1936 - 2023
April 8, 1936 — September 8, 2023
Dr. Robert Leonard Phyliky, age 87, died at the Waters on September 8, 2023 surrounded by his loving family.
He was born in Morristown, NJ to Dr. Harold and Idabelle Phyliky on April 8. 1936. As a boy he was active in Boy Scouts, De Molay and the Methodist Church. Following his graduation from Morristown High School he attended Drew University in Madison, NJ where he majored in Zoology. After leaving Drew he became a medical student at Gemente Universitat in Amsterdam, Holland. After completing his pre-clinical years, he transferred to Albany Medical College in Albany New York where he received his MD degree. After graduating in 1965 he spent the next 10 years in the US Army. He completed his internship at Tripler Army Hospital, Honolulu Hawaii; his internal medicine residency at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas; his fellowship in Hematology at Tufts New England Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts. When he returned to Brooke Army Medical Center he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and became the Chief of Hematology. While in San Antonio he became involved with the Bexar County Anemia Association. For his work with them he was made “Mayor of La Vieta”. Upon leaving the service he was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal. In 1975 he accepted positions at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota as a consultant in Hematology, Hematopathology and as an associate professor at Mayo Medical School. He was named a Distinguished Mayo Clinician and received the Peter Jay Sharp Distinguished Clinician Award.
During his years at Mayo, he wrote many articles and abstracts. He founded the CLL research group (Calypso) and served as its chair for many years. His greatest joy was teaching the medical students and residents. He loved his patients and truly believed the patient comes first. He was known for his kindness and gracious spirit. He always answered his pager “This is Dr. Phyliky. How can I help you?” After retiring in 2005 he returned as a contract consultant in Hematology. He so enjoyed serving on the Admissions Committee of Mayo Medical School. Meeting so many bright and eager young people helped him know that the practice of medicine would be in good hands.
Robert married the love of his life, Julia Ann Petersen in 1960. The two met during the college production of “Guys and Dolls”. Robert had a beautiful tenor voice (which he shared his entire life) and Julie was the music director. She says when she saw him, she knew she was going to marry him. The life they shared was filled with opportunities, adventures but mostly love. He wrote in a journal once “I am particularly proud of the women in my life, Julie and my four daughters who are all talented, caring kind and tolerate me”. We did not tolerate him. We loved him and were so very proud of him, he was…a kind, honest, caring person. Rob enjoyed traveling; Mexico, Canada, England, Wales, Scotland, France, Denmark, Crete, Holland, Germany, Italy and Japan. He visited every US state except Alaska. His hobbies which he also shared with Julie included fly fishing and golf but his chief joy was visiting his children and grandchildren. Fourteen years ago, Bob and Julie bought a vacation home close to the Yellowstone River in Livingston, Montana. It became a gathering place for family and friends who enjoyed honing their fly-fishing skills and visiting Yellowstone Park. He has lived a beautiful life. His determination brought him through any difficult situations he might have met on the way. He was such a good man. We will miss him.
The whole Phyliky family want to express our deepest thanks to the staff at The Waters on Mayowood and the Mayo Hospice Program. Their kindness, love and care for Bob will always be remembered and treasured.
He was preceded in death by his parents Dr. Harold and Idabelle Phyliky.
He is survived by his wife of almost 63 years Julie; his four daughters: Carrie Phyliky Rimes (Sean),Deborah Whicker (Gary),Lisa Prohaska (James) and Robin Fortuna (John); Eleven grandchildren: David Phyliky Lay, Dane Whicker (Jeff), Blake Whicker (Francis), Ariel Cunningham (Jack), Keegan Whicker, Samuel Prohaska, Joshua Prohaska, Julian Fortuna, Elijah Rimes, Genevieve Fortuna, Isabella Rimes; two great grandchildren Rhodes and Lily Whicker; sister, Nancy Vroom; sister in law Rose-Mary Ashworth; and several nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be given to Drew University, Madison, N.J. or St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 1884 NW 22nd St, Rochester, Mn. There will be a visitation on Friday September 22 from 5-7PM at Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Home. The funeral will be held at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church on Saturday September 23rd with visitation at 10 AM, the funeral at 11AM with a luncheon following. Burial will be at Oakwood Cemetery.
Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Homes is honored to be serving the Phyliky family. To share a special memory or condolence please visit www.ranfranzandvinefh.com
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