Robert “Bob” Eugene Westfall, MD, age 81, passed away peacefully in the comfort of his home in Phoenix, Arizona on December 21, 2015 after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease. Born on February 9, 1934 in Phoenix, Arizona, Bob was the fourth child of Harry and Ida Westfall. He graduated from St. Mary’s Elementary School in 1948, St. Mary’s High School in 1952, Arizona State University in 1956, and Tulane Medical School in 1960. Bob is survived by his loving wife, Dorothy, and his seven children: Denise Valenzuela (Jim), Theresa Anderson, Robert Westfall, Jr., Patrice Nick, Lisa Elliott (Sherman), Michelle Nilsen (David), Mary Skikos (Anthony); 24 grandchildren (Camille, Julia, Elissa, Abigail, Steven, Maren, Parker, Robert, Madeline, Jane, Ethan, Kyle, Michael, Taylor, David, Anthony, Isabel, Veronica, Blaise, Fulton, Francesca, Athena, Mary Katherine Drexel and Augustus); his sister, Carol McDermott (Don); and 28 nieces and nephews who all loved and adored him. Bob was preceded in death by his brothers, Harry and Donald, his sister, Helen Lowe and grandson, Kolbe Skikos.
Bob felt the calling to be a doctor early in life. As a physician, Bob specialized in internal medicine and pulmonary diseases. After graduating from Tulane, he did his residency at Charity Hospital in New Orleans. In 1965, he moved to Flagstaff and joined a pulmonary practice. While practicing in Flagstaff, he travelled by plane to remote areas of the Navajo Reservation taking care of people with pulmonary diseases. His plans were interrupted when he was drafted during the Vietnam War. From 1966 – 1968, he served at Fort Lewis, WA as a Captain in the U.S. Army. He trained other doctors in the latest pulmonary techniques and instituted the first smoke free hospital in the country. When he returned to Arizona in 1969, he joined Pulmonary Associates where he practiced for the remainder of his career as a loving presence to his patients. Bob gave back to his profession by serving as the President of the Arizona Lung Association from 1978-1979, the President of the Maricopa Medical Association in 1984, and was the Chief of Staff at Good Samaritan Medical Center from 1987-88. In 1989, he was a Laureate Award Recipient for the Arizona Chapter of the American College of Physicians. In 1999, he was recognized for his teaching of interns and residents at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center. His professional commitments did not stop Bob from volunteering as Team Physician for the St. Mary’s High School’s Football Team and later in life as a physician at the St. Vincent de Paul Medical Clinic.
Bob was a passionate and caring old fashioned doctor who did house calls to his patients when he traveled near their homes in remote places in Arizona. It gave him great joy to care for family, friends and neighbors who came to his home seeking medical care. He often stopped at accident scenes to help the injured, and one time saved the life of a young boy who was drowning in a neighbor’s pool. He truly was a Good Samaritan.
Although he had a strong vocation as a doctor, Bob’s greatest joy was his family. He relished spending time with family at his cabin in northern Arizona. Throughout his adult years, he enjoyed Friday night poker games, fishing, hunting, playing tennis and bridge with family and friends, and hosting large family gatherings. As an Arizona native, Bob was a proud member of the First Families of Arizona. His family was a founding member of St. Mary’s Basilica. He was a member of St. Francis Xavier Parish from 1969 to the present and was active in several Catholic organizations including the Serra Club and the Knights of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre. In 1999, he was inducted into the St. Mary’s High School Hall of Fame as an outstanding alumnus who demonstrated an unwavering support of St. Mary’s beliefs and values.
Bob was a good friend and colleague to many. He had several dear friends from childhood that he cherished throughout his life. No matter where he traveled in Arizona, he encountered those he knew. He delighted in hearing about their families and sharing about his. He held his former partners in his medical practice as well as other medical practitioners in great esteem. He was a man who recognized and celebrated the good in others. Because of this, he was a joy to be around. He will be sorely missed by all who loved him.
Visitation will be held 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. and a rosary at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, December 28, 2015 at St. Francis Xavier Church at 4715 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ. The Funeral Mass will be held on Tuesday, December 29, 2015 at St. Francis Xavier Church at 10:00 a.m. with a reception immediately following at the school. In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests that contributions be sent in memory of Dr. Robert Westfall to the St. Mary’s High School Scholarship Fund, 2525 N. 3rd Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004, Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, 555 W. Temple Street, Los Angeles CA 90012, St. Vincent de Paul Clinic, P.O. Box 13600, Phoenix, AZ 85002, or Life Choices, 9303 N. 7th St., Suite 4, Phoenix, AZ 85020. Condolences may be made by visiting the online guest book at www.whitneymurphyfuneralhome.com