2006.06.30: June 30, 2006: Headlines: COS - Kenya: Obituaries: Sacramento Bee: Kenya Peace Corps Physician Frederick J. Sobeck dies

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Kenya: The Peace Corps in Kenya: 2006.06.30: June 30, 2006: Headlines: COS - Kenya: Obituaries: Sacramento Bee: Kenya Peace Corps Physician Frederick J. Sobeck dies

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Kenya Peace Corps Physician Frederick J. Sobeck dies

Kenya Peace Corps Physician Frederick J. Sobeck dies

During a 40-year practice, Dr. Sobeck was founding president of the Yolo chapter of the American Academy of General Practice and president of the Yolo County Medical Society. In addition, he took a two-year sabbatical to work as a Peace Corps doctor in Kenya and volunteered on a hospital ship in Ecuador.

Kenya Peace Corps Physician Frederick J. Sobeck dies

Obituary: Doctor served Davis for decades
By Robert D. Dávila -- Bee Staff Writer

Published 12:01 am PDT Friday, June 30, 2006
Story appeared in Metro section, Page B4

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Dr. Frederick J. Sobeck, a Davis civic leader and longtime physician who joined a handful of doctors serving the small Yolo County town nearly a half-century ago, has died at age 79.

He died June 20 at his Davis home of prostate cancer, which he battled for 12 years, said his wife, Charlotte Hine Sobeck.

Davis had about 8,000 residents and a half-dozen physicians when Dr. Sobeck began his practice in 1957, said Dr. James Kennedy, who arrived a year earlier. He joined other general practice doctors who made house calls, delivered babies and provided other care for families in a community with few specialists.

"He was very well regarded," said Kennedy, a retired colleague and friend. "He really stuck to the job and worked hard at it and stuck to Davis."

During a 40-year practice, Dr. Sobeck was founding president of the Yolo chapter of the American Academy of General Practice and president of the Yolo County Medical Society. In addition, he took a two-year sabbatical to work as a Peace Corps doctor in Kenya and volunteered on a hospital ship in Ecuador.

He also was active in civic affairs, serving on the city Planning Commission and the Yolo County grand jury. In 1972, he was elected to the Davis Joint Unified School District board and served two years as chairman. He was a co-founder and director of Bank of Woodland, which later was acquired by U.S. Bank.

His career followed a path set by his mother's family in Pennsylvania, where he was raised from infancy in an extended household after his father died in an industrial accident, his wife said. His mother's father and brothers were doctors, and his Swiss immigrant grandfather also served on the local school board.

"They were family traditions, and they were very strong traditions," his wife said.

Born an only child in 1927 in Pittsburgh, Dr. Sobeck graduated from high school in 1945 and served briefly in the Navy before enrolling as a pre-med student at the University of Pittsburgh. When his mother became a school superintendent in Hanford, he transferred to the University of California, Berkeley, and graduated in 1950.

He earned a medical degree in 1953 from UC San Francisco, where he completed an internship and residency in general medicine before relocating to join Davis Medical Group. As a longtime physician in a small town, he treated generations of families and knew many people in the community, his wife said. He retired in 1997.

Besides his practice in Davis, he was proud of his medical contributions to needy communities around the world. In 1964, he volunteered for two months on a hospital ship docked in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where he treated residents in shoreside clinics.

"The important thing about this project is not its ability to cure people as much as to have some lasting effect in the training of local people to help themselves," he told The Bee before leaving for South America.

In 1968, Dr. Sobeck moved his family with five children to Kenya, where he served as a doctor for Peace Corps volunteers. During a two-year stay, he traveled and opened immunization clinics in remote areas, his wife said.

His adventure was inspired by the sense of optimism and social change that prevailed in the 1960s, when President Kennedy launched the Peace Corps and encouraged young Americans to volunteer, his wife said.

"It was in the papers a lot," she said. "He was just taken with the program and said, 'This is something I want to do.' "

Dr. Frederick J. Sobeck
Born: Feb. 7, 1927
Died: June 20, 2006
Remembered for: Longtime Davis physician and civic leader; served on city Planning Commission and Davis Joint Unified School District board; physician volunteer in Ecuador and Peace Corps doctor in Kenya
Survived by: Wife, Charlotte Hine Sobeck of Davis; daughters, Eileen Sobeck of Washington, D.C., Norah Sobeck of Corvallis, Ore., and Ruth Sobeck of Southern California; sons, Charles Koenig Sobeck of Santa Clara and David Frederick Sobeck of San Francisco; stepdaughter, Karen Cordelia Johnston of Mammoth Lakes; stepson, David Jay Musker of Roseville; and two grandchildren
Memorial service: 11 a.m. July 7 at Episcopal Church of St. Martin, 640 Hawthorne Lane, Davis
Remembrances: In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Yolo Hospice, P.O. Box 1014, Davis, CA 95617.

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Story Source: Sacramento Bee

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