Dr. Robert Melo Melichar ("Dr. Bob") was born on August 8th, 1944 in Caldwell, Kansas to Helen and Melo Melichar. He grew up on a farm with his older sister Melinda and his younger brother Albert in a one-bedroom house with no indoor plumbing. "Bobby" was a straight A student, an athlete, and was president of his senior class. He was also a prize-winning 4-H'er.
At Kansas State University, Bobby was recruited to join the rowing team, He called rowing "crew", "the hardest thing I ever did, but also the most rewarding." He also joined the ROTC and was very proud to serve his country. He eventually earned the rank of Major in the Army.
While In Medical School at the University of Kansas, fellow medical student Dr. Lucinda (Cindy) Farmer caught his eye. His friends discouraged him from asking her out, saying she was way out of his league. Robert was not easily discouraged, and their courtship evolved into 43 years of marriage and three children, Lori, Jodi and Jerry. Robert credited Cindy with increasing his compassion for those in need, for widening his circle of friends to include community leaders from across the city of Tulsa, and with his love of off-the-beaten-path international travel.
After Medical school Dr. Melichar was accepted into the prestigious Parkland Memorial Hospital surgical residency program under one of his most influential mentors, Dr. Thomas Shires. At Parkland, Dr. Melichar met Dr. John Phillips, who became his close friend and business partner. Dr. Melichar was selected to follow Dr. Shires to the University of Washington in Seattle to complete his residency.
Dr. Robert Shepherd and Dr. Harold White welcomed Dr. Melichar to Tulsa as a partner in Surgery, Inc. in 1977. Over his career as a general and vascular surgeon, Dr. Melichar performed more than one-thousand Nissen fundoplication surgeries to cure heartburn-- more than anyone else in the country at the time. This volume was in part facilitated by his early adoption of laparoscopic video surgery. Dr. Melichar was the first surgeon in Oklahoma to operate using this technology, which reduced hospital stays from more than a week to a day or less. He was proud to travel the country teaching the procedure to others.
Dr. Melichar was busy inside and outside of the operating room. He was always available to support his Kansas hometown and the Tulsa community with his time and financial support. He was an active member of Southminster Presbyterian Church, where he served as an elder.
Dr. Melichar relished his role as a father. He told great bedtime stories and had "dad jokes" to spare. He offered a steady supply of sound advice and he always prioritized attending his children's sporting events, plays and other milestones. He gave the best hugs.
Upon his retirement from surgery in 2012, Dr. Melichar continued on in several roles at St. Johns, including as Medical Director, Quality & Safety. In partial-retirement, Dr. Bob (Grandpa, Pops, Grrrr-Bob) spent much of his time traveling to visit his friends and family, including his six grandchildren. He would indulge in his new passion for golf wherever he traveled. Dr. Melichar was very handy around the house and he shared these skills on a trip to help rebuild in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina and on many projects for Rebuilding Tulsa Together. Bob frequently traveled to spend time with his siblings, who he considered to be his best friends.
Bob especially enjoyed spending time with his girlfriend, Janet Field. With Janet, Dr. Bob was able to fulfill one of his retirement goals to travel the world with someone special. Together with their effervescent cocker spaniel Sandi, he and Janet enjoyed hosting weekly dinners for both new and long-time friends in the Inverness community.
Despite a dementia diagnosis in 2019, Dr. Melichar continued to live a full life. He never failed to recognize those near to him and he always expressed his love and compassion to everyone he encountered.
Dr. Melichar is survived by and will be forever missed by his children and their spouses; Lori Gadkari (Sarang), Jodi Melichar (Bappu Balummel), and Jerry Melichar (Nadia); grandchildren Pria, Amita and Arun Gadkari, Kiran Ballumel, Luke and Rose Melichar, siblings Melinda Norton and Albert Melichar, his girlfriend Janet Field and many dear cousins, nieces and nephews.
A memorial will be held at Southminster Presbyterian Church on Saturday, October 21st at 3pm.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Dr.Melichar's name can be made to the Tulsa Day Center (tulsadaycenter.org <http://tulsadaycenter.org>) or Revitalize T-Town (revitalizettown.org <http://revitalizettown.org>)
Arrangements by: Moore Funeral Home, 2570 S. Harvard Ave., Tulsa, OK74114