Our Dad, Grandpa, Grandpa-Great, Son, Brother and loving Husband returned to his heavenly home Saturday, March 12, 2022. Bob was surrounded by his four children on earth and reunited with his sweetheart, Lee Anna, in heaven. We imagine Mom and Dad’s reunion was as wonderful as their life-long love story. They have adored each other since the age of 15, and now continue their sweet romance forever.
The family sincerely thanks Lindsay Cox for her tender care and compassion as Bob and Lee’s nurse in the last years of their life.
Robert William Yates “Bob” was born on October 9, 1934 to George Isaac and Mary Marie Newbould Yates in Salt Lake City, Utah. He was affectionately nicknamed “Buzz” by his mother, by which he was known by all who loved him. He grew up near downtown Salt Lake City with athletics as a major part of his youth. Bob attended Longfellow Elementary and Bryant Jr. High, then graduated from West High School. While in middle school, he met “my one and only life-time girl, wife and eternal companion, Lee Anna Birrell.”
In 1952, Bob entered the University of Utah on a track and field scholarship. He set several conference records, one of which remains unchallenged in the low hurdles in, what was then, the Skyline Conference and the Intermountain AAU. While attending the “U” he majored in pre-dental and in 1955 was accepted into the University of California at San Francisco Dental School.
On June 21, 1955 Bob and Lee were sealed the Salt Lake Temple in fulfillment of a promise he made to her when they were teenagers. Being married in the temple was of utmost importance to them as they began their forever family. They spent their honeymoon at the NCAA track meet in the L.A. Coliseum in which Bob competed.
Bob and Lee took up residency in San Francisco where Bob prepared for his lifetime work in dentistry. While there, two of his children, Wendy and Todd were born.
In 1959, having earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree, Bob enlisted in and accepted an internship at Madigan US Army Hospital in Washington State. At the completion of this internship, he was transferred to Vint Hill, a US Army security post in the Virginia countryside near Washington D.C. While Bob served as Post Army Surgeon, Lee served as Post Officers Wives President. During his assignment he was able to establish a rather “nice clinic” on this very small Post. Many other US Officers not assigned to Vint Hill, including what Bob referred to as “the Brass,” heard about his unique clinic and traveled from D.C. to the foothills of Virginia to receive their dental work. For his work, generosity and dedication, he was awarded the honorable Army Commendation Medal a short time after his discharge.
As his service came to a close, he and Lee returned to Salt Lake City where he began his private dental practice. Bob and Lee welcomed their third child, Jeff and later, their fourth, Troy. Bob loved being a dentist and established a thriving practice. He enjoyed his associations with his long time, loyal patients and colleagues. Years later, his son Troy joined him in the practice and they enjoyed working together until his retirement.
In 1965 Bob and Lee began taking their small family to Lake Powell. Their love for the lake and boating became a family tradition carried on throughout their years. As spouses, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren came into the family, they continued making memories at Lake Powell. Under the starry skies, they spoke of life, of our Father’s eternal plan, and how each member held an important place in the family.
Bob was a valiant member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He served in many callings and capacities in the church, including the Bishopric, Elders Quorum presidency, Sunday School presidency, High Priest group leader, Seventies president, Young Men’s President, Priesthood Advisor, Explorer Advisor, Activities Chair, and Home Teacher. Bob and Lee served together as Church Service missionaries at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. Bob had a steady and unwavering testimony of our Father in Heaven and His Son, Jesus Christ. He often shared his testimony with us: “The Gospel has been the foundation for the happiness in our lives and I bear witness that our Father in Heaven has much more joy in store for each of us as we try to live the commandments. The Gospel is true. Joseph is the prophet of the restoration. The Savior does live; he died for each of us so that we might live with him again.”
Bob had so many accomplishments and accolades throughout his life, but in his humble demeanor, he always rooted for the underdog and celebrated the accomplishments of others. His greatest pride and joy came from his four children and their spouses: Wendy and Stephen, Todd and Dayna, Jeff and Shannon, and Troy and Darcy. Grandpa Bob loved his 16 grand children and each knew how important they were to him. He adored his 30 great-grandchildren. Bob and Lee’s favorite days were spent making memories together as a family. He enjoyed fishing in Alaska with his boys, biking through Sun Valley, running rapids down the Colorado river, traveling the world with friends, cheering on grandkids from the bleachers and sunny days spent on the golf course.
Bob is preceded in death by his sweet bride Lee Anna, his mother Mary, his father George, and his sister Ruth (Tiny).
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, March 19, 2022, 11:00 am at Larkin Sunset Lawn, 2350 East 1300 South, Salt Lake City, Utah 84108. A viewing will be held from 9:30 am - 10:45 am prior to the funeral services. Interment at Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park.
Recording of the funeral service can be found at:
1) You must have your own personal Zoom account. If you do not have one, you will need to set up a free account.
2) Login to your personal Zoom account
3) Go to https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87379235329