Robert Owen Coe, M.D., of Virginia, Minnesota, died Monday, April 26th at the age of 86, with his children at his bedside. Owen was a lifelong learner and outdoors enthusiast; always seeking out new information, experiences, and adventures. Like many his age, he started camping, fishing, and hunting in his childhood, later adding canoeing, field training his Labrador retrievers, and working on his tree farm.
He graduated from Williams College (pre-med) and the University of Michigan Ann Arbor (M.D., Internal Medicine) before enlisting in the U.S. Army. He proudly and happily served two hardship tours in Alaska before returning to civilian life to complete his medical residency. Captain Coe was honorably discharged on May 15, 1965.
Owen met and married his wife, Shirley and treasured the lifelong friendships he made during these years. After moving to Virginia, MN, Shirley introduced him to the sport of curling which they both enjoyed for many years. Owen enjoyed practicing medicine in Virginia, and often said that he learned and saw more than he would have if he'd worked in a larger medical system; he served as the President of the East Range Clinics for many years. After retirement, Owen and Shirley explored North America with their trailer, visiting old friends, and enjoying each other's company. After 50 years of marriage, Owen was at Shirley's side in their home when she passed in 2012. He then started wintering in Arizona, riding his 4-wheeler on the mountain trails and making new friends. Owen was an active member of the B.P.O.E. (Elks), and the American Legion.
At the end of his life, he was grateful to be in the care of the University of New Mexico Hospital, whose caring staff did so much for him and his family. Memorial donations can be made in his name to the UNM Cancer Center, the Virginia Elks, the American Legion, or Williams College. You can also honor his memory by taking the free, online Declaration of Independence or U.S. Constitution course at Hillsdale College.
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