HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — Robert J. Audet Sr. M.D., 86, died at his home in Hilton Head Island where he retired 20 years ago with his wife of 63 years, Dr. Jeanne Amlicke Audet M.D.
Born Dec. 12, 1923, in Waterbury, Conn., his parents were Charles H. Audet Sr. M.D. and Cora Leah Gauthier Audet. He attended St. Anne's School in Waterbury, College of Montreal, and Loyola in Montreal, Canada, University of Maryland in College Park, and received his doctorate from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Surgery in Baltimore. He completed his residencies in Baltimore and then at Saint Mary's Hospital in Waterbury.
Robert met Jeanne in medical school and persuaded her to come to Waterbury. They were married at St. Anne's Church in 1947. They have four children, Robert J. Audet Jr. M.D., Michelle J. Audet, Elise R. Audet and Charles H. Audet II.
During World War II, he served his country as a physician in the Naval Reserve spending most of his overseas duty in the Pacific area on the USS Passumpsic. After the war, he opened his practice on 3 Second Ave. where his wife, Jeanne Amlicke Audet. M.D, and his brother, Charles H. Audet. Tr. M.D. shared their offices. A rare medical family, there was a time when all the Drs. Audet, "Doc" Charles Sr., Charles Jr. (who died in 1991), Robert Sr., and Jeanne and later Robert Jr. worked at Saint Mary's Hospital.
Dr. Robert enjoyed a very satisfactory and successful 40-year practice in OB-GYN, surgery and family practice (He was a diplomat of the American Academy of Family Practice) until his retirement in 1990. His patients and staff were a loyal and devoted group. Babies that he delivered had their own babies and he had quite a collection of pictures to show for the families of two and three generations.
Having attended schools in Canada, he was fluent in French therefore able to communicate with the large French Canadian population in Waterbury. He established great rapport with humor to put them at ease, and quietly comforted them in times of sorrow.Dr. Robert always maintained that the patient's care came first. Those were the days when house calls were made. Many became friends and kept in touch with him for years.
He was an avid golfer and a member of the Country Club of Waterbury. He won two of the top tournaments including the Arnold Cup and the Husband and Wife Tournament. He also loved to fish. A true fly-casting sportsman for the Quebec Rouge Trout, he had a special ability to cast the fly rod with pinpoint accuracy. His wife, his mother and father, friends and children made many trips to Canada with him. He also traveled to Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. Somehow, he always found golf courses to play. Another side of Dr. Bob was that he learned to fly a plane at Mount Tobe when just a teenager. He often spoke fondly of his adventures in the air.
He and his wife retired to Hilton Head Island, S.C., in 1991. They were immediately active in the founding of the now well-known clinic, Volunteers in Medicine (V.I.M.), inspired by Dr. Jack McConnell; VIM is considered a national health clinic model winning many awards. He joined Dolphin Head Golf Club on Hilton Head Plantation where he also continued to win tournaments and trophies. In retirement, he found time to return to painting and hooking beautiful rugs.
He will be remembered for his quick wit, and love of everything French including music and conversations with his French friends and dancing – especially the waltz. Most of all, he will be remembered for his wonderful diagnostic skills and surgery, learned from his father.
He is survived by his wife, Dr. Jeanne Amlicke Audet, and their four children, his sister, Antoinette (Kiki) Perreault of Jacksonville, Fla., and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his sister, Helen Denise Audet, and his brother, Charles Henry Audet Jr. M.D.
A private burial service was held at Saint Francis by the Sea Church on Hilton Head Island.
Donations may be made to Volunteers in Medicine, Northridge Drive, Hilton Head Island, S.C.; or Hospice Care of the Low Country, 119 Palmetto Way, Bluffton, S.C. 29910.
The Island Funeral Home and Crematory of Hilton Head Island, S.C., is in charge of arrangements.