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Robert Leonard Carter

December 25, 1940 February 8, 2019
Robert Leonard Carter
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Obituary for Robert Leonard Carter

The world is a little darker today. Robert Leonard Carter, MD, 78, passed away peacefully in the arms of his wife, Ann, in the early morning hours of Friday, 08 February 2019. Affectionately known as Bob, he was a firstly and most importantly, a respected physician and devout husband and father, followed by a scholar, a hero, a gentlemen, a proper cowboy, an academic, and an average-ish woodworker.
Born on 25 December 1940 in the desert of El Centro, CA, Bob was a life-long learner. He graduated from Arizona State University in 1963 as a proud Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity brother and student body president and the University of Tennessee Medical School in 1966 with the first of many medical boards. After serving in the Navy as a Lt. Commander at Balboa Hospital as both a physician and overly difficult teacher, he practiced medicine in California until 1983 when he moved to Carthage, MO. He practiced oncology and hematology in Joplin until his retirement on 22 May 2011 due to the Joplin Tornado. Following his retirement, Bob was a volunteer physician for several medical missions to Torbeck, Haiti.
He is survived by Ann, his loving wife of 51 years; daughter Heather and husband Gabe Castleberry of Carthage; the lights of his life, grandchildren, Hadlee and Carter; and faithful female dog, appropriately named, Dog, but who answers to Steve. Additional survivors include sister, Terry Gallegos and husband Paul of Madera, CA, dear friends around the world, and the countless lives he saved throughout his medical career. Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Kathleen (Stephens) Carter.
His passion for saving lives led him to look outside the confines of possible. He read. He learned. He went to conferences. He stayed abreast of new and innovative therapies. All to make the difference in the lives of the people who entrusted their care to him. He saved many lives and was fortunate to continue to call his patients his friends long after his retirement.
His learning didn’t end with medicine. He was a fierce and avid reader throughout his life. Whether it was learning about the sturdiness of Anatolian rugs or what fly to use to catch a rainbow trout, he was always reading. He loved travel, red wine, and Netflix, but not to be outdone by mowing the lawn in his tractor, working in his workshop, planting in the garden, and spending time with his grandkids who called him Poppy and Popsicle, respectively.
He loved to tell his life stories. Many knew that he spent summers as a child working cattle on the family ranch out in the open desert of Arizona and Nevada and that he was a fruit tramp in the summers during college (and lived in a car which he would proudly tell you). His antics were unsurpassed and his wit was quick. He was the Keyser Söze of storytelling; however, his stories were all true! He had rules of life – stay hydrated, study hard, save your nickels, limit liability, and don’t go to jail. He lived by all of these.
Many will remember him as the white haired guy in the cowboy hat and red truck who was eternally at Lowe’s while others will remember him as the caring voice providing guidance and strength through tough cancer diagnoses. Either way, his legacy will live on for a long time to come in the people who were fortunate enough to know him.
A requiem mass will be held at Grace Episcopal Church on Sunday, 17 February 2019 at 3:00 PM where Bob was a long time member. Inurnment will follow the service at the Grace Church Columbarium.
Memorial gifts are suggested for St. Andrew’s Hospital in Torbeck, Haiti in care of Knell Mortuary. Online condolences may be expressed through Arrangements are under the direction and personal care of Knell Mortuary.

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Previous Events

Memorial Service




3:00 PM 2/17/2019 3:00:00 PM
Grace Episcopal Church

820 Howard Street
Carthage, MO 64836

Grace Episcopal Church
820 Howard Street Carthage 64836 MO
United States

Cemetery Details


Grace Episcopal Church Columbarium Final Resting Place

820 Howard Street
Carthage, MO 64836

820 Howard Street Carthage 64836 MO
United States

Memorial Contribution

Knell Mortuary

Memorial gifts are suggested for St. Andrew’s Hospital in Torbeck, Haiti in care of Knell Mortuary.

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