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Dr. Robert Carver Bone

Dr. Robert Carver Bone

April 1, 1936    –    March 11, 2024

Robert Carver Bone, the first of three sons, was born April 1, 1936, to Sam Stratton Bone and Margaret Talley Bone.  Robert grew up in Lebanon, where he attended McClain School and Lebanon High School, graduating as Valedictorian in 1954.  He attended Vanderbilt University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and graduated magna cum laude.   Following his undergraduate work, he earned his medical degree in 1962 from Vanderbilt School of Medicine.  He later received his MBA from Vanderbilt Owen School of Business in 1985.

Upon graduating medical school, he chose to take a year off before deciding on a specialty and completing a residency.  And what a year that was!  He accepted an aunt’s invitation to accompany her on a trip around the world.  Not only did he visit and see places others dream about, but he also used the opportunity to visit with leading medical practitioners at nutritional centers in other nations, learning much that would help him throughout his medical practice.

In 1963, he began an internship at “Old” Stanford Hospital in San Francisco.  Upon completion of his internship, he returned to Lebanon and joined the practice of his longtime friend and mentor, Dr. Charles T. Lowe.  This was a practice of not only pediatrics, but other areas of general medicine and obstetrics.  After this experience, he returned to Vanderbilt to complete a residency in pediatrics.

During the time spent with Dr.  Lowe, the idea of Lebanon needing a new hospital was born.  He recalled Dr.  Lowe saying, “Son, pediatricians don’t build hospitals, surgeons do.”  So off he went to the University of Florida to complete a residency in general surgery.  It was there that he rekindled a friendship with his childhood friend, Dr. Walter Smithwick, convincing him to join in this new Lebanon hospital venture.  Returning home and becoming Lebanon’s first physician certified in two specialties, he gathered the best team of physicians and business leaders from the community and the journey began.

After several years of hard work, University Medical Center, a 65-bed, private, nonprofit hospital, opened its doors on April 1, 1979.   Over the years, this hospital has played a vital role in not only offering quality healthcare but providing thousands of jobs to residents of Wilson and surrounding counties.   Today this hospital is the 245-bed Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital and there wasn’t a happier man anywhere around when this affiliation with his alma mater came to fruition.

Known by his colleagues and patients for his genteel manners, kindness, professionalism and great bedside manner, Dr.  Bone received many awards and recognitions over the years.  Two of the most prestigious include being named a 2014 recipient of the Nashville Business Journal’s Healthcare Hero Award in the area of Community Leader.   In 2016, he was recognized by the United Neighborhood Health Services for the role he played in helping bring government funded healthcare centers to several low income, underserved areas in middle Tennessee.

Robert was a lifelong member of Lebanon’s First Presbyterian Church, having served over the years as both deacon and elder.

He served his country over 30 years in the U.S. Army Reserve and Tennessee Air National Guard, retiring with the rank of Colonel.

His ties and devotion to Cumberland University were unsurpassed, having been a member of the Board of Trust for 60 years, twenty of these years as Chairman of the Board and subsequently as Chairman Emeritus.   With Jeanette Rudy, he co-founded the Bachelor of Science Nursing program, one of the best in the state.

In keeping with the Bone family tradition, since 1964, Robert was an incredibly faithful member of both Lebanon Rotary clubs, the original Noon Club and later the Breakfast Club.  He was a Paul Harris Fellow and in 2017 was the recipient of the Bernie Bass Community Service award presented by the Breakfast Club.

Regardless of the many accomplishments in the medical field, academia and civic areas, Robert’s greatest area of pride and devotion was to his family.  He is survived by his wife of over 30 years, Connie Lape Bone; son, Robert Carver Bone II; daughter, Bonnie Lesley (Kelly) Ramage; step-daughters, Ann Choomack and Kate Choomack; grandchildren, Ava Bone, Wyatt Ramage and Nick Ramage; brother, Sam Stratton (Marty) Bone; sister-in-law, Patricia Bone; niece, Suanne Bone; nephews, Hal (Tracy) Bone and Doug (Laura) Bone; and several great nieces, nephews, cousins and close friends.  He was preceded in death by his parents Sam Stratton Bone, Sr. and Margaret Talley Bone and his brother Harold Gordon Bone.

Thank you to all of the physicians, nurses and caregivers who attended to Robert at the end of his life.

In lieu of flowers, please consider honoring Dr. Bone’s memory by supporting the Robert C. Bone Endowed Scholarship.  This scholarship supports nursing at the Jeanette C. Rudy School of Nursing and Health Professions at Cumberland University. Visit https://raisedonors.com/cumberlanduniversity/give-beyond-at-cumberland-university and select the designation Dr. Robert Carver Bone Endowed Scholarship.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, March 16, 2024, at 11 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 304 West Main Street, Lebanon, with Rev. Gary DeLong and Rev. Guy Griffith officiating.  Interment with military honors will be in Cedar Grove Cemetery.  Visitation with the family will be Friday 1-7 p.m. at Ligon & Bobo Funeral Home and Saturday one hour prior to the service at the church.

Active Pallbearers:  Robert Carver Bone II, Wyatt Ramage, Doug Bone, Hal Bone, Mitchell Bone and Paine Bone.

Honorary Pallbearers:  Stratton and Marty Bone, Nick Ramage, Ava Bone, Patricia Bone, Suanne Bone, Tracy Bone, W.P. Bone, Tom Keifer, Pam Tomlinson, Cumberland University Board of Trust, Lebanon Noon Rotary Club and Lebanon Breakfast Rotary Club.

LIGON & BOBO FUNERAL HOME in charge of arrangements (615) 444-2142


Messages for the Family

  1. Anne Donnell says:
    Always a gentleman, always thoughtful and kind
    • Crystal Gail Dockery says:
      R.i.p. to the the most amazing gentleman known. It was an honor to care for him, it was meant to cross paths with this man and his family. I will continue to do what he wanted me to do. My heart aches for his family. I feel in love with him from day one of his knowledge and his warm caring heart as well the love for his wife she is so caring and sweet hearted.
  2. Elizabeth Ann Rhoton says:
    It’s was a honor to have a great special friend/doctor in my life
  3. Elaine Mount says:
    Sad to lose one of the best!
    Dr Bone was my doctor for years. I never left his office wondering about his diagnosis. I trusted him completely. It was always a joy to see him walking in the park and he always took time to stop and chat a few minutes! My heart feels sad. Dr Bone will be greatly missed as all the Bone men are!
    God bless this wonderful family.
  4. Lynn Winfree says:
    Dr.Bone was one of the sweetest doctors and very smart. He always had time to stop and talk to you when you saw him. He will be missed.
  5. Royce jackson says:
    I had the pleasure of knowing the entire family. Lebanon was so lucky to have Dr. Bone as a doctor and a friend.
  6. Kristy Lawfer says:
    I am truly honored to have known this man for just a short year. He is, and will always be, the best man I’ve ever known.
  7. Tommy Lowe says:
    Dr. Bone was one of a card. He was great be greatly missed. My personal experiences with him took me through backing business MEDICAL care and a great friend. It was one of the factors that made Wilson County what it is. I’m sorry I won’t be there but the family knows That I feel a great loss Tommy Lowe
    • Anne Houston RN says:
      I worked with Dr Bone many years as a surgical nurse . He was always a gentle caring man . I laugh every time I remember him because he called me St. Anne . He always made a he people who worked with him feel needed . I will miss him.
  8. Constance Flanigan Tyndall says:
    Robert was my first cousin and I loved him dearly all my life.
  9. Glenda Baddour palmer says:
    Robert Carver has been a friend for years.
  10. Glenda Baddour palmer says:
    Robert Carver has been a friend for years to my family.
  11. Kenneth Wiley, MD says:
    Dr. Bone was an outstanding physician and mentor. He always stood for justice and the equitable treatment of all people. He was a shining star in Tennessee and nationwide. He lived his vision of a world that values the lives of all men. He will be missed, but his legacy will live on.
  12. glenda Baddour Palmer says:
    Robert Carver was a friend to my whole family. He was a kind, genltle and respectful Man
  13. Haywood Barry says:
    Dr. Robert Carver Bone was an extraordinary person and doctor. He will be missed by many. I know I will miss him. My condolences to his family and many friends.
  14. Bill McCrary, Maj USAF Ret says:
    “Doc,” thanks for everything you did both on and off duty. You are one of the most wonderful, inspiring persons I ever had the pleasure to have met and worked for. Thank you for everything at the 118th Tac Hospital, 118th TAW. It was fantastic you were ALWAYS a DOCTOR and not a Colonel. A most welcomed,. inspiring leader. So very glad you touched my life.
  15. Sara Connelly says:
    I am so very sorry for your loss. What an incredible man. It was an honor to have met him. Prayers for all of you.
  16. George S. Holder says:
    Condolences to the Bone family. Such a great man, gone too soon.
  17. Carolyn Young says:
    It was an honor to work so many years for a special Dr that truly cared for his patients. He made Lebanon a better place to be and the medical profession in this area. He touched the lives of so more many people than one could ever imagine. Many prayers and comfort for the family and friends.
  18. Cindy Mangrum says:
    I worked for Dr Bone during my senior year of high school and after graduation while he was working on the development and building of UMC. I eventually went on to work for two of the new doctors he had recruited, Dr Jackman and Dr Murray. From there I went on to nursing school and of course he was very supportive of that decision. He was always kind and a true southern gentleman.
  19. Cindy Mangrum says:
    I worked for Dr Bone my senior year of high school and after graduation. That’s when he was in the middle of planning, recruiting and building UMC. I went on to work (“in the trailers”) for two of the doctors he recruited. I was there for a few years before going to nursing school. Dr Bone was always kind, encouraging of my education plans and a true southern gentleman.
  20. T. Chadwick Eustis, MD, FACS says:
    I had the privilege and great pleasure to meet Dr Bone when he hosted hosted a group of Vanderbilt medical students at the hospital in Lebanon. In just a few hours, I was deeply moved and inspired by Dr Bone. He was so kind, generous with his time, happy to have us, a gentle and enthusiastic teacher, and knowledgeable, with extraordinary grace and humility. Dr Bone disrupted the stereotype a surgeon in the most wonderful ways.

    I also became a general surgeon, and I still hope to be like Dr Bone. He was a great doctor and role model, and an even greater human being.

    I am confident that Dr Bone was welcomed into heaven with an enthusiastic “Well done, my good and faithful servant!”