Dr. Robert Beach SmallFebruary 14, 1930 ~ September 13, 2017 (age 87)
Dr. Robert Beach Small, age 87, passed away peacefully on September 13, 2017, surrounded by family and friends. He was born during the Depression.. the third of four sons of John Richard and Mary Louise Small in Alliance, Ohio on February 14, 1930.
His father was a consulting metallurgist who fixed problems at steel mills so the family moved frequently. Robert went to seventeen different schools in his twelve years of public education. Having 3 brothers came in handy with the frequent fisticuffs resulting from perennially being the new kid in school. Both Rob and his older brother were boxers. Rob also practiced other martial arts, achieving black belts in Judo and Jujitsu.
At UCLA, Rob pursued a Master’s Degree in Physics before deciding to apply to Medical School. He was accepted at New York Medical College. His internship and OB/GYN Residency as well as a Fellowship in GYN Oncology were all served in the Navy. He left having attained the rank of Commander.
He was discharged and moved to Merced where he set up practice in a trailer surrounded by grazing cattle on the edge of town at the corner of Olive and M St. Patients could see cows peering in the window at them while they were being examined. He delivered babies at Mercy Hospital and County Hospital and occasionally covered for the Base Hospital at Castle Air Force Base. He often spent his entire weekend on call running back and forth between the hospitals. He has delivered many babies…some from three generations of women. The conservative estimate is around 10,000 deliveries. Exercise was always a huge part of Rob’s life. He started running in high school and ran or lifted weights every day thereafter.
When he wasn’t working out, he was working around his property. He was a jack of all trades with skills in plumbing, electrical, carpentry, auto mechanics and farming. He single handedly laid the pavers on his driveway…moving a total of 70 tons of pavers by hand over the course of six weeks.
Music was a part of Robert’s life. His first major in college was Music. His knowledge of classical music is uncanny. If he couldn’t name the exact piece after a few bars, he could name the composer or at least the era. He played the clarinet in his youth and began singing early. St. Luke’s choir and the Merced College Chorale were two of his musical outlets. Robert loved to share experiences with his children…from camping, boating, skiing to Opera and traveling.
His parents, John and Mary Louise Holly Small, brothers, John Holly Small, Edgar Small and David Small and two daughters, Lisa Small and Hanna Zoe Small preceded him in death. He is survived by his wife, Glenda Brinsfield Small; sons, Steven Small (Patricia), Kurt Small (Lydia), Jonathan Small (Kim) and Matthew Small (Catherine); daughters, Laura Small, Kim Small (BV Rao) and Jillian Small-Elms (Ben); grandchildren, Jacqueline Castro, Robert K. Small, Caroline Small, Taylor Small, Zachary Small, Alexandra Small, Meagan Rao, Kiri Rao, Jacob Small, Corbin Elms, Owen Elms; and one great-granddaughter, Valentina Castro.
In lieu of flowers, donations to Hinds Hospice or St. Luke’s Anglican Music Fund would be appreciated.