Robert McDivitt Obituary (2021) – Salt Lake City, UT

Dr. Robert W. McDivitt, born in 1931 in West Sunbury, son of Boyd and Ruth (McCarrier) McDivitt, passed away peacefully at his home in Salt Lake City, Utah on September 18, 2021, at the age of 90.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 61 years, Candy; her daughters, Lyn Duncan, Kipp Kelley and her husband, Mike; his brother, James McDivitt and his wife, Dorothy; her sister, Carol Scrivner and her husband, Noel; and her sister-in-law, Nancy Speck.
He is also survived by his beloved grandchildren, Micki Duncan, Elias Duncan, Duncan Kelley and Griffin Kelley.
An avid reader and writer, Bob studied comparative literature at Harvard College, attended Yale School of Medicine, and was an intern at the Osler Medicine Service at Johns Hopkins before discovering pathology was his true calling.
In Baltimore, he met the love of his life, Candy, who was a neighbor and a nursing student at Johns Hopkins.
His training in anatomical pathology at Johns Hopkins was followed by a fellowship in surgical pathology at Memorial Hospital in New York. There, in the company of trusted friends and colleagues, Drs. Phil Lieberman, Frank Foote and Fred Stewart, Bob embarked on a career that led to many advancements in the field of surgical pathology.
Bob and Candy’s stay in New York was cut short when Bob joined the US Air Force and was stationed for two years at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. While in the Air Force, he attended weekly surgical pathology lectures at Washington University in St. Louis, where Dr. Lauren Ackerman became a close friend and trusted mentor.
Upon his return to New York, Bob joined Memorial Hospital as a teacher. In collaboration with Drs. Stewart and Berg, he wrote the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology Issue 2 on Breast Tumors, which has served as a benchmark in important pathology for decades. Soon after, he became director of surgical pathology at the New York Hospital, where Candy worked as an operating room nurse. A fellow pathologist trainee from his Hopkins days, Dr. Bill Cathey, who also served as a usher at their wedding, encouraged Bob to visit Salt Lake City following a conference in Denver. With two young daughters and the differences in the cost of living between New York and Salt Lake City, Bob and Candy quickly decided to move west. He joined the Department of Pathology at the University of Utah as Director of Surgical Pathology and became involved with the Southwest Oncology Group. At that time, he was a sought-after diagnostician, advisor, collaborator and speaker.
Life in Salt Lake City was good; However, after nearly a decade in the United States, Bob and Candy decided to move to St. Louis. His appointment to the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis was facilitated by his close relationship with Dr. Lauren Ackerman. As director of anatomical pathology at the Jewish Hospital and then at the Barnes Hospital, his research funded by the National Institutes of Health explored breast cancer with techniques then unheard of: flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry. He was adept at meeting the challenges of balancing research, diagnostic pathology, teaching and administration.
As an expert in breast pathology, Bob has benefited from an active travel program, including lectures on all continents and throughout the Caribbean. After a few years leading major medical getaways in the Caribbean, Bob and Candy got ready. They obtained their captain’s licenses at the Annapolis Sailing School, learned celestial navigation, became PADI diving instructors, and built a 40-foot sailboat, which they named Charade. When Bob retired, he and Candy enjoyed cruising the Caribbean, returning to New England to visit family during the summers. After a few years they moved to a yacht club in Trinidad and Tobago, and Bob taught as a senior lecturer at the University of the West Indies. He was a beloved teacher and thanks to the collaboration with his daughter, Lyn, he revised the pathology curriculum.
The cruising life was adventurous; Bob and Candy found a community among other sailors. Their daughter Kipp had returned to Salt Lake City with her husband and now had two young children. Eventually, Bob and Candy retired from the boating life and moved into a nearby family bungalow in Salt Lake City. He joined the faculty of the Department of Pathology at the University of Utah at the invitation of the President, Dr. Peter Jensen, one of the many professors at the University, whom Bob had known as interns at Washington University in St. Louis.
Bob has lived a busy life with his wife Candy. At first, they were enjoying a summer vacation in upstate New York at the Adirondack League Club, along with Drs. Foote and Stewart, and outdoor activities with the Campfire Club throughout the year. They learned to tie flies for fishing, to pull the skeet and trap, and to hunt deer and poultry, activities that are easier to access in Utah than in New York.
Dog lovers, they had German Shepherds followed by Akitas. Bob was predeceased by his close companion from Akita, Miko, by three months.
Years later, Bob and Candy have enjoyed their simple life in Salt Lake City, with Kipp and his family nearby, and annual visits for family reunions at Lyn’s on Cape Cod.
He has remained an avid reader with a collection of books that rivals most good libraries. In addition to his published work on breast tumors in recent years under the encouragement of his daughters, Bob has written his autobiography.
MCDIVITT – A private memorial service for Dr. Robert W. McDivitt, who passed away on Saturday, September 18, 2021, will be held in Cape Cod at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations are greatly appreciated to the Robert W. McDivitt MD Endowment Fund, Division of Anatomical Pathology at the University of Utah at https://giving.utah.edu/give-now.

Posted by Butler Eagle on Oct 9, 2021.

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