Obituary: Dr. Robert D. Jenkins

October 28, 1934 – June 11, 2022

Experienced eye surgeon, curious world adventurer, avid reader, daily walker, elegant diner, a colorful joker and the ultimate optimist – these are just some of the ways Robert “Bob” Jenkins was known to those who love him.

dr. Robert D. Jenkins was born on October 28, 1934, in Springfield, Illinois, to Samuel Jenkins, a lawyer, and Katherine (Coughlan) Jenkins. He grew up in Pittsfield, IL. until his mother’s death when he was 16, after which he moved to Quincy, IL. His first big 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, his steady hand as a surgeon predicted, Robert was named the Illinois High School Rifle League “State Champion Marksman” in 1952.

Robert attended the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He was a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and graduated in 1957 with a focus in pre-med. He then 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 dates to the “more romantic” Lake Michigan Beach rather than the Rush Street nightclub scene (where she said she was usually asked out on first dates). They married in 1957.

Robert served for two years during the Vietnam War as an ophthalmologist at Fort Jackson, South Carolina Army Base. Then, 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, especially in Asia. An avid skier and outdoor enthusiast, Robert quit his private medical practice in 1993 and moved with Ellen to Park City, Utah to be closer to the mountains.

After the loss of 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 camping tour along the California coast. They married in 2006. Bob and Joanne happily spent the past sixteen years in both Utah and Florida, while also venturing near and far.

Robert “Bob” Jenkins died at age 87 in Ft. Myers, FL. He is predeceased by his wife Ellen Jenkins, his daughter Linda Matthews, and his son Craig Jenkins, all over 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 and lived a life full of adventure; in death he embarks on his next important journey and this world will miss him very much.

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