Robert Buxbaum

  • Died: March 12, 2016
  • Location: Newton, Massachusetts

Eaton & Mackay Funeral Home

465 Centre St
Newton, MA 02458
Tel. (617) 244-2034

Tribute & Message From The Family

Robert Buxbaum died on Saturday, March 12, at age 85, 15 months after his diagnosis of brain cancer. He died as he had wanted, at home, supported by hospice care. Until his illness, Bob was a practicing physician who devoted his long career to preventive and palliative care. He was an activist in public health, taking cutting-edge public policy positions on health for the poor, urban planning for healthier lifestyles, and end-of-life care. He was the son of the late Lillian (Tousman) Madway, and Edwin C. Buxbaum. He graduated in 1952 from Harvard College, and received his MD from the University of Pennsylvania in 1956. He leaves his wife, Ann (Shocket) Buxbaum, and their children: Laura Buxbaum and her husband Brian Dunn; Carl and his wife Dawn Sykes Buxbaum; Paula Buxbaum and her husband Douglas Jones; and Gretchen Nash, as well as seven grandchildren: Jesse Dunn; Isaac, Maia, and Alison Buxbaum; Wylie Jones; and Owen and Nolan Nash. He also leaves his brother Richard and his wife Marjorie, and their daughter and son, Sarah and Peter.
From 1957 to 1959, Bob served in the Public Health Service at San Carlos Apache Reservation in San Carlos, AZ. He completed his medical residency in Madison, WI, and then moved to Newton to serve as one of the first physicians at the Harvard Community Health Plan (later Harvard Vanguard), where he worked for the next 45 years. Later in his career, he focused on end-of-life issues and palliative care, forming a geriatrics and palliative care team with which he continued to practice until he was 84.
He married Ann Shocket in 1955. For the next 60 years they shared their lives, their work, and their enthusiasms. Throughout his life, Bob had many varied passions: His enthusiasm for exploring new ideas and projects did not abate in his older years. He celebrated his 80th birthday by getting a large tattoo--a replica of a Native American design that he loved. When others his age had settled in their rocking chairs, he and Ann were exploring new territory: traveling around Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic on a Russian icebreaker; hiking and kayaking in remote areas in Iceland; and, just before he was diagnosed with his final illness, a walking/hiking trip on six islands in the Azores. Bob was always interested in who you were and what you had to say, and he and Ann regularly welcomed people from near and far into their home. He loved music—to listen and to play; he began playing the oboe at 35 and participated in informal chamber groups until he became ill. Even in his illness, Bob maintained his cheer, his balance, and his strength. He left life as he lived it, with equilibrium and grace, greatly loved by those he left behind.
Donations may be made to Chameleon Arts Ensemble of Boston
Boston Artists Ensemble;
The Trustees of Reservations; or
VNA Care Hospice