Dr. Robert J. Cimis, Sr.
Enfield, N.H. — Dr. Robert J. Cimis, Sr., 75, died Wednesday, June 12, 2013, at home in Enfield with family by his side after a long battle with MDS and Leukemia.
Dr. Cimis was born in 1938 in Newark, N.J. to George and Estelle (Colantuoni). He grew up in northern New Jersey, the second of four brothers in a close-knit extended family. As a boy he loved exploring the Saddle River, fishing and his paper route. Bob attended Holy Trinity high school in Westfield, N.J. and graduated in 1955. He was accepted into the Rutgers School of Pharmacy, graduated in 1960 and began work as a pharmacist before acceptance at Seton Hall College of Medicine.
In medical school he met Sheila Main, a young nursing student, and they married two weeks after his graduation in 1965. Bob and Sheila moved to Boston for two years of internal medicine training at Boston City Hospital where his first son Robert Jr. was born. Dr. Cimis served in the Air Force as a Captain, stationed in Columbus, Ohio where his second son Andrew was born. In 1969, he was accepted as the first gastroenterology fellow at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Clinic as he and Sheila welcomed their third son, Michael. After his fellowship he studied liver disease at Yale under Dr. Gerald Klatskin and returned to Dartmouth in 1972 as the first hepatologist, joining colleagues Drs. Jack McCleery, Maurice Kelly and Thomas Almy in the Gastroenterology section. Dr. Cimis moved his young family to Hartford Vermont and settled into the community and hospital where he would remain for over 40 years.
Dr. Cimis had many passions in life including his family, friends, patients and the medical students he trained. Caring for his patients and training new doctors was a great source of satisfaction and pride. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of medicine, but was also known for his down to earth bedside manner. He was instrumental in bringing modern colonoscopy techniques and training to Dartmouth and followed a variety of hepatology and gastroenterology patients through his career. Dr. Cimis was active in medicine until the summer of 2012 and in later years enjoyed training residents in the endoscopy clinic at the VA Hospital in White River Junction, Vt. He was a legend at the weekly medical morbidity and mortality conference where he shared his wisdom, wit and compassion for patients with several generations of medical students, housestaff and attending physicians. He was a renowned and beloved teacher to the end and will be deeply missed by his colleagues and students.
Dr. Cimis loved his large extended family and welcomed everyone into his home. Dinner at the Cimis house was a favorite time as it combined two of his passions, people and food. This was a time to orate, debate and discuss with his children, their friends, neighbors, colleagues, fishing buddies and extended family. Bob had a great sense of humor and was always generous with advice and guidance. He was an avid outdoorsman and enjoyed bird hunting and particularly loved fly-fishing. This passion has been passed on to many of his children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. He was active in St. Anthony’s parish as a choir member and loved to play the guitar, banjo and harmonica for friends and family. Dr. Cimis enjoyed traveling, visiting his grandchildren, reading and American history; Civil War and World War II in particular.
He is survived by his wife, Sheila of Enfield; sons, Dr. Robert Cimis, Jr., wife, Karen, son, Kyle and stepsons, Michael, Matthew and Ryan, of Chesterfield, N.H.; Andrew Cimis, wife, Michelle, daughter, Lauren and son, Nicholas, of Hillsboro, Ohio; and Michael Cimis, wife, Crista, son, Michael and daughter, Alessandra, of Hartford, Vt.; as well as his brothers, George Cimis of Mahwah, N.J., Eugene Cimis of Bricktown, N.J. and Gerald Cimis of Prattville, Ala.; brother-in-law, Douglas Main, of Basking Ridge, N.J.; and 11 nieces and nephews.
Visiting hours will be at the Knight Funeral Home in White River Jct., Vt. on Monday, June 24 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Anthony’s Church in White River Jct., on Tuesday, June 25 at 11 a.m. Burial will be later in the family plot at the Sacred Hearts of Jesus & Mary Cemetery in Southampton, Long Island.
Condolences may be expressed to Dr. Cimis’ family in an online guestbook at www.knightfuneralhomes.com.
Memorial contributions: Hematology Research fund, c/o Dr. Kenneth Meehan, Section of Hematology; or to the Hepatology Research and Education Fund, c/o Dr. Richard Rothstein. Both are located at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, 1 Medical Center Drive, Lebanon, NH, 03756.