Dr. Robert Joseph Francis Bucci

Published 11:18 am Wednesday, January 19, 2011

CANYON LAKE, Texas — Dr. Robert Joseph Francis Bucci, M.D., of Canyon Lake, Texas, 86, passed away at his Canyon Lake home on Jan. 16, 2011, following a stroke. He was surrounded by family.

Bob (Bobby to his friends) was born Jan. 24, 1924, in Vicksburg to Christine Cavallo Bucci and Andrew Bucci Sr. Bob grew up in Vicksburg with his older brothers, Don R. Bucci and Andrew A. Bucci Jr. His father was a tailor and owner of Bucci Bros. Tailor Store. Bob was taught by the Brothers of the Sacred Heart at St. Aloysius Catholic schools in Vicksburg and attended college at Millsaps College in Jackson from 1941 to 1943, studying pre-medicine.

Upon the outbreak of World War II, Bob tried to enlist in the military with his brothers, but was turned down due to a heart condition. He was later drafted and served under Gen. George Patton as a medic, assigned to a Sherman tank in the 46th Tank Battalion, 13th Armored Division, in the ETO (European Theater of Operations). He was truly affected by the war and never forgot his lost comrades.

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After being honorably discharged from the military in 1946, he attended the University of Mississippi and received an associate’s degree in medical studies in 1950. He was accepted at Baylor University College of Medicine and graduated in 1952 and was licensed by the State of Mississippi in the same year. His internship and residency were spent at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Houston, Texas, from 1953 to 1957. He received his Texas medical license in 1958. He was board certified in anatomical pathology in 1957 and in clinical pathology in 1960.

After teaching at Baylor College of Medicine for one year, he became staff pathologist at Heights Hospital, Houston, Texas, from 1958 until his retirement in 1985. Bob was a pioneer in the use of automatic laboratory equipment and stayed on the cutting edge of technology in the medical field. He started Diagnostic Laboratories to serve the medical community in Houston and nearby cities. Bob was an Emeritus Fellow of the College of American Pathologists and a Fellow of the American Society of Clinical Pathologists.

At St. Joseph’s Hospital, he met his beloved, Joan Mary Ahrendt, and they married in Blue Island, Ill., on July 2, 1955. They settled in Houston, ultimately raising eight children. Following Bob’s retirement, they moved to Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. They returned to their cottage in the Texas hill country at Canyon Lake in 1991. There, Bob was always ready to entertain guests with his collection of favorite music and a “no pain” mai tai. He was happy at the lake and cherished his many wonderful years together with Joan.

Bob had a lifelong fascination with medicine, cars, travel and entomology, with a large bug collection. He valued higher learning and saw that all eight of his children attended college. Bob and Joan traveled extensively throughout the world and made friends as far away as New Zealand. He always said that travel was the best education and managed to take his whole family on trips to the Orient and Brazil.

Bob and Joan were faithful members of St. Thomas Catholic Church in Canyon Lake. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus Council No. 7347.

Bob is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, Joan Mary Ahrendt Bucci; their children, Luke R. Bucci and wife Naniece, Laura Bucci Hardt and husband David, Helen Bucci Schutz and husband James, Beth Bucci Reynolds and husband Ben, Drew A. Bucci and wife Jackie, Eric C. Bucci and wife Sylvie, Zachary E. Bucci and Lydia Dobbins, and Ben B. Bucci and fiancée Dana Burkhalter. His grandchildren include Ben Reynolds IV, Derek Schutz, Christina Schutz Baxter, Joan Hardt, David Henry Hardt, Kayleigh Bucci, Andrew Bucci, Brittney Morgan and Kara Burge. Bob is also survived by older brother Andrew A. Bucci Jr. of Fort Washington, Md., and first cousin, Marie Pantoliano of Vicksburg.

A visitation will be held on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2011, from 5 until 8 p.m. with a Rosary to be recited at 7 p.m. at the Doeppenschmidt Funeral Home, located at 1071 FM 2673 in Sattler, Texas. The funeral Mass will be on Friday, Jan. 21, 2011, at 10 a.m. at St. Thomas Catholic Church, located at 180 St. Thomas Drive, Canyon Lake, Texas. A private entombment for immediate family will follow at the Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the St. Thomas Catholic Church Knights of Columbus in Canyon Lake, Texas, or to Hope Hospice in New Braunfels, Texas.