Robert Henry Messier, Sr., M.D., Roman Catholic, father, husband, uncle, brother, patriot and physician died peacefully on March 5, 2015 at the age of 86 surrounded by his children and daughter-in-law in Raleigh, NC. Dr. Messier grew up on 5 Sawyer St. in Nashua, NH, and graduated from Nashua High School in 1946. He was awarded his bachelor's degree cum laude from Saint Anselm College in Manchester, where he received his calling to the Healing Arts after studying briefly to become a priest. When the Korean Conflict erupted in the early 1950's, and inspired by his heroic eldest brother Richard, Dr. Messier completed Officer's Candidate School and subsequently spent two years as a munitions second Lieutenant in South Korea as well as various other stations in the Far East. After a short foray into private industry, he applied simultaneously to both of Georgetown University's Schools of Foreign Service and Medicine. He was accepted on the spot to the School of Medicine at the conclusion of his interview, matriculated immediately and graduated as Vice President of the1958 Class. He completed an Internal Medicine residency at Georgetown, and practiced Industrial Medicine at the Oak Ridge National Laboratories in Oak Ridge, TN for a year, corresponding routinely with such leaders in the field as Edward Teller. When the opportunity was afforded him, he enrolled in and graduated from a Cardiology fellowship at Georgetown under the tutelage of Drs. Proctor Harvey and Charles Hufnagel.
Upon finishing his fellowship, he moved to Elizabeth, NJ, the birthplace of his beloved wife Jane Donahue Messier whom he had met while a medical student. There he practiced Cardiology and Internal Medicine, tirelessly carrying his black bag and making house calls throughout Union County for over 20 years. He tragically lost his dear wife in 1980 after a ten year battle with breast cancer, having connected his doctor's office to his home in order to always be near her.
A stalwart in the Roman Catholic Church and a pillar of the local medical societies, Dr. Messier assumed leadership roles in the Alexian Brothers health system where he was an admired, trusted and highly respected confidante. He became an outspoken advocate of Roman Catholic causes, both locally and occasionally on the Northeast Regional scene. At the outbreak of the Persian Gulf War, Dr. Messier was called up to full-time duty, serving at the McGuire Air Force Base and caring for active military personnel stateside. He was honorably discharged from the Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel at the conclusion of Operation Desert Storm.
On the return to private life, Dr. Messier redirected his efforts to important Catholic issues and was Knighted to the Order of St Gregory the Great by Pope Saint John Paul II. Having taken on administrative roles as Chief Medical Officer in the Alexian Brothers Hospital, and subsequent leadership positions within the product of the Alexian Brothers and Elizabeth General Hospital merger, Trinitas, Dr. Messier retired completely in 2000. He had been instrumental in stabilizing the difficult reorganization of Elizabeth's urban healthcare system which became plagued with overwhelming financial challenges. The last one and a half decades of his life were spent in Hillside, NJ, with his second wife Louise Klimovich Messier until her death in 2014. They served the community and practiced their Faith together in the Catholic Church, patiently mentoring his two children and their families. Many revered Dr. Messier as a strong and trustworthy friend who judged no one and responded eagerly to anyone who sought his help, particularly the needy, poor and meek.
Dr. Messier is survived by a son Dr. Robert H. Messier, Jr, a Heart Surgeon practicing in Myrtle Beach, SC and married to Dr. Janice Hong Messier of Wake Forest, NC, his identically green-eyed daughter and light of his life Deirdre Donahue Messier, her husband Perry Houston Henderson of Alexandria, VA, sole grandson Robert Henry Messier III (Trey), one brother and former Mayor of Bedford, VA E. Thomas Messier and his wife Constance of Bedford, Virginia.
He was predeceased by his parents Theresa Eva (Gagnon) and George Henry Messier, his two treasured sisters Marie Crowell and Beatrice Duplisse and WWII Navy fighter pilot brother George Richard Messier.
Uncle Bob will be forever remembered fondly by his numerous and beloved nieces and nephews, and special cousin Paul. Pappa's memories and stories will live on through his namesake and adored grandson Trey.
Viewing will be at Growney Funeral Home, 1070 North Broad Street, Hillside, NJ, March 10, 2015 from 7:00-9:00 PM and March 11, 2015, from 8:30-9:30 AM. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church 1000 N Broad St., Hillside, NJ at 10 AM followed by burial at St. Catharine's Cemetery, Sea Girt, NJ with military honors.
In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Dr. Messier may be made to the Office of Campus Ministry at Saint Anselm College, Office of College Advancement #1738, Saint Anselm College, 100 Saint Anselm Drive, Manchester, NH. 03102.
A service of Bright Funeral Home & Cremation Center.