Requiescant In Pacem
This page is dedicated to all our fallen brother and sister PAs who have gone on to Eternal Rest. For those who wish to have their fellow VAPAA Physician Assistants listed here, please contact the President. Thank you and may they rest in peace!
ROBERT "BOB" KUNATH
VAPAA is very sad to report the passing of Robert (Bob) Kunath who served as VAPAA President from 2008 to 2011.
During Bob's tenure as President, VAPAA accomplished a great deal including the long desired full-time Director of PA Services. After many years of lobbying on Capitol Hill the long-awaited Physician Assistant representation at Central Office was achieved.
Bob took over as President during difficult times for VAPAA with the loss of a standing President of the organization and the 2008 annual conference in jeopardy. Bob reorganized the organization, oversaw the rewrite of the bylaws and re-established the VAPAA Store. Additionally, Bob and his Legislative Committee took on the next big challenges for VA PAs; Pay Disparity, Recruitment and Retention. Thanks to his and many other’s efforts we are seeing the fruits of the hard labor VAPAA puts forth for VA PAs.
Bob was also the Clinical Coordinator of Geriatrics and Extended Care at the Lebanon, PA VAMC prior to his retirement and served as VAPAA Vice President for several years prior to his term as VAPAA President.
Bob continued to support VAPAA after retiring from the VA.
I think Bob would be proud of his accomplishments paving the way forward for VA PAs and caring for Veterans.
Bob Kunath will be missed!
ERNEST PAUL "SKIP" PENDAS
1954 - 2009
Skip passed away peacefully the morning of 28 April 2009 at a hospice care center in Allen, TX after a brief battle with cancer.
For those who did not know him, he was the quintessential southern gentleman. He had a calm demeanor, never knew him to raise his voice, and was always willing to help others. His selfless dedication to his family, patients, and profession was unparalleled. Skip was employed at the Biloxi VA for many years before transferring to the Dallas VA just a few months before his death.
Skip was a long time member of the VA Physician Assistant Association and served as President from 2001 to 2004. He was also active in VAPAA legislative activities and traveled to Washington DC to lobby Congress on PA issues. Skip, along with Murl Dotson, lead the successful effort to obtain PA recognition and authority for PA practice in the state of Mississippi. Skip was a great friend to many and will be missed.
Some of you know that Skip had custody of his brother who had Downs Syndrome and cared for him for years. Skip indicated before his death that he would like those who wish to express their condolences to make donations to their local Downs Syndrome or mental retardation foundations in lieu of flowers.
The family is preparing an obituary for publication and I will pass it along when I receive it.
One of our fellow PAs (Mary Ellen Kiernan) sent me information about Downs Syndrome:
ALAN JOHN "AJ" KENT
On Monday, February 11th 2008 at 4 pm
America lost a hero today.
He was the toughest, yet gentlest soul I have ever met.
There is nobody who ever met him who could ever forget him.
He remembered and lived the adage: “never forget from whence you came.”
He was a great man, yet he never cast a shadow because he was never full of himself.
As I have said, he was many things to many people (all of them good).
BROTHER AND FRIEND!
The earthly world has lost a kind, gentle and loving spirit. The time we had with him was a blessing to us all and this world will be a much darker and lonelier place without him.
But, I guess God needed somebody to help keep the books straight and he was called home today, February 11th, 2008. God’s Corps has gained a great spirit and while we grieve this loss of our loving friend, in his humble and so understated way he would simply say to us all:
Semper Fi, AJ, you will live on in our hearts and our organization forever.
WE LOVE YOU BROTHER!
Frank Kett was a former Air Force medic and a founding member of VAPAA. He was the secretary and newsletter editor for the VAPAA until his untimely death in February 1993. He was, in fact, working late at night on his computer and emailing our own Bob Eshleman, when his light was snuffed out prematurely as a victim of a murder-suicide.
We thank him for many years of dedication to the organization.He will be remembered fondly by those of us who knew him.
Frank Kett - d. 1993
ALFRED D. THORMAN, PA-C 1948 - 2000
Al Thorman, PA-C, a graduate of Cleveland Clinic, worked in civilian practice in Florida and then at Mountain Home (TN) VA and finally here in VA Gainesville, Florida for many years, was president of the Florida academy of PAs inj 1981-82 and again in 1985-86. He was a member of VAPA, moved to Texas, and past away July 26, 2000 of an apparent cardiac arrest at the age of 52 while playing tennis as the Captain of his team. - Phil Irwin
ROBERT SCULLY, PA-C 1935 - 1983
Of note is that there is also a Bob Scully Award presented by the Society of Army PAs for Outstanding Service to the Society.
Eddie Jay Thomas - 2002
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