Former Durango resident Dr. Val Ian Robichaux, died in April while vacationing in Cozumel, Mexico. He was cycling with his son, when he was hit by a speeding cab driver who ran a stop sign. He was 70.
Dr. Robichaux was born to Rodney and Helen (Chafey) Robichaux on March 25, 1942, in Tempe, Ariz., where he grew up. He graduated from Camelback High School in 1960.
Right out of high school, he married Alice Aulston in San Diego. The couple had a daughter, Helen, before the marriage ended in divorce.
In 1960, he joined the Navy, serving as a missile technician on two submarines, the USS John Marshall, and the USS Stonewall Jackson.
After an eight-year stint in the service and seven moves later, he returned to Phoenix and earned his bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University. He went on to the University of Arizona Medical School, and graduated with his degree in medicine.
“While in high school he met the love of his life, Patricia Marie Holly, in 1957,” his family said. “Youthful exuberance and fate would not see them married until February 1976.” The couple married in Phoenix and blended her family of two daughters, Christina and Cindy, with his.
With his new family in tow, Dr. Robichaux moved to Ganado, Ariz., to do an externship, then moved to Denver, where he started his residency in pathology. In 1980, the Robichauxes moved to Durango, where Dr. Robichaux began his practice at Mercy Medical Center, becoming laboratory director. In 1988, they moved to Cortez, into a house he had designed.
“He often commented on how fortunate he was to live in the Four Corners, as it had been a childhood dream,” his family said.
For the last 12 years, Dr. Robichaux was a charter member of the “Over the Hill Gang” Car Club in Cortez. He was an avid “hot-rodder” and car enthusiast, his family said. He also enjoyed fishing and amateur astronomy.
Dr. Robichaux retired in 2000 as laboratory director from Southwest Memorial Hospital. He took up bicycle riding and racing, a pastime he and his son shared.
“Val loved life, music, the Southwest, but most of all he loved his family,” his family said. “He was the greatest of men and will be deeply missed by all of those whose lives he touched.”
Dr. Robichaux is survived by his wife of 36 years, Patty Robichaux, of Cortez; children Rex Robichaux of Cortez, Helen Gibson of Richfield, Wash., Christina Hillis of Snoqualmie, Wash., and Cindy Campbell of Kilauea, Hawaii; sister, Gwen Krieger, of Dolores; one grandson; one niece and one nephew; and numerous extended family members in Canada.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, May 25, 2012, at Ertel Memorial Chapel, 42 N. Market St., in Cortez. A reception will take place immediately afterward at Koko’s Friendly Pub, 2121 East Main St., in Cortez.