Robert (Bob) Fouty

Robert (Bob) Almond Fouty died on May 14, eight days shy of his 87 th birthday. He was Seattle-

born and -educated, attending grade school at St. Theresa’s, high school at O’Dea (Class of

1949), and college at the University of Washington. While at O’Dea he met Dorothy McBurney

from Holy Names Academy – beginning a lifelong union. They married in 1955 and remained

together until his death.

He graduated from the University of Washington’s medical school in 1956. His medical training

after graduation was bracketed by two formative experiences: one in the Indian Health Service

and the second at the National Institutes of Health in Washington D.C. Those years exposed him

to what medicine was, and what it had the potential to be. Bolting a crib to the floor of a VW bus

without AC, he took those experiences with him when he left the nation’s capital in the summer

of 1961 to return to the Pacific Northwest. There he stayed for the rest of his life, raising his

family, practicing Pathology, and contributing to his community.

His career was dedicated to making medicine better. As a young University of Washington

faculty member at Harborview Medical Center, he revamped the clinical laboratory to improve

quality and speed, installing one of the first ‘stat’ labs in the country. He was the regional

director of a federal program that evaluated the clinical labs of small hospitals in Alaska and

Washington. He identified problems inherent to small hospital labs, helped institute quality

controls, and established a teaching program for rural medical technologists, many of whom had

little formal training. Later in his career, he headed the clinical lab at Providence Hospital where

he established a Medical Technologists training program.

In 1971 he founded Medical Labs Associates and implemented a novel tracking system to

identify women at high-risk for developing cervical cancer to ensure close follow-up. Medical

Laboratory Associates’ high quality work and novel methods of tracking high-risk patients were

incorporated into national guidelines of good laboratory practice. His secret to running the

laboratory was simple: hire excellent people and then listen to them.

His interest in life and medicine extended to the natural world. When a pod of whales beached

themselves on the Oregon coast, he traveled to perform tests on them to determine the cause. In

another case he spent weeks ageing seal blood before testifying in a seal tusk poaching trial in

Alaska. He enjoyed fishing, exploring old ghost towns, panning for gold, and camping with his

young family, and was there for their plays, sporting events, and concerts. He loved a good party,

singing, and working on old cars. Later, he and Dorothy travelled, exploring countries from

China to Jordan to Ireland. They eventually moved from Capitol Hill to Vashon Island where he

found peace in the slower pace.

Bob was a strong supporter of Catholic education and worked to strengthen O’Dea and Holy

Names Academy through tireless fund raising and volunteer work. He was an early supporter of

the ‘Deck the Dome’ tradition at HNA and was honored as Mr. POSH by O’Dea. The current

vibrancy of both schools, one his alma mater, the other his wife’s, was a source of great pride.

He will be remembered as a man of integrity who gave generously to his family, his profession,

and his community.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Almond Fouty and Emma Troyer Fouty. He is survived

by Dorothy, his wife of 63 years; children, Suzanne, Karen, Mark (Christine Ann), Brian

(Christine Lynn), David and Christine Amy; his siblings, Anne and Bill, seven grandchildren and

three great grandchildren. Special appreciation goes to the staff at Providence Mount St. Vincent

who helped care for him during the past two and a half years.

A Funeral Mass will be held on Thursday, June 7 th at 10:00 AM at St. James Cathedral in Seattle.

A reception will follow. Online condolences can be left at

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