Saratoga Springs, NY - Robert F. Yates, 82, died unexpectedly of a stroke Sunday, May 27, 2012.
Born May 19, 1930, in Endicott, NY, to Morris Yates and Ethlyn Watrous Yates, Robert, or “Bob” as many friends knew him, lived in Saratoga Springs for the past 50 years. Bob had a mischievous twinkle in his eye and loved to regale his friends with stories, jokes, and puns. He loved to travel, go to the opera, play Sudoku, send messages on the ham radio, work in his woodshop, and, in his later years, to create beautiful stained-glass windows. He spent many wonderful summers with his family at his camp at Schroon Lake in the Adirondacks
Bob had a long career in medicine, and was known to many in Saratoga Springs as a pediatrician who made house calls. He earned a BA degree from Colgate University in 1952 and an M.D. from Albany Medical College in 1956. In 1957, he was drafted into the military Medical Corps as a Captain in the capacity of a General Medical Officer and was stationed in Heidelberg, Germany from 1957-1960. Upon his return, Bob completed his Pediatric Residency at Albany Medical Center and went into private practice in Saratoga Springs. He joined Dr. Joseph Mintzer at 221 Lake Avenue, forming the practice of Mintzer & Yates, and was later joined by Dr. Charles Richman. He truly loved taking care of the children of Saratoga and watching them grow to raise their own families. He then became Deputy Director of Medical Services at the NYS Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (OMRDD) from 1989 through 1993. In 1993, Bob had the pleasure of going back to private practice at Saratoga Medical Associates, working with his daughter, Laura Yates LeCours, who followed in his footsteps and became a pediatrician. He finished his career as a part time physician working several years at C.W.I.
During his career, Dr. Yates had professional responsibilities at Saratoga Hospital acting as President of the Medical Staff, Chairman of the Medical Department, Chairman of the Pediatric Department for two years, and Chair of the Quality Assurance committee in addition to service on the executive committee for 10 years.
Robert’s brother, Edward Yates (Ann and then Sandy), predeceased him.
Survivors include his wife of 58 years, Ruth Dempsey Yates; four children, Stephen (Jane) Yates, Martin (Diane Vatne) Yates, Laura (Alan) LeCours, and Douglas (Sharon Burkett) Yates; sister, Marion (Donald) Stephens; and grandchildren, Dan (Amanda) LeCours, Katie Dramé (Mamadou), and Alex, Emily, Viena, Anna, Andrew, John and Lydia Yates.
Bob was an active member of the Saratoga Springs United Methodist Church, volunteering on many committees and in leadership capacities. He was a member of the Board of Trustees, Pastor Parish Committee, and acted as a member of Building Committee when the church moved from the downtown Washington Street location to its present location at 175 Fifth Avenue.
Bob was also a community leader in many other ways. While his children were growing up, he was very active with the Boy Scouts, acting as a Scout Master and encouraging his sons as they rose through the ranks. They have carried on the scouting tradition with their children.
He was also a member of the Board of the Historical Society of Saratoga Springs for six years, acting as President for two years. He was on the Board of Trustees for the Salvation Army and the Board of Trustees for the Saratoga Boy Scouts.
He was loved deeply by his family and will be missed beyond measure.
A memorial service celebrating his life will be held at 3 p.m. Friday, June 1, 2012, at the Saratoga Springs United Methodist Church at 175 Fifth Avenue. It will be followed by a reception at the church.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Saratoga Springs United Methodist Church Missions Fund or Heifer International.
Arrangements are under the direction of the William J. Burke & Sons/Bussing & Cunniff Funeral Homes of 628 North Broadway, Saratoga Springs, (518) 584-5373.
Online remembrances may be made at www.burkefuneralhome.com.