My first memory of Robert McCurdy goes back to his Anderson College days. He was an outstanding cross country runner, teaming with others such as Charles Lusby and Roger Tilford to give the Ravens a strong distance-running presence in small-college sports circles.

He would return to Anderson in a few years, opening a general surgery practice and serving as college physician at his alma mater (now Anderson University).

McCurdy, 82, succumbed to complications of Parkinson’s disease June 12. He was 82.

The Ravens’ cross country course then was challenging. It started at Jackson’s Crossing, where Indiana 32 presently crosses White River near where Mounds State Park intersects with the present Anderson Municipal Airport. Runners followed the old interurban route toward town; traffic would be stopped on the then-new bypass to let runners cross en route to the campus. Races traditionally finished during halftime of football games on the East Fifth Street field now used for Raven soccer games.

He continued running during the early years of his medical practice, once participating in the Boston Marathon. In 1999 he was named to the Anderson University Athletic Hall of Fame in the meritorious service category.

My first personal contact with Dr. McCurdy came during his time as college physician, interviewing him on medical aspects of high school and college sports for a couple of in-depth series. Sometimes doctors are reluctant to be quoted on medical opinions. I found him to be very open and forthcoming.

McCurdy was the son of longtime ministers the Rev. Dwight and Bernice McCurdy. He also had a twin brother, Dwight, who survives.

Our paths would cross a few more times. He performed surgery twice on my mom, including old-style gall bladder surgery in 1973. The twins had just doubled the number of our children, and I discreetly inquired as to the cost of a vasectomy. The $100 pricetag would be considered bargain-basement by today’s standards. And fortunately, in an era when elective surgeries weren’t always covered by group insurance policies, mine paid the bulk of the cost. By the way, the procedure was successful in halting the multiplication of our family size.

Our daughter Becky was next to go under his knife for an ingrown toenail. A few years later I would see him again with symptoms of a gall bladder problem. He was very thorough in testing to make sure there was no more serious problem. By this time the procedure was laparoscopic, greatly shortening my recovery time.

Dr. McCurdy has left quite a legacy as well. Two sons, a daughter and several grandchildren were funneled to AU, where their sports of choice included football and tennis. Carrying on the surgical practice at Community Hospital Anderson is his son, Dr. Dwight Benjamin McCurdy.

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Correction: I must have been living in my dreams last week when I inadvertently listed my all-time best in the mile run. It actually was twice as slow, 8 minutes and 33 seconds.

Jim Bailey’s column appears on Thursday. He can be reached by email at

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