Dr. Robert W. Kendall, beloved husband, father and grandfather, died of old age on May 2, 2019, just 29 days shy of his 92nd birthday.
Bob was born in Portland, Ore., on May 31, 1927, to A.W. and Helen Kendall. He was preceded in death by his brother Bill Kendall and both his parents. Dr. Smart, as many of his lifelong friends called him, was a kind, gentle and hardworking man who loved his family and was loyal to his extended group of eclectic friends.
In 1960, while on one of many ski vacations to his family house in Sun Valley, Bob met his beautiful bride and wife of 58 years, Jean Ann Oliver, and they soon were married in San Francisco in September of 1961. After service in the Navy at the end of World War II, he went on to graduate from Colorado College and Stanford University and then to the University of Oregon Medical School, where he began his medical career as a cardiothoracic surgeon in Portland, but soon moved his practice to Spokane in 1963. There at Sacred Heart Medical Center, along with several colleagues, he was a pioneer in open-heart surgery and coronary bypass surgery, where he successfully practiced medicine for more than 30 years.
Bob had a true love and passion for the outdoors, from snow skiing to backpacking with his family. He loved his vegetable garden and you would often find him in the kitchen cooking short ribs with fresh Yukon golds and a hot apple pie! He and Jean were avid international travelers and visited well over 50 countries together but had a special love for New Zealand.
He was an avid big-game and bird hunter, but his real passion was as a fly fisherman, and he was truly a master! He first learned to fly-fish as a young boy with his dad and brother on the Columbia River and its tributaries for salmon and trout in his hometown of Astoria, Ore. He also perfected the art of fly tying and produced many quality flies that were coveted by his fishing buddies. His final fishing trip was in October 2018 with Jean—fishing the Missouri River at age 91. Impressive, Dad!
Regardless of the immense amount of time spent at the hospital, Bob always made time for his family—from teaching them all to ski at Mount Spokane to summers at Hayden Lake and Christmas vacations to Sun Valley. He was always there for us, always had an encouraging word, always teaching us to be honest and respectful of others, always there! You will be missed, Dad. We love you, always.
Bob is survived by his wife and best friend, Jean, and their three children, Bruce, Robin and John, along with his four grandchildren, Madeline, Murphy, Alex and Jack.
In lieu of gifts or flowers, please make donations in Bob’s name to the Spokane Symphony or The Nature Conservancy of Idaho.