Obituary: Dr. Robert D. Jenkins

Dr. Robert D. Jenkins
Dr. Robert D. Jenkins
Provided Photo

October 28, 1934 – June 11, 2022

Skilled eye surgeon, curious world adventurer, avid reader, daily walker, elegant diner, a colorful joke-teller, and the ultimate optimist – these are just a few of the ways Robert “Bob” Jenkins has been known by those who love him.

Dr. Robert D. Jenkins was born on October 28th, 1934 in Springfield, Illinois to Samuel Jenkins, an attorney, and Katherine (Coughlan) Jenkins. He was raised in Pittsfield, IL. until his mother‘s death when he was 16, after which he moved to Quincy, IL. His first great adventure, at age 16, was a two-week boat trip alone with his friend Jim Rutledge, navigating the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers from Florence, IL all the way to New Orleans. At age 17, foretelling his steady hand as a surgeon, Robert was named the 1952 Illinois High School Rifle League “State Champion Marksman.”

Robert attended University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He was a Phi Gamma Delta fraternity member and graduated with a focus in pre-med in 1957. He subsequently attended the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago; he graduated with a medical degree in 1959 and completed his residency in Ophthalmology at Presbyterian St. Luke’s Hospital, Chicago, IL.

Robert met his first wife, Ellen Louise Strohm, when he was in medical school and she was a senior at Northwestern University, Chicago. With an adventurous spirit he took her on their first date to the “more romantic” Lake Michigan Beach instead of to the Rush Street nightclub scene (where she said she’d usually been asked on first dates.) They were married in 1957.

Robert served two years during the Vietnam war as the Fort Jackson, South Carolina Army Base ophthalmologist. Afterwards, in 1968, he opened a private practice, Sangamon Eye Associates in Springfield, IL. Robert’s surgical skills were well recognized in the Springfield community. In addition to his work, he enjoyed sailing, hiking and camping, and was an intrepid world traveler, particularly in Asia. An avid skier and outdoor lover, Robert retired from private medical practice in 1993 and moved with Ellen to Park City, Utah to be closer to the mountains.

After losing Ellen to cancer in 2003, Robert met his future wife Joanne Newcomb; he showed his adventurous and attractive dating spirit by inviting her on a California coastal travel-trailer camping tour. They were married in 2006. Bob and Joanne spent the past sixteen years enjoying living in both Utah and Florida, while also venturing near and far.

Robert “Bob” Jenkins died at the age of 87 in Ft. Myers, FL. He is predeceased by his wife Ellen Jenkins, his daughter Linda Matthews, and his son Craig Jenkins, all of Park City, UT. He is survived by his wife Joanne Newcomb, his daughter Amy Jenkins and his grandchildren Noelle (Matthews) Guinn, Conor Matthews, Elias Sieswerda and Adam Sieswerda.

Robert traveled the world living a life of great adventure; in death he embarks upon his next significant journey and this world will miss him dearly.


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