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Dr. Joseph Robert Petranek

Dr. Joseph Robert Petranek, 86, Ipswich River Watershed Associationís generous benefactor, known to all his patients and friends as Dr. Bob, passed away Saturday, January 21, 2012 in his home at Brooksby Village, Peabody.

Born on October 28, 1925 in Kankakee, Illinois, he was the son of the late Joseph L. and Stella (Gregor) Petranek. Enlisted in US Army in 1943, and served with the 342nd infantry in Germany and the Philippines. A graduate of Northwestern Medical School in Chicago, he was an American Cancer Society Fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital and participated in a National Institute of Health Breast Cancer Working Group before coming to Ipswich where he practiced for thirty-five years, retiring from private practice in 1993. 

Dr. Bob built the house that IRWA now calls home, Riverbend, in 1965. He enjoyed his beautiful property, building the formidable stone retaining wall, and did all the tree work on the property by himself, using a clever pulley contraption he put together.  With unending curiosity, he possessed a naturally inquisitive mind and eclectic interests (including dancing, history, architecture, stone buildings, among others), and an abiding love of and concern for our rivers and the environment.

He wanted to ensure that the property he loved would be permanently preserved by an organization that would love and take care of it as he had. He spent several years vetting IRWA before making the biggest and most transformational gift of their thirty-five year history by donating his property to be used as their headquarters.

He enjoyed volunteering as a docent at the Whipple House, Heard House and Sargent House Museums.

He is survived by his daughter, Michelle Petranek, of Dania Beach, Florida and his son, Gregor C. Petranek, of New York City.

His memorial service will be at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, February 12th at Riverbend, 143 County Road, Ipswich. Family and friends are respectfully welcomed. Arrangements are under the direction of the Whittier-Porter Funeral Home of Ipswich. In lieu of flowers and in accordance with his wishes, donations may be made in Dr Bob's memory to the Ipswich River Watershed Association, 143 County Road, Ipswich, MA 01938 (http://ipswichriver.org/)

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