Rotary Minute: Bob Yowell

BobYowellIf you want to really appreciate how big a number a thousand is, stuff and lick a thousand envelopes. Dr. Robert K. Yowell, gave us a lot of numbers in his Rotary Minute, but there was one that I kept thinking about. He’s delivered over 5,000 babies. For someone who has never witnessed the birth of even a kitten, that was impressive.

But even a number that large doesn’t totally capture the breadth of the accomplishment. I may not have ever witnessed a birth but I’ve been exposed enough to what precedes them and what follows to have an appreciation for the task. Take any 5,000 births and you’ll get a percentage that require an heroic effort on everyone’s part; some end up tragically, some are early, some are late, some have experienced parents, some parents are children themselves. My bet is that Bob had the mechanics of delivery down before the first hundred births, but I can’t imagine how much that broader experience of dealing with all those raging hormones over the years benefited each successive generation of mothers that came to him.

Bob shared some other numbers too that prove that point. But not all his accomplishments are purely medical. He met a beautiful nurse named Barbara in medical school at Duke that he is still married to. He served in the Navy on a ship that was part of the blockade of Cuba (how old is this guy?)  He ran in both the Marine Corps and Boston Marathons, played 18 holes of golf with Perry Como (old). Bob fathered 4 children, one who tragically died at three and a half years old. The other three are successful in their own rights.

Although he did his under-graduate work at UNC Bob’s blood is now true Duke Blue and his name is on walls all over the Duke Campus and Medical Center. Among them, the Yowell family holds seven Duke Degrees.

One number that he didn’t mention was what he has contributed to the Rotary Foundation. I don’t know what it is but I know that it’s beyond the level that you merely get a pin.

So, with all these accomplishments, what does Bob bring for “Show and Tell?”  A Captain Marvel comic book published during World War II. Our Captain Marvel fan created an award winning slogan for a Captain Marvel bond sales campaign, beating out 25,000 other contestants, all of whom, we presume, are also still trailing him in number of deliveries. Marvel

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