Robert D. Wakefield M.D.

AUBURN – Robert D. Wakefield M.D., 99, of West Auburn Road, Auburn, Maine, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by family on Sunday, May 31, 2020.

He was born on July 7, 1920, in Camp Dix, N.J., son of the late Harold F. Wakefield and Ida M. (Fisher) Wakefield and brother of the late H. P. Wakefield M.D., and Richard R. Wakefield. Raised in Burlington, Vt., he was a graduate of Cathedral High School, the University of Vermont, where he was member of Sigma Nu fraternity, and the University of Vermont College of Medicine. Beginning military service in 1945, he was an assistant ward officer in orthopedics at Tilton General Hospital, Camp Dix, N.J., attended Military Field Service School, Carlisle Barracks, Pa., and was assigned to the Separation Center, Camp Fannin in Texas as a medical examiner. Ordered to the European theatre in 1946, he served as a battalion surgeon for the 14th Infantry before reassignment to the 26th Infantry Regiment’s Medical Detachment in Nuremberg, Germany. He attended sessions of the Nuremberg trials, as his regiment was responsible for security during the trials. Returning stateside following discharge in 1947 as a captain, he continued his service in the U.S. Army Reserves as a medical officer, retiring in 1968 as a lieutenant colonel.Dr. Wakefield did his internship at St Francis Hospital, Hartford, Conn., followed by residencies at Boston City Hospital, Worcester City Hospital and Hahnemann Hospital in Worcester, Mass., and Montana Deaconess Hospital in Great Falls, Mont.

In 1948 he married Mary A. Mack, a nursing school graduate he met in medical school, who predeceased him in 2010. He practiced medicine in Boston, and Great Falls, Mont., eventually settling with his family in Auburn. He was a pathologist at Central Maine General Hospital (now CMMC) and later chief pathologist at St. Mary’s Hospital, where he was instrumental in establishing the hospital lab and a training program for lab technicians. He also served as medical examiner for the State of Maine.A voracious reader since childhood, he was interested in a diverse range of subjects and had a keen grasp of history, with a special interest in naval and military history and the Civil War. Lake Champlain, a central part of Wakefield family history, was an essential element in his life. He explored its shores as a child and during high school and college, was a crew member on the Ticonderoga, one of the last remaining side-paddle-wheel passenger steamers on the lake, an experience that provided fond memories and fascinating stories. He possessed an enduring interest in the world and the lifelong pursuit of knowledge, a love of nature, and a passion for sailing, skiing, and tennis. A quietly loving and supportive presence in the lives of his children and grandchildren, he will be forever remembered.

He is survived by his six children: Robert D. Wakefield Jr. of Sudbury, Mass.; Deborah J. Wakefield and her husband, Robert W. Coakley, of Portland; Sarah A. Wakefield of Auburn; John M. Wakefield and his wife, Katherine, of Albuquerque, N.M.; Martha Wakefield and her husband, Pip Shepley, of Belmont, Mass.; and Michael H. Wakefield of Auburn. He was the cherished grandfather of Robbie and Lesly Wakefield; Molly, John, and Katherine Coakley; Erin, Jake, and Trevor Kenealy; Kaitlyn and Ethan Wakefield; and Christine Wakefield; and the great grandfather of Zen and Rawryn Wakefield and Jackson Kenealy. Burial and a memorial service will be held later at Lakeview Cemetery in Burlington, Vt.

To share a memory or leave a message of condolence with the Wakefield family, please visit Dr. Wakefield’s online guest book at thefortingroupauburn.com.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in his memory may be made to the

Lake Champlain Maritime Museum

4472 Basin Harbor Road

Vergennes, VT 05491

or online at lcmm.org

 

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