Tribute to Dad
Robert Dale Boles MD
August 27, 1922-December 2, 2001

I don’t remember Dad this way, but I think it’s a neat picture. He was in the Navy during WWII.


Dad in the Navy

Dad in the Navy

My father died on December 2nd, 2001. It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years because I can still hear his voice and resounding laughter.  He was a very good, honorable man and father. To him family was the most important thing in the world. He was also a pediatrician in Dodge City, Kansas, so other people’s children were important to him also. I am the oldest of his four kids and my brother David was a year younger than me. David and I were the family screw ups, even though we were both very well educated. We had a way of getting into problems and financial difficulties that Dad was always there to solve.


Christmas  Picture from 1958

Christmas Picture from 1958

One of my Dad’s outstanding features was his huge nose. It had been broken a few times when he was playing football in college. He loved to joke around about his nose, especially with his young patients; kids thought he was the funniest man ever. My father was also a sports fiend. He was a fanatic about the Oklahoma Sooners, where he went to Medical School. This was fine, except when Oklahoma University played Kansas University, where David, Becky & I went to college. Loyalties could get strained between father and children during those athletic events. He was also a hunter, hunting pheasant, duck & deer. I think he took his frustrations out on the animals he hunted.

Dad could often be a very emotional man. We always knew when a child was very sick or had died because he would come walking in the den door with red eyes and a black cloud hovering about him. At those times we knew that he needed to be alone so we would go ahead and eat supper, while he went downstairs to his den in the basement. But he laughed as easily as he cried. He believed in us kids and would stand up for us no matter what.


I love this picture of Dad and David

I love this picture of Dad and David

One of my most prized possessions is a letter I received from Dad in 1991 for my birthday. It started off talking about all the problems that I had caused in my younger years, both financially and for his and Mom’s marriage. When I first started reading it I thought, “Oh shit, what have I done now?” But I continued reading and he went on to tell me how proud he was of all the things I had accomplished; getting and staying sober, overcoming so many handicaps and living with the ones I couldn’t. Becoming employed and living independently etc. He said I was now a woman he liked and respected as well as loved. I was once again his little Beeg, a nickname he gave me as a child.

Speaking of the nickname; when I was in high school I worked at Trinity Hospital part time as a nurses’ aid. Sometimes when Dad would come in to do his rounds, he’d see me and say something like “Hey Beeg, how’s it going?” and we’d talk a little. I didn’t think much of it, but I guess some of the nurses did. Finally one of them asked me why Dad was calling me Bitch! I about died of shock & quickly explained that my full name is Billye Gayle, thus my initials are BG………..Beeg. They and Dad thought mix up was funny.


Dad and Jeff

Dad and Jeff

He was very well respected in Dodge City. People trusted him as a doctor and man. Not only was he a pediatrician, but he often had the role of county coroner, which was hard on him. One of the roles he loved was playing Doc Holiday during the Dodge City Days festivities. The friends of us kids always enjoyed coming to our house because for one thing, Dad was so entertaining and welcoming. They also enjoyed going to Cedar Bluff Lake with us, we had a cabin and boat there.


Dad being Doc  Holiday

Dad being Doc Holiday

I know where Becky and I got our love for travel. Dad was a good traveler too. We had kind of a routine in our family. We’d take a family vacation one year and the next year he and Mom would go to another country and us kids would go to camp while they were gone. I remember some fantastic family vacations going to neat places. We went to a place called Rocking Horse Ranch in Montana a couple of times; it had great horseback riding, hiking in the mountains, fishing etc. We spent time in Florida and Disneyland in California. Dad had as much fun as us kids did at Disneyland, hamming it up with the Disney characters. I also remember going to Washington DC, I must have been around 11 years old because we went to the Smithsonian Institution and saw the huge dinosaur skeleton. I was fascinated by how large it was, but then Dad started acting like a caveman to entertain Jeff & Becky. David & I thought it was funny, but it embarrassed us a little. I also remember going to the World’s Fair in Seattle when I was 13. We traveled with our neighbors, the Swenson’s, and camped out on the drive there. That was an interesting trip because the Swenson’s had four kids also, all boys.

I always loved when they went to foreign counties too. They would come home with great stories, pictures and gifts. I was collecting music boxes back then and they’d usually bring me at least one. I remember fantastic ones from Switzerland, China & Russia.

I also still have a few resentments about a couple of things that happened to Dad. One time he was driving down Wyatt Earp (the main drag in Dodge City) and it was snowing. He suddenly felt like he was going to sneeze. He knew it would rack his whole body, which would make driving on the slick road, in traffic, dangerous. So he quickly turned off onto a side street, sneezed and ran into a parked car. Being the honorable man that he was, he got out of the car and went to the door where the car was parked. When the man answered the door, Dad told him what had happened and the man decked him, giving him a black eye. The other resentment is about a malpractice suit that was filed against him. Dad won the case, but it about did him in while they were going through the legal process. I mean Dad’s life revolved around helping kids; that anyone could insinuate that he hadn’t done everything possible for a child, just flabbergasts me.

Dad retired when he turned 65 and he and Mom moved to Oklahoma. He had bought some land from my aunt & uncle to help them out, and built a house on Waurika Lake. They loved it there, but after a short while Dad started going a little stir crazy. This made him start working part time for the American Indian Bureau. He would travel to different reservations, filling in for doctors that were sick or on vacation. This kept him actively alive. They also took my son, Demian, in when he was having trouble at school and with his Dad & step-mother.

Dad was a great influence in the lives of many people, especially his children and grandchildren. He will be remembered and missed for many years.

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