Whether he brought them into this world, served as their family doctor, worked with them or was their neighbor or acquaintance, Dr. Kenneth Bobb made a positive impact.
On Thursday, Bobb died at Schneck Medical Center in Seymour. He was 93.
Bobb began his general practice of medicine with obstetrics and anesthesia at 410 S. Chestnut St., Seymour, on Aug. 5, 1955, and remained there until 1999.
According to his obituary, approximately 20% of his practice time was devoted to general anesthesia, and it’s estimated his number of cases was in excess of 10,000. Meanwhile, the estimated number of obstetrical deliveries was 2,000.
James Lucas said Bobb delivered him and was his doctor until he retired.
“He was the best,” Lucas said.
Kelly Ross said she also was delivered by Bobb.
“He was my parents’ doctor. They loved him,” she said. “He took care of my dad when he had his heart attack in 1982 until he retired. My dad lived to be 91. (Bobb) will be missed.”
Brandy Babbs said Bobb saved her grandmother’s life in her 30s.
“She developed some blood clots due to birth control, and no other doctor could figure it out,” she said. “He figured it out and sent her to Louisville right away. She died on the table a couple times but survived thanks to him and the doctors there. Forever grateful to him for that.”
Bonnie Mikel said she grew up going to Bobb’s doctor’s office with her parents.
“He stitched up the whole top of my dad’s head when an electric door fell on it. He treated my mother’s arm when she burned it bad. He treated my children also,” she said. “He only had to listen to my heart to tell what took nowadays a machine. Such a great physician and kindhearted man.”
A month ago, Mikel said she saw Bobb at a farm market and he gave her some good advice on her health.
“He will be missed,” Mikel said.
Susan Jeffers said Bobb delivered her two sons. When one of them was 11 months old, he had a really high fever, so Jeffers called Bobb.
“He told me what to do, but the fever continued, so I called him back. Here he comes on a snowy night in a tux. He checked Tim, says he has the measles,” she said. “(Bobb) was great. Always sweet. Good memories.”
After graduating from Shields High School, Bobb completed his undergraduate studies in 1949 at Indiana University, earning a Bachelor of Science in anatomy and human physiology. He then attended IU School of Medicine in Indianapolis from 1949 to 1952.
Following the completion of his general rotating internship at Indianapolis General Hospital, Bobb was in the U.S. Air Force Reserve inactive status from 1952 to 1953 and became active duty from 1953 to 1954 at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. From 1954 to 1955, his duty status was general medical officer at USAF General Hospital in Nagoya, Japan.
He was discharged from active duty in August 1955 and remained in the Air Force Reserve until 1960.
Bobb practiced solo until 1984 when Dr. Dan Walters joined him as a partner. After retirement in 1999, he sold the building and his share of the practice to Walters. He then established a practice in Crothersville for two years.
In August 199
4, Bobb initiated the hospice program at the hospital in Seymour and remained director and practitioner until January 2010.
In 2002 and 2003, as part of a steering committee in Jackson County, he helped develop a federally qualified community health center to serve underinsured and underserved citizens. The center started at offices on Jackson Park Drive and relocated to a remodeled space in the Community Agency Building on North Chestnut Street in Seymour. He served as medical director and medical provider from the last quarter of 2003 until his retirement in 2009.
Also locally, he served as medical director for Lutheran Community Home from its beginning until January 2014, resigned from active staff membership at Schneck in January 2010 and was an honorary staff member thereafter and served as Jackson County health officer from 1999 to 2016.
Michelle Spray said the only time she met Bobb was when her kids were at the Jackson County Health Department for their shots. That one interaction made an impact.
“He came in, and while we were waiting, he stopped and joked and cut up with my kids. He was so kind and friendly to us that day,” she said. “I know it’s not a big story, but it was big to me.”
Lewann Burrell worked for Bobb for 11 years.
“He was the greatest human being I know,” she said. “He would do anything for anyone. He supported me through a lot of struggles in my life. Even after I left his employment, I was his transcriptionist whenever he had a project he was working on, which was quite often. I loved him dearly and will miss his sweet smile.”
Debra Loper said her mother worked in medical records at the hospital for years and admired Bobb’s disposition and laid-back style.
“(Bobb) never seemed stressed out by life,” Loper said. “He took good care of my dad when he got throat and lung cancer, and every time I saw him out, he would always ask about my family, and it was genuine concern always. He even took the time to come out to our place on a country neighbors tour. He was a gentleman and always a sharp-dressed man. I will miss running into him, speaking with him and saying a prayer.”
David Woodruff said his aunt was Bobb’s receptionist for a while, and his dad was a handyman at Bobb’s office in the 1990s.
“Dr. Bobb was the one that discovered the leukemia early enough to enjoy a few years with my dad,” Woodruff said. “He was a great doctor.”
Madison Brackemyre worked closely with Bobb during her senior year at Seymour High School when she was president of Students Against Destructive Decisions.
“We had meetings at his gorgeous home, walked in a parade against smoking and he even helped me get the courage to speak on SADD’s behalf on the smoking ordinance in front of city council,” she said. “He inspired us then and still has a lasting impact on us to this day. We are very saddened by the loss of one of the greatest.”
When she lost her job of 16 years due to a downsizing, Kendra Zumhingst said Bobb was the first person she saw.
“He prayed a prayer over me that was like his mouth opened and God spoke,” she said. “It was a comfort in that moment unlike anything I had ever experienced. He was an amazing human who never forgot to greet you with a smile. Those that knew him were blessed beyond belief.”
Bobb was Tara Sutherland’s neighbor and friend. Over the last year, she spent two or three days a week a couple of times a day helping the caregivers with him and his wife, Carol.
While losing a loved one is dreadfully painful, Sutherland said there is a silver lining. In this case, there is much to learn from Bobb and the legacy he leaves.
“If you ask anyone in our community, they will have a story, and everyone’s shared story of him you will notice a theme — acts of service,” she said. “Perhaps it’s a personal impact, witnessing him sit for hours with elderly dying patients so they wouldn’t be alone in their final breaths or at the doorstep in the middle of the night to ensure a baby was doing OK because a worried mother couldn’t find peace.”
Sutherland said Bobb also helped those who couldn’t afford health care find a solution.
“That’s the man he was — a caring, compassionate, devout Christian and friend to all,” she said. “He made you think about the way you live your very life, encouraging you to live happier or kinder or more determined, and he always had Scripture to tie it all together. He reminded me to ‘Realize that life is short and you must live each moment to its fullest potential.’”
Even in his 90s, she said Bobb was savvy with technology and always texted.
“On a vacation this summer in Curaçao cliff jumping, he asked me to send the video and text ‘All was good (and finished)’ after I completed the jump,” she said. “I did just as he asked. His response was ‘I’m glad you got that out of your system, but you didn’t do it only once, did you?’ I then shared the second video, and we laughed. He knew very well once wasn’t enough. But he worried from the moment I told him about the 40-foot jump until it was over.”
Sutherland also said Bobb was an amazing physician.
“He diagnosed my son with Lyme disease early enough that we avoided any seriousness,” she said. “He showed up in the middle of the night, doctor bag and all, diagnosing me with pneumonia after I had already seen three doctors claiming I had flu. He ordered X-rays confirming the next day.”
Those are the stories most have of a compassionate doctor, and Sutherland said she was blessed to know Bobb as both a mentor and physician.
“He brought strawberries on my birthday every year, singing me ‘Happy Birthday,’” she said. “I joined his campaign for Smoke Free Seymour driving in the parade. We helped kids in need at Christmas. He loved when my friends and I showed up in the night to sled down ‘Bobb Hill’ as he watched from the windows in pure enjoyment. He guided me through some tough stages of life and always considered others’ feelings first, reminding me of God’s Word.”
When asked in December 2020 to help the family as a caregiver, Sutherland said she didn’t think twice.
“He knew exactly what he was doing,” she said. “He always had a way of bringing people together and introducing them. It helped cultivate meaningful relationships with others that I wouldn’t have otherwise met. He was always selflessly giving of himself to brighten the day of everyone he came into contact with, and it changed the way I approach the people I meet in my life. It changed my perspective on life and how we are meant to impact others.”
Sutherland said she and her friends have always referenced Bobb as “God’s soldier.”
“He left an imprint on many hearts. This is how we all know him,” she said. “The greatest lesson from his life was that in which he gave to all that knew him. He gave everything, accomplishing all that he wanted to accomplish and leaving a legacy as he did with no regrets. I think that’s a sign of a successful life.”
At a glance
Visitation for Dr. Kenneth Bobb will be from 3 to 8 p.m. today at Voss Chapel in Seymour and from 9 a.m. until time of the funeral at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Seymour.
Burial will follow at Riverview Cemetery.
For those wishing to pay their final respects, the family will take the following route from the church to the cemetery: North on Walnut Street, turn east on Brown Street, turn north on Chestnut Street, turn east on Fourth Street and turn north on Ewing Street.
Memorials may be given to Immanuel Lutheran Church, Schneck Foundation for the Don and Dana Myers Cancer Center, Schneck Hospice, Lutheran Community Home or Boys and Girls Club of Seymour.