowed on him included: Jesse and Mary Gibbs Jones Scholar, Research in Cardiac Physiology-Baylor University College of Medicine, 1947-1950; Alpha Omega Alpha (Honor Medical Society), Baylor University College of Medicine, 1949; The Society of Phi Zeta, Illinois, Honorary Veterinary Society, 1965; and Distinguished Alumni, Grossmont High School, San Diego, California 1967. He belonged to a number of Scientific and Professional Societies such as the American Society of Tropical Medicine; the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine; and the International College of Tropical Medicine. His extramural Professional functions included: Communicable Disease Study Section of the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, 1967-1969; and National Academy of Sciences Committee on Veterinary Medical Education and Research, 1968-1970. Robert retired in 1990 and filled his leisure time with the same passionate energy he devoted to his career by satisfying his endless curiosity on just about everything via good natured (if at times) hard hitting argument and reading extensively on a vast array of subjects especially enjoying the works of Thomas L. Friedman. He also researched and wrote a 5 volume history of his family spanning 6 generations, an autobiography, and most recently a 5 volume compilation of love letters he wrote his first wife, Edith Babcock Grinnell, during and after WWII from 1943 to 1946. Both sets have been donated to the Cushing Library at Texas A & M University. His career was remarkable. But it was as a man, as a father, that he was even more remarkable, and there resides his greatest achievement. He taught his children to love being curious, to take life on with the vigor and joyful exuberance and playfulness, to endure vicissitudes, to admit and overcome personal failure and seek forgiveness, to argue hard on serious issues but concede defeat with good humor, to care for the small and weak and defenseless (including animals), and, most importantly to have the courage to say, "I don't know" and "I might be wrong." He died a very rich man; that is, he knew well that his children loved and adored him. He had no last words at the moment of his demise. Instead, just minutes before, he was humming the melody to his favorite song, "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning." Robert will be buried in the IOOF Cemetery in Gonzales, Texas on the 86th anniversary of his beloved father's death July 22, 1930. Arrangements are being made by Seydler-Hill Funeral Home, Gonzales, Texas. The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to Mercy for Animals, www.mercyforanimals.org
in honor of the man he most admired and was inspired by; Theologian, Humanitarian, Medical Doctor, Musician and Philosopher, Dr. Albert Schweitzer.