The Washington Times-Herald
---- — Dr. Robert H. Rang, age 97, of Washington, passed from this world into eternal life with God at the Daviess Community Hospital on Tuesday after a short illness. He was born Oct. 22, 1916, at the Daviess County Hospital, Washington, to Dr. Arthur and Gladys Rang. As a child he excelled in school, joined the Boy Scouts and attained the rank of Eagle Scout. He started a paper route at age 10 and held jobs as a golf caddy, construction laborer, and trumpet player in a dance band. In 1934 he graduated from Washington High School with honors. He then attended Indiana University, graduating with a B.S. in science in 1938 and a Doctor of Medicine in 1940. Dr. Rang had two years of post-graduate training at the Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis and a four year fellowship in general surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. During his fourth year at the Mayo Clinic, Dr. Rang was first assistant to Dr. Charles “Chuck” Mayo. It was at the Mayo Clinic that Dr. Rang met and married Marcella Peterson Rang, a union that later produced five children.
Dr. Rang served as a medical officer in the Army for three years during the Second World War. He served one year in England before the D-Day Invasion. He made a beach head landing under fire on the second day of the invasion as a medical officer in the combat zone, earning five campaign ribbons.
In February of 1949, Dr. Rang began his private practice in Washington, with a specialty in general and gynecological surgery and remained in practice for 43 years, retiring at age 75. He was well-known for his excellence and compassionate bedside manner. As a doctor he continually studied and learned the newest and best techniques. He served as chief of surgery at the Daviess County Hospital, president of the Indiana Bone and Joint Club for trauma surgeons and was on the advisory board of the Four County Mental Health Association. Dr. Rang also served as president of the Daviess-Martin County Medical Society and the Second District Medical Association. He was elected as alternate delegate for the American Medical Association and represented Indiana as an acting delegate for two years. After retiring from private practice Dr. Rang was the County Health Officer for 15 years, retiring at age 90.
He was a past president of the Washington Community Association which later became the Washington Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Rang served as a lay minister for 19 years in the Episcopal Church at St. John’s in Washington. He had also preached at St. Michael and All Angels Church in Evansville and the Community Church at Crane.
In 1988 Dr. Rang received the Sagamore of the Wabash Award from Governor Robert Orr. The term ‘sagamore’ was used by American Indian tribes of the Northeastern United States to mean ‘lesser chief’ or ‘great man’ among the tribe to whom the chief could look for wisdom. At the time it was the highest award a governor could give to a private citizen.
Dr. Rang was a member of the BPO Elks, Moose, FOP, American Legion, VFW, Washington Conservation Club, F&A Mason, Scottish Rite and Hadi Temple of the Shrine. He was a member of the Washington Community Theater and played several singing leading and supporting roles. He was known for his beautiful tenor voice and played the role of Nicodemus for several years in “The Promise,” a local Easter production of churches when he was in his eighties.
He is survived by two sons, Dr. James A. (Julie) Rang of Newburgh, Dr. Stuart (Peggy) Miles of Prospect, Kentucky; two daughters, Mrs. Elizabeth (Lester) Rang Holcomb of Edgartown, Massachusetts, Holly Rang of Ashland City, Tennessee; grandchildren, Jacob (Mela) Holcomb of Honolulu, Hawaii, Kate Holcomb of New Orleans, Louisiana, Dr. Alex (Laura) Rang of Evansville, Eric Rang of Evansville, Madison Miles of Prospect, Amythest Rang of Ashland City, David Rang of Ashland City; great-grandchildren, Auggie and Hank Rang of Evansville; and a niece and two nephews.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Dr. Arthur and Gladys Rang; two children, Roberta Carol Rang and John Robert Rang; and a sister, Barbara Rang Schafer.
Visitation will be a Gill’s Funeral Home from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday. Service will be at St. John’s Episcopal Church at 11:30 a.m. Monday, the Rev. Dennis Latta officiating, with visitation beginning at 10:30 a.m. at the church. Rite of Burial will follow at St. John’s Cemetery. There will be a Celebration of Life at the family home after the burial.