Colonel USAF (RET) Robert Peter Turk, MD, age 82, of Kettering, OH, left this earth on Thursday, January 16, 2014, while surrounded by his family, at Hospice of Dayton.
Robert was born in Hopelawn, New Jersey, to Joseph and Ethel (Zoldi) Turk, sixth of eight children. He was predeceased by his parents, and by siblings Margaret Leone (Louis), Ethel Tobias (Joseph), and Helen Doyle (Chris). He is survived by siblings Edward Turk, Joseph Turk, Madeline (Turk) Jordan, and Paul Turk. Robert also leaves behind many beloved nieces and nephews.
Robert will be remembered as a beloved brother, loving uncle, an honorable and distinguished soldier, a committed physician, a scholar, and an outstanding educator. Robert role-modeled enthusiasm for life, and touched the lives of many people during his service to the Dayton medical community.
Robert first graduated from Woodbridge HS in Woodbridge, New Jersey.
Then Robert first served his country during the Korean War, as an Aeromedical Technician, in the Air Evacuation Training Squadron, at SAM Gunter AFB in Montgomery, Alabama, from 1950 to 1954.
Robert was graduated in pre-medicine studies at University of Alabama in 1956, and the Medical College of Alabama in 1960. Robert (had rejoined the U.S. Air Force in 1959, and) completed his Flight Surgeon's training at the School of Aerospace Medicine, Brooks AFB, TX, in 1961, performed a rotating internship at Tripler General Army Hospital in Honolulu, Hawaii, and then completed his training in general surgery at Fitzsimmons Army General Hospital in 1968.
Robert further served his country during the Vietnam War, as a general surgeon, while stationed at USAF Hospital, Cam Rahn Bay, Republic of Vietnam, September 1968 to September 1969. Robert also served as Chair, Department of Surgery, and Flight Surgeon, 1st Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron (C1118), at USAF Hospital, Clark Air Base, Angeles City, Philippines, September 1969 to December 1970.
Robert was Chair, Department of Surgery, USAF Regional Medical Center, MacDill AFB, Tampa, Florida (4501st Tactical Fighter Squadron (F4E), in 1971, then served at USAF Hospital Torrejon Air Base, Madrid, Spain, as Chief General Surgery Section, July 1973 to Dec 1975.
In Dayton, at Wright Patterson USAF Medical Center, Robert served as Chair, Department of Surgery, and was Founder, General Surgery Residency Program (December 1975 to September 1979). Robert was instrumental in the integration of the Surgical Training program at Wright State University School of Medicine in July 1979.
Robert was a member of the Department of Medical Education at St. Elizabeth Medical Center (SEMC), from 1979 to 2000, and after closure of SEMC, Robert continued his service to medical education at the Department of Surgery at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine. During these decades, Robert touched the lives of hundreds of medical students, family medicine residents, and general surgery residents. His sage advice was commonly referred to as 'Turk's Aphorisms,' and will be guiding light to many learners.
Robert was awarded the following during his military service: The Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Award, Air Medal, Good Conduct Medal, Air Force Expeditionary Medal, National Defense Medal, and the Vietnam Service Medal.
For his medical career and contributions, Robert was awarded: Teaching Excellence Awards (numerous, from learners), Clinical Surgery Teacher of the Year Awards (the Alan B. Huffer Memorial Award, multiple times), Outstanding Teacher of the Year (Department of Emergency Medicine, 1993), Outstanding Clinician of the Year (Dayton Academy of Medicine-1988), Alpha Omega Alpha National Medical Honor Society, Phi Beta Kappa (University of Alabama, 1956), Alpha Epsilon Delta (National Premedical Honor Society, 1956).
Robert's Professional Society Memberships included: Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, American Medical Association, American Association of the History of Medicine, Association of Military Surgeons of the U.S., Society of Medical Consultants to the Armed Forces, Society of Air Force Clinical Surgeons (Life Member), Ohio State Medical Association, Montgomery County Medical Society, and the Dayton Academy of Medicine (Life Member and Trustee).
Robert was a member of the St. Joseph Catholic Church, Dayton. The family appreciates the compassion of Father Ken Pleiman.
The family thanks Hospice of Dayton for their compassionate care during Robert's last days. Special thank you to Doctors Warren Ljungren, Steve Swedlund, James Murphy, and Tarek Sabagh.
Robert will be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery, and services will be private.
Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.routsong.com.