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Robert N. Ackerly, Jr.

Died: February 14, 1994

Bob Ackerly is remembered as tall, good-looking, well dressed and athletic, but most importantly as a man with a friendly smile and kind word for everyone. Those who knew him best appreciated and accepted his intelligence and his somewhat serious nature, but in no sense was Bob ever morose or overbearing. He had a personal gravity that drew people to him, and it was always a pleasant and delightful experience to be in his company. These same qualities that endeared him to classmates, for a certainty also helped him to become one of the most esteemed practicing medical doctors in the United States and a favorite of all his patients.

Bob was born in Kansas City, Missouri, June 23, 1944, but lived most of his life before Yale in Richmond, Virginia. His father was in the military, retiring as a Colonel. At Yale Bob lived in Davenport College, was a member of Fence Club, majored in philosophy, participated in the Political Union, played rugby, and in his spare time worked for the Student Magazine Agency, becoming training manager his junior year and social manager his senior year.

Following medical school, Bob accepted a residency at UCLA, specializing in treating childhood psychiatric issues, and lived the rest of his life in California. He was introduced to his wife, Judith, who was then a Los Angeles attorney, by Alec Williams, a mutual friend and local judge, and also a Yale graduate.

In 1984 Bob and Judith and their two sons, Nelson and Brien, moved to Rancho Santa Fe, California, near San Diego, where they remained for the rest of Bob’s life. He became the director of the San Luis Rey Psychiatric Hospital, and devoted himself to running the Hospital and caring for his patients until his death in February, 1994. While he was there, the American Psychiatric Association recognized him as among the top one percent of all psychiatrists in the United States.

Bob loved his medical practice. He also loved California, and he especially loved his family. He was athletic and very involved in coaching his sons in their sports activities. The family enjoyed touring through the United States and Europe, taking several trips in an old but efficient VW Vanagon, with Bob approaching every new location with a characteristically academic interest. Bob’s son, Nelson, remembers the family trips fondly and described his father and mother as being perfect parents, noting that Bob had a calming and positive influence on everyone. Nelson also observed that Bob and Judith enjoyed a happy marriage and family life, indeed a blessed life, for which he and his brother have always been thankful.