Robert B. Vance
“Death is the only thing that can separate two souls and bring them back together again.” After only one month apart, our devoted father has been reunited in death with his sweet wife, Marian. Dr. Robert Bliss Vance passed while surrounded by family at his home in Las Vegas on January 12, 2017.
“Bob” was born on March 20,1933 in the Cook County Hospital in Chicago, Illinois as the third child of Ida Catherine Anderson and Bliss Vance. He spent his early years in Illinois, New York, and finally Indianapolis, Indiana where he spent most of his childhood. As a child he loved music, learned to play the piano, and was a soprano soloist for the choir at Christ’s Church on the Circle in downtown Indianapolis until he was 15 years old. School was easy for Bob and he skipped a grade, graduating at the age of 17 from Shortridge High School in Indianapolis in May of 1950.
He furthered his studies at Earlham College in Indiana for 2 years, then moving on to graduate Cum Laude from Beloit College in Wisconsin. With the degree he earned with a double major in Chemistry and Pre-Med, 21 year old Robert chose to go to medical school at Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville, Missouri. During his time in Missouri, he converted to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and became a life-long member.
To earn money, and to seek adventure, he spent his medical school summers working in Grand Teton National Park at Jenny Lake Lodge and Jackson Lake Lodge. During the summer of 1956 he travelled to Salt Lake City to visit his uncle and met his future wife, Marian Walker. The young sweethearts would faithfully write letters while living apart for the next 4 years and fall in love through the mail.
In 1958, at the age of 25, Robert graduated from medical school and began working 80+ hour work weeks at a hospital in Bay City, Michigan. He soon joined a practice in Dallas, Texas and moved there in 1959. Devoted to Marian all this time, they were finally engaged to be married in1960 with one hitch; they would have to wait until Marian served out her title as the reigning Miss Utah. After 4 long years the young couple finally married for eternity on November 4, 1960 in the Salt Lake Temple.
Single-minded in their desire to start a family, their first child was born within a year and 9 siblings eventually followed. Robert was a hard-working, committed father dedicated to building his growing medical practice while providing for his growing family. Although outnumbered, he spent individual quality time with each of his kids as often as possible. He shared his love for adventure and the great outdoors, and instilled his passion for travel, road-trips, beautiful music, live theater, movies, positive thinking, and healthy living in each of his children. He taught them to love and serve the Lord, and was an unabashed representative of his faith serving as a host on Temple Square and as a Church Service Missionary at UNLV. His 10 children and their families were his pride and joy, second only to his wife of 56 years.
A lifelong lover of music and arts, Robert sang with a beautiful baritone and played many instruments, including piano, banjo, and ukulele, to his children’s delight. He loved singing with his wife and they were members of many performing groups, including the Tall Fours, Jay Welch Chorale, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and the Saints Unified Voices directed by Gladys Knight.
He loved being a doctor and knew at a young age this is what he wanted to do professionally. He was blessed with a brilliant mind and the ability to understand the human body and how to correct disease and illness. He was a caring advocate for and great teacher to his patients, striving to learn more and searching for courageous ways to treat their illnesses. He was a forward thinker and maverick who used many innovative treatments and therapies in his practice. He had a continual thirst for knowledge, reading as many newspapers, books, and magazines as he had time for, even into the final months of his life.
Bob is preceded in death by his wife Marian Marian Vance Obituary, his parents, Ida and Bliss Vance, and his sisters Catherine and Virginia Vance. He is survived by his 5 daughters and 5 sons: Stephanie Thomas, Alison (Lee Allen), Robert (Linda), Jon, James (Krista), Paul (Anna), Catherine “Kitty” (Ian Carter), David (Kristen), Rebecca (Doug Anthony), and Rachel (Josh Munns), 42 grandchildren, and 2 great grandchildren. He is also survived by his brother and sister-in-law Jon and Sylvia Vance.
We will celebrate Bob’s life at a memorial service on Saturday, January 28, 2017 at 11:00AM at the Peace Way LDS Chapel, 9580 Peace Way, Las Vegas, Nevada 89147. Click on the following links to make donations in his honor to the LDS Missionary Fund or to the Ronald McDonald House Charities