Dr. Robert H. Rang died at the Daviess County Hospital in Washington, Ind., on June 17, after a short illness. He was 97.
He was born on Oct. 22, 1916 at the Daviess County Hospital to Dr. Arthur and Gladys Rang.
As a child he excelled in school, joined the Boy Scouts and attained the rank of Eagle Scout. He started a paper route at age 10 and held jobs as a golf caddy, construction laborer and trumpet player in a dance band.
In 1934 he graduated from Washington High School with honors. He then attended Indiana University, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in science in 1938, and as a doctor of medicine in 1940. Dr. Rang had two years of post-graduate training at the Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, and a four-year fellowship in general surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
During his fourth year at the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Rang was first assistant to Dr. Charles (Chuck) Mayo. It was at the Mayo Clinic that he met and married Marcella Peterson Rang, a union that later produced five children.
He served as a medical officer in the Army for three years during World War II. He served one year in England before the D-Day invasion. He made a beachhead landing under fire on the second day of the invasion as a medical officer in the combat zone, earning five campaign ribbons.
In February of 1949, Dr. Rang began his private practice in Washington, Ind., with a specialty in general and gynecological surgery, and remained in practice for 43 years, retiring at age 75. He was well known for his excellence and compassionate bedside manner. As a doctor he continually studied and learned the newest and best techniques. He served as chief of surgery at the Daviess County Hospital, president of the Indiana Bone and Joint Club for trauma surgeons and was on the advisory board of the Four County Mental Health Association. He also served as president of the Daviess-Martin County Medical Society and the Second District Medical Association. He was elected as alternate delegate for the American Medical Association and represented Indiana as an acting delegate for two years. After retiring from private practice, he was the county health officer for 15 years, retiring at age 90.
He was a past president of the Washington Community Association, which later became the Washington Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Rang served as a lay minister for 19 years in the Episcopal church at St. John’s in Washington. He had also preached at St. Michael and All Angels Church in Evansville, and at the Community Church at Crane.
In 1988 Dr. Rang received the Sagamore of the Wabash Award from Gov. Robert Orr. The term sagamore was used by American Indian Tribes of the northeastern United States to mean “lesser chief” or “great man” among the tribe to whom the chief could look for wisdom. At the time it was the highest award a governor could give to a private citizen.
He was a member of the BPO Elks, Moose, FOP, American Legion, VFW, Washington Conservation Club, F&A Mason, Scottish Rite and Hadi Temple of the Shrine. He was a member of the Washington Community Theatre and played several singing lead and supporting roles. He was known for his beautiful tenor voice and played the role of Nicodemus for several years in The Promise, a local Easter production, when he was in his 80s.
He was survived by two sons, Dr. James A. Rang and his wife Julie of Newburgh, Ind., and Dr. Stuart Miles and his wife Peggy of Prospect, Ky.; two daughters, Mrs. Elizabeth Rang Holcomb and her husband Lester of Edgartown, and Holly Rang of Ashland City, Tenn.; grandchildren, Jacob Holcomb and his wife Mela, Kate Holcomb, Dr. Alex Rang and his wife Laura, Eric Rang, Madison Miles, Amythest Rang and David Rang; great-grandchildren, Auggie and Hank Rang and a niece and two nephews.
He was predeceased by his parents Dr. Arthur and Gladys Rang; two children, Roberta Carol Rang and John Robert Rang, and a sister, Barbara Rang Schafer.
There was a celebration of life at the family home following interment.