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Robert F. Mazzetti M.D., 1930-2010

Well-known California orthopedic surgeon practiced at Sansum Clinic, Orthopedic Surgical Group of Santa Barbara

Dr. Robert F. Mazzetti passed away peacefully on May 28, 2010, surrounded by his family after a long, valiant battle against cancer.

Born in San Francisco on September 29, 1930, Bob was the second son of Ida and Paul Mazzetti. He attended grade school at St. Vincent de Paul School in San Francisco. Following grade school, his family moved to a ranch north of Santa Rosa. Bob graduated valedictorian from Healdsburg High School in 1948 and went on to attend Stanford University. In 1951, after studying at Stanford for three years, he transferred to UCSF School of Medicine and received his bachelor’s of science in 1952. In 1955, he graduated from medical school and briefly was married to Shirley Casalas.

Dr. Bob Mazzetti with his dog, Mandy.
Dr. Bob Mazzetti with his dog, Mandy. (Fox family photo)

After serving two years of active duty in the Air Force stationed in Virginia and Alabama, he began four years of training in orthopedic surgery at UCSF. In 1958, he married his second wife, Betty, and moved to Santa Barbara. Bob and Betty had two sons together, Mark and Robert Mazzetti. Shortly after moving to Santa Barbara, Bob started practicing at Sansum Clinic and later entered private practice as a senior member of the Orthopedic Surgical Group of Santa Barbara.

In 1982, Bob relocated to Mountain View with his new wife, Dana Fox, and her two sons, Jason and Justin Fox, promptly establishing a new practice. Bob and Dana had one daughter together, Michelle Mazzetti. He practiced in Mountain View until he retired from surgery in 1990. Bob continued as a medical consultant and retired from medicine in 1996.

While modest, Bob had many professional accomplishments. He was an attending physician and a member of the teaching staff at the Orthopaedic Hospital of Los Angeles and USC School of Medicine from 1969 to 1996. Bob and his colleagues were pioneers of cutting-edge surgical techniques. He was one of the first surgeons on the West Coast to perform arthroscopic surgeries. He was a member of the Santa Barbara and Santa Clara medical societies. Bob was a diplomat of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, a member of the American Arthroscopic Society, American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine, Abbott Orthopaedic Society, California Orthopaedic Association, Western Orthopaedic Association and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons until 1996.

Medicine aside, Bob was also a savvy commercial real-estate developer and investor in Santa Barbara and Austin, Texas. After retiring from his medical practice, Bob moved to Austin to focus on managing his property there.

As an avid traveler, Bob explored many countries such as Belgium, Chile, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Spain, Switzerland and the Virgin Islands. Two of his favorite excursions were to South Africa, accompanied by his special friend, Julia Ward, and to Argentina in 2009, which he accomplished despite his illness. It was with great pride that he accepted his Lifetime Platinum Membership from American Airlines in February 2010.

Bob was an adventurer who enjoyed the outdoors and went on many backpacking trips with his sons and the Boy Scouts of America throughout California. He also enjoyed antique shopping and could never pass up an auction. He particularly liked looking for windup clocks. His love for animals was clear, reflected by their presence in hundreds of photographs throughout his life.

One of his greatest joys in life, besides his family, was golf. His travel and golf experience culminated in a trip taken with his nephew, Bill Mazzetti, to play in southwest Ireland, where they played nine courses in nine days.

Bob will be remembered for his hospitality, generosity and fine culinary skills. For all those who knew him, it was clear that there was always room for one more friend around his table.

Above all, Bob valued his family and traveled back and forth between Austin and Santa Barbara so he could spend time with his children and grandchildren — despite the protestations of Hospice. He never took “no” for an answer. He taught us many lessons, but his greatest lesson was showing us all our inner strength. His family was in awe at his strength and determination in the face of pain and treatment. For seven years he battled his illness with four recurrences. He faced his disease, as he did all aspects of his life, with the eye of a clinician, determination, perseverance and stoicism. His children and grandchildren know that anything is possible and not to let circumstances or barriers deter you from your goal.

Bob leaves behind his son, Mark Mazzetti of Santa Barbara; his son and daughter-in-law, Robert and Merrie Mazzetti, and his grandchildren Siena and Cordell of Austin; his daughter, Michelle Mazzetti, and her partner, C.J. McNeil, of Santa Barbara; his son and daughter-in-law, Jason and Krista Fox, and their children, Madison, Madalyn and Reece of Tacoma, Wash.; his son, Justin Fox, and his fiancée, Allison Stelyn, of Santa Barbara; his niece, Claudia Mazzetti-Swan, and her husband, Richard Swan, and daughter Alex; his niece, Lou Ann Harrington, and her husband, Mark; and his nephew, Bill Mazzetti, and his wife, Mary.

His family would like to extend their profound appreciation to Marisol Sanchez, who cared for Bob so selflessly and compassionately toward the end of his life, as well as Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care of Santa Barbara and all the friends who visited him.

Click here to visit the family’s memorial site,

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