Robert L. Heath – January 1, 1932/September 7, 2015

Filed under: Obituaries |

heathBob Heath was born in Dallas on New Year’s Day, 1932, as the youngest of Millard and Mary Heath’s four children. The values that became the threads of his life began there: a love of family, a strong sense of faith, and service to the community. A January ’49 graduate of Sunset High School, he served in the Naval Reserve during the Korean War, which sparked a lifelong interest in aviation and solidified his love for country. He began his “on the job” education in the art of managing businesses and people during four years with the Red Onyx Company and five with the Rath Packing Company. In 1960, he became the Executive Director of Goodwill Industries in Jacksonville, Florida, where he led that organization during a period of growth to become a stronger and more active participant in the community. In 1966, he moved back to Dallas to lead Goodwill Industries through a similar period of growth.

In 1969, he joined the Dallas County Medical Society as the Assistant Medical Officer. He assumed the position of Executive Medical Officer of that organization after the retirement of his father, Millard Heath, in 1974. During his tenure, the Medical Society grew from 1600 members to over 6000. More importantly, it developed increased opportunities for physicians to both give back to the community and more actively participate in legislative processes in the area of public health. He retired from the Medical Society in 1996.

While his professional career left a lasting legacy, he found his greatest job and strongest sense of pride in his family. He married his childhood sweetheart, Vanita Dickenson, on June 22, 1951. They provided a loving home to three children: Steve Heath, Kathy Heath Parker, and Lindy Heath Davis, who all still reside in the area, and welcomed into the family daughter-in-law Cathy Cowell Heath and sons-in-law Dale Parker and Taylor Davis. While he had many titles in his career, his favorite was “Papa” to his grandchildren: Ryan and Callan Heath, Ryan’s wife, Corey Shive Heath, Regan and Connor Parker, and Caroline and Riley Cabe. A family that began with vows in the church remained there, as over 60 years as a youth counselor, Sunday school teacher, and choir member attests.

And, oh, could he tell stories!

His philosophy of life could be summed up in the phrase, “Leave it better than you found it”. While he will be missed terribly by those who loved him, by his own measure, his was a life well lived.

A public celebration of that life will be held at 2 pm on Saturday, September 19th at the Dallas County Medical Society. It is located at 140 E. 12th Street, Dallas 75203.

jaynesIn lieu of flowers, the family requests that you consider a donation to the DCMS Foundation or to the Southwest Transplant Foundation, a nonprofit for which Mr. Heath served as a founding board member for more than 20 years. Visit or to make a charitable donation in his honor, or contribute by check to either organization at the following addresses:

Southwest Transplant Foundation: 810 N. Zang Blvd, Dallas, TX 75208

DCMS Foundation: PO Box 4680, Dallas, TX 75208