Robert Mayo Tenery Jr., M.D., 77, of Dallas, Texas, went to be in the joyous arms of the Lord on Monday, Feb. 3, 2020, after a long battle with cancer.
Rob was born in Manhattan, New York City, at Sloan Hospital, while his father, Dr. Mayo Tenery, was finishing his surgical residency under Dr. Allen Whipple. He was raised in Waxahachie, and set his roots in Dallas. The son and grandson of general surgeons, Rob, known in his childhood as “Robbie, Dr. Mayo’s Boy,” first started making rounds at 5 years old alongside his father at Waxahachie Sanitarium. Robbie worked in the laboratory when he was just 9, and began helping take X-rays at the age of 12.
“Those were my summer jobs; I was always involved in medicine one way or the other. I can’t be more thankful for the influence my father and grandfather had on me.”
Rob received his bachelor’s degree at Franklin & Marshall College in 1964. After his graduation, he returned home to Texas to marry his high school sweetheart, Janet Forrest. They soon moved to Galveston, where he attended medical school at The University of Texas Medical Branch, while Janet taught school at Our Lady of Guadalupe, where they became close friends with Father George Green, OMI, parish priest.
After finishing his rotating internship in 1969 at Parkland Memorial Hospital, Rob and Janet adopted their first child, a son, Robert Mayo Tenery III (Trey). Soon after being drafted, they moved to Fort Benjamin Harrison in Indianapolis, Indiana, where Rob served as a captain in the United States Army, practicing anesthesiology. In 1970, Rob and Janet were blessed with their second child, a daughter, Robyn Jarratt Tenery, whom Rob assisted in delivering during her birth.
In 1971, Rob, Janet, Trey, and Robyn moved back home to Dallas. Rob completed his residency in Ophthalmology at The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in 1974, then completed a Fellowship in Corneal & External Diseases at the Department of Ophthalmology at UTHSC San Antonio. For 46 years, he practiced at Medical City Dallas.
Dr. Tenery served in multiple professional organizations throughout his years of practice and held various distinguished positions, including President of The Dallas Academy of Ophthalmology (1981-82), Chief of Surgery (1980-81) and chief of Staff at Medical City Dallas (1982-83), Delegate of the Texas Delegation to the American Medical Association (1987-93), President of the Dallas Country Medical Society (1988), and President of the Texas Medical Association (1993-94). He also served on the Council of Ethical and Judicial Affairs of The American Medical Association (1993-2000) and was Chairman of the Council from 1997-99. When finishing, he again became a Delegate in the Texas Medical Association to the American Medical Association (2000-03). Rob was President of the Alumni Board of the University Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (1999-2000).
In addition, Rob’s professional honors include:
-G. Frank Webber, M.D. Award (1995)
-Ashbel Smith Distinguished Alumnus Award from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (1996)
-Inaugural Distinguished Alumni Award from the U.T. Southwestern Department of Ophthalmology (2003)
-Max Cole Leadership Award from the Dallas County Medical Society (2003)
-Emeritus Delegate, Texas Medical Association to the American Medical Association (2004)
-Waxahachie High School “Who’s Who” (2005)
-Distinguished Service Award from the Texas Medical Association (2009)
-Outstanding Achievement Award from the Texas Ophthalmological Association (2010)
Dr. Tenery was dedicated to the practice of medicine, having taught as a Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at UT Southwestern Medical School. He believed that giving care to the patient and caring for the patient were both equally important and applicable to every professional in the field. He routinely advocated that bedside manners be a significant portion of lessons to be learned by each upcoming generation of physicians, as he learned from his father and grandfather, then writing the book titled, "Bedside Manners."
Rob enjoyed traveling with Janet and their two dogs, Domino and Tiger, to their home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, as well as their lake house in East Texas. One of his favorite places to visit was his grandmother’s home, Villa Serena, in Washington, Connecticut.
Rob was also a dedicated writer, authoring several books, from autobiographical novels, such as "Dr. Mayo’s Boy: A Century of American Medicine" and "Chasing the Ponytail," to fictional thrillers, such as "Insurrection at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue." He was heavily involved as a political commentator, contributing to the likes of Laura Ingraham among several others, in addition to frequent blog posts on his own website.
Most importantly, Rob was a devout follower of Christ, having been a member and an usher of the Highland Park Presbyterian Church for many years. He and Janet were members of Dr. Jim Smith’s Sunday School Elliott Class, which many greatly miss. Rob loved his family and routinely reminisced of fond memories of his childhood and the times growing up in Waxahachie. His stories also included adventures at Camp Longhorn in its beginnings, of loved ones that have previously departed, and experiences from college, medical school, and as a father to Trey and Robyn. He adored all of his family and was incredibly dedicated to each of them. Another hobby of Rob’s was to interview family members and record their life stories onto DVDs, with images, histories, and music selections, never to be forgotten.
Rob is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, Janet Tenery; their son, Robert Mayo Tenery III and wife, Angela; their daughter, Robyn Tenery Blakeney and husband, Gene; their grandchildren, Mason Edward Tenery, Brooke Simpson Blakeney, Marc Joseph Tenery, and Leigh Tenery Blakeney; his sister, Susan Tenery Carter and her husband, Peter R. Carter, M.D.; nephews, Rich Carter and Ben Carter, and their families. Along with Rob’s service as an anesthesiologist in the U.S. Army, his grandfather and father were surgeons in World War I and World War II, respectively, and his father-in-law, Joe Jarratt, Jr., served in the Marines in World War II.
Rob is preceded in death by his father, Robert Mayo Tenery, M.D., and mother, Barbara Nell Tenery; grandfather, W.C. Tenery, M.D., and grandmother, Leona Cantrell Tenery; grandmother, Virginia Nell Dorr and grandfather, Thomas A. Koons.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, Feb. 28 at 4 p.m. in the sanctuary at Highland Park Presbyterian Church, 3821 University Blvd, Dallas, TX 75205. Valet will be provided.
In lieu of flowers, please consider memorial contributions to:
Highland Park Presbyterian Church https://www.hppres.org/give
The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Simmons Oncology Center: https://engage.utsouthwestern.edu/donate-now
Texas Medical Association Foundation: https://tmaf.ejoinme.org/donate