Dr. Robert D. Pokorny, DDS, passed away on Wednesday June 10, 2020 at Brookdale Assisted Living of Hays. He enjoyed a wonderful life for 92 years and was much loved by his family and friends. He was the son of John and Bertha (Kerbs) Gillig of Lacrosse, Kansas, born August 16, 1927. After his father’s early death, Bob and his brother John were raised by his mother and adoptive father William Pokorny.
Bob was a veteran like his father and his brother John. He served in the United States Army during WWII as a Survey and Instrument Ammunitions Specialists during the GI Bill. He earned a WWII Victory Medal and Army of Occupation Medal, Japan. He was an FHSU graduate with majors in Biology, Chemistry and Zoology. He worked at Sunflower Ordinance in Lawrence as a Chemist, until enrolling in UMKC School of Dentistry.
His dental practice spanned almost three decades in Hays. His exam rooms overlooked his collective rock garden where his patients enjoyed the plants and rocks he had landscaped. Bob and his children collected the rocks during family vacations and shared his love of travel and nature.
He was a lifelong member of Rotary Club, VFW, Hays Chamber of Commerce, Hays United Methodist Church, FHSU Alumni, and UMKC School of Dentistry Alumni. Bob was also on the Kansas Dental Board of Examiners. He contributed to Boy Scouts of America, United Way of Ellis County, and to the FHSU nursing scholarship program.
Bob married Alice Weesner in 1956 and they had four children. He was an amazing and loving father to William Pokorny of Hays; Deanna Groen (Fred) of Medfield, MA; Linda McLean (Mark) of Overland Park, KS; and Julia Thornburg (Allen) of Scott City, KS. He always included his brother John’s family; Dolores, John Charles, Ryan, and Jill Pokorny on special occasions.
He was a wonderful Grandpa! He shared his time and wild stories with his six grandchildren, Jake Groen of Singapore; George Groen of Medfield, MA; Kaitlyn Thornburg of Wichita, KS; Megan Thornburg of Prairie Village, KS; Ryan McLean of Green Bay, WI and Annie McLean of Memphis, TN.
Bob married Betty Schwartz in 1987, and he was a great stepdad to her four grown sons and their families: Chan (Connie), Dennis (Kathy), Frank (Nancy) and Jack Schwartz. He also enjoyed being a loveable step-Grandpa to Matthew, Daniel, and Sarah Joy Schwartz.
Bob appreciated everyone and truly sends love to all! He will be greatly missed and fondly remembered by his family, friends, poker buddies and fellow nature lovers!
A celebration of Bob’s life will be at 2:00 pm on Friday, June 19, 2020 at Hays Memorial Chapel Funeral Home, with Rev. Mike Rose officiating. Burial with military honors by the Hays VFW Post #9076 Honor Guard will follow in the LaCrosse City Cemetery. Visitation will be from 1:00 pm until service time on Friday at the chapel. Memorials are suggested to the FHSU nursing scholarship program, in care of the funeral home. Condolences and memories of Bob may be shared with the family at www.haysmemorial.com