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Dr. H. Robert Ripley passed away peacefully on June 27, 2015. He was 94 years of age.
Robert Ripley was born on April 4, 1921 in Chicago, IL and moved to Los Angeles six months later with his family. He attended Hollywood High School and graduated from UCLA in 1942. He then matriculated into medical school at the University of California Berkeley campus before the medical school transferred to its Parnassus Hill location in San Francisco. After graduating from medical school and completing his internship in 1945, he entered active duty in the US Navy in 1946 and was assigned to a destroyer unit deployed to the Pacific and China. Over the years his friends and family marveled at his scrapbook showing round-the-clock surgery for all comers on a destroyer moored at the Strand in Shanghai after VJ day. He was honorably discharged from the USNR as a Lieutenant JG in 1953.
After a brief time in OB-GYN residency at the University of CA, San Francisco, in 1948 he transferred to general and vascular surgery residency at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. This was a transformative time in the practice of surgery and one of his fellow residents was John Kirkland, who was instrumental in the development of cardiac surgery. Robert Ripley was one of the founders of the Society of Angiology, an adjunct enabling the development of his main focus, vascular surgery.
As part of establishing his practice in general and vascular surgery in San Leandro, he was active in a broad-based effort to develop health care services in the East Bay. For many years he was on the staff of Fairmont Hospital, at the time a critical access charity hospital. With the advent of Medicare as well as a need for more health care capacity, Robert Ripley led the founding of Doctor’s Hospital in San Leandro (now San Leandro Hospital) which became an integral institution in the community. Through those years, he also served on the medical staff at Eden Hospital in Castro Valley.
True to his entrepreneurial passions, Robert also managed investments and developed real estate ventures.
With Nadine, his loving wife of 55 years, they led an active life with interests in scuba diving, African adventures and snow skiing as well as actively supporting the arts and sciences in his community. Together they enjoyed observing nature on their ranch in the outskirts of Castro Valley where they also raised their family.
Dr. Ripley is survived by his wife, Nadine Larson Ripley of Castro Valley; sister, Constance Ripley Corwin of Los Angeles; son, Dr. Robert Craig Ripley (Virginia) of Nashville TN; daughter, Stephanie Ripley Porter (Ian) of Washington, DC, and Bangkok, Thailand; son, Dana Kirk Ripley (Tracy) of Pleasanton and daughter, Elizabeth Ripley Lacasia (Rodrigo) of San Carlos and will also be missed by his eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
His family extends their sincere gratitude for the loving support of his friends as well as the staff at the Pleasanton Nursing and Rehabilitation Center who took such good care of Robert. In lieu of flowers the family requests a donation in his name to the U.C. San Francisco Medical Center, San Francisco or the Eden Hospital Foundation, Castro Valley.