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Published: Friday, 6/6/2003

Ophthalmologist was part of MCO faculty

Dr. Robert D. Kiess, 89, an ophthalmologist with a Toledo practice for 30 years and a Medical College of Ohio faculty member who in retirement received a doctorate in medical science from MCO, died Wednesday in Flower Hospital.

Dr. Kiess, formerly of West Toledo, had respiratory problems recently. He lived the last 11/2 years in Sunset Retirement Village, said Steve Mitchell, whose maternal grandparents, Dr. Jim and Beulah Miller, were friends of Dr. Kiess and his wife, Mary Jo.

Dr. Kiess retired from his ophthalmology practice in 1980.

“He was very dedicated to his patients and the practice of medicine,” Mr. Mitchell said. “His medicine was his life.”

Dr. Kiess was chief of ophthalmology and a member of the executive committee of Toledo Hospital. He was a MCO faculty member from 1980 to 1984.

Afterward, he picked up his education where he'd left it about 35 years earlier. Based on a 140-page dissertation, “Noninvasive Test to Determine What Individuals Are At Risk of Developing Diabetic Retinopathy,” Dr. Kiess in 1987 - at age 73 - received his doctorate from MCO.

“He was a very curious person who wanted to treat learning as a lifelong endeavor,” Mr. Mitchell said.

A native of Edon, Ohio, Dr. Kiess received a bachelor of science degree in applied optics from Ohio State University. He was an optometrist in Montpelier, Ohio, from 1935 to 1939.

He received his medical degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1943. He was in the Navy medical corps during World War II and served in the South Pacific.

He took post-graduate medical courses at Tulane University in New Orleans after the war and was a resident and instructor from 1947 to 1950 at the University of Michigan. He received his master of science degree in ophthalmology in 1949 from UM. He had planned to get his doctorate at the time, he told The Blade in 1987, but decided it was time to earn an income and came to Toledo to open a practice.

Dr. Kiess and his wife enjoyed traveling and visited the Far East and Europe, said Mr. Mitchell's father, Bill. They also liked to spend time in the Irish Hills of southeast Michigan.

“He had a good sense of humor,” the elder Mr. Mitchell said. “He was never at a loss for words and was always good with a quip.”

Dr. Kiess' wife was ill for several years, and he cared for her in their home before her death in 2001.

There are no immediate survivors.

There will be no visitation. Services will be private. Arrangements are by the Reeb Mortuary.

It is requested that tributes be to Sunset House Retirement Community or to a charity of the donor's choice.



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