Robert George Houser, MD

February 24, 1936 ‒ July 17, 2020

Findlay, Ohio

Robert George Houser peacefully passed away with family at his side on Friday, July 17, 2020 at the Inn at Walnut Trail in Sunbury, Ohio.

Bob, or “Doc” to many, was born on February 24, 1936 in Hancock County, Ohio to Fairy Shawnee Hartman and Clair Wilson Houser. He married Nancy Jo Smith in Arlington, Ohio on September 7, 1958. Robert was a graduate of The Ohio State University Medical School completing his residency at University Hospitals in Cleveland. In 1968, the family headed back to Columbus where Robert established his practice. He joined the faculty at The Ohio State University where he established himself as an internationally acclaimed hand surgeon, publishing papers with Dr. Robert Duran on the rehabilitation of flexor tendon injuries that changed the world of hand surgery.  Later, he transitioned to cosmetic surgery and moved his practice to St. Ann’s Hospital in Westerville, Ohio. He established himself as a pillar of the community in providing high quality cosmetic surgery during the peak of his career. This is how many came to know him over the years, but it was his love of hand surgery that brought him international acclaim.

Robert and Nancy raised four children, Amy Bogan (William), Laura Houser, Beth Small (CJ) and Robert Houser (Stacey).  Robert, better known as Papa, was cherished by grandchildren, Kate, Daniel (Katelyn) and Benjamin (Marie) Bogan; Olivia, Alayna, Serena and Marcus Small; Grant and Gretchen Houser; Ryan and Rachel Houser; and great-grandchildren, Ella Brockman, Daniel, Owen and Penelope Bogan. Robert is also survived by and fondly remembered by nephews and niece, David, Steve, John and Tom Houser, Monica (Smith) Fellows and Scott Smith, friends and extended family.

Bob moved the family to the farm north of Sunbury in order to get back to his roots in farming by raising beef cattle, rabbits and many types of fowl from exotic chickens to ducks, turkeys, Guineas and even peacocks. The garden provided not only food for the family but for anyone to which he could provide. Housers are fishermen, and the large pond at the farm provided many hours of fishing – teaching all the kids and grandkids how to use a cane pole and worm. Bob was nearly always involved in singing – the boys quartet in high school, Men’s Glee Club at OSU, choir at Sunbury United Methodist Church, The Gospel Heirs quartet, and finally barbershop with the Singing Buckeyes. He also kept busy with the Sunbury Lions Club especially with their Ox Roast and Christmas Tree sale.

A private graveside service will be held at a later date. Special thanks to the staff at The Inn at Walnut Trail for taking such good care of our father, especially during the COVID-19 lockdown, and to the members of the Capital City Hospice team.

As an expression of remembrance memorial donations may be made to the Sunbury Lions Club or The Singing Buckeyes ℅ DeVore-Snyder Funeral Home, 637 OH-61, Sunbury, OH 43074. Messages of condolence are welcomed at

  • Dear Houser family, We are so sorry to hear of your loss of your dear father. We pray that God surround each of you with His great comfort and love during this difficult time. We rejoice with the fact that we will all meet again in eternity because we believe in God’s promises. With our deepest sympathy, Keith and Jona Baer

  • We had the privelege of knowing Bob and Nancy. We spent many years at church and Lions Club functions with them and their family. I enjoyed working with Bob doing eye testing during Lions sponsored health screenings. Bob’s humor came out at times to entertain us at Lions dinners. His faith in God was very evident. Rest well friend.

  • Dear family,

    I feel blessed to have known and associated some with both of your parents. I remember Bob for many church and community activities. We shared a Sunday School class years ago and served together on the Pastor-Parish Committee. Bette and I were in a couples class years ago that met a couple of times at their house. Once we watched the movie “On Golden Pond” out there. Bob blessed us with his music for years, being in the choir, the Gospel Heirs, the Singing Buckeyes, and more. Of course there was his practice in which he worked on both Bette and I as well as Bette’s father, Ed Hoke, at various times. I visited him early this year before the virus hit. I filled him in on church happenings and we covered past events. It was a good talk. I will always be appreciative of your entire family.

    With love,

  • Amy, Laura, Beth and Rob
    I am saddened to hear of the loss of your father. May all of your family be surrounded by love, comfort and peace. I have many fond memories of Junior Nationals and getting to know your family when you were all kids. Your dad was special.

  • “The power of a dad in a child’s life is unmatched.” (Justin Ricklefs). My condolences to you all and God bless.

  • Dear Houser Family, I wish we could get together to remember Bob but I guess
    we will do that in our own ways. Your Dad was always my music friend. I remember accompanying “The Lord’s Prayer” with him at many weddings and other solo events. We knew when to build and and stay quiet, and we always knew how long for the holds and pauses. I know he loved Singing Buckeyes. Roger and I went to many concerts and he would love to watch him feel the music. Your Dad’s resume is long with many accomplishments, and talents. His presence has been a faithful servant to the world We miss your mom,Nancy also. Those two did a lot for SUMC. We miss having them around.

  • Dr. Houser was a very compassionate man. I am so blessed to have him care for me.
    I am so sorry for your loss.

    Patty Martarello-Harmon

  • I want to pass along my heartfelt sympathies to the Houser family. I knew him from my years singing in the church choir. He had a great voice and personality. He was well known within the Sunbury area. Our sympathies from the Tanners. God bless you!

  • We were so sad to hear of your father’s passing. He was such a fun character and we enjoyed the time together in the Lion’s Club working on the Ox Roast and the Christmas tree sales. He always knew the right way to trim the meat and trim the trees. Your mother was such a great person and they both are greatly missed.

  • Our hearts and prayers are with you in this time of sorrow. Dr. Houser was an honored and respected member of SUMC. His smile was so warm and sincere.
    We are truly honored to have known him while attending the 11:00 morning worship service.

  • What a terrific guy! He was truly a wonderful supporter for the Singing Buckeyes Barbershop Chorus. He was a self starter doing things for the group that nobody else had thought to do. Bass section leader, board member, past president, secretary, excellent singer, and all around supporter of all activities both physically and financially. Anyone who knew Bob will miss his quiet but happy personality . The community has lost a wonderful man!

  • Our most sincere condolences to the Howser family. Robert and I were classmates at O.S.U. med school and we had a very congenial time in a special neuro-anatomy course. Many years later he operated on my wife while at St. Ann’s. My wife Amy and Dr. Howser “farmed” on office visits since she grew up on a farm in northwest Ohio. His brother, John, a general surgeon at Licking Memorial Hospital, where I worked as an orthopedic surgeon for 30 years, spoke of Bob frequently. I knew of Bob’s hand surgery significant accomplishments because I also knew Dr. Robert Duran personally. Robert’s friend, Dwight Hansen, an in-law cousin of ours sang with Robert in the OSU Glee Club and barbershop with the singing Buckeyes. Dwight and I spoke of Bob frequently. I always admired Robert’s calm, peaceful demeaner, and keen intellect. He leaves a great legacy of medical accomplishments, family love and commitment. I was honored to know him. He will be missed by many.

  • “Doc” was a fellow Singing Buckeye who was a gentle giant of sorts. Never one to make a fuss over anything openly, until you touched on one of his many favorite topics, My favorite was to simply ask, “So, how are your cattle coming along these days?” Then came the big smile and a conversation that often ended prematurely as rehearsal was beginning. I just enjoyed being in his presence. He had a special “calm” about him that was so pleasant. He will be missed a bunch. Dave Kracker, Mansfield, OH

  • I had the privilege of working with Bob Houser both at OSU and Mt. Carmel East Hospitals. I fondly remember his humility, his quiet gentle manner and his surgical expertise. I also remember his love for his farm, frequently sharing his produce and sharing stories of his animals with OR staff. He was a master as well as a true gentleman in the operating room, and it is these memories that will remain with me.

    My sympathies to his children, especially to Rob and Laura whom I knew and also worked with. May your memories of your parents be eternal.

  • Dear Houser Family:

    I am so sorry, and saddedned, to hear of your dad’s passing. He was such a great man. I am honored to have had the privelege of knowing him, your mother, and all of you.

    Please know I am keeping all you close in my heart and in my prayers.

    God bless you all, and may He give you comfort and peace at this time.

  • Laura and Houser Family,
    Sharon and I send our deepest sympathy to you in the loss of your loved one. We will keep you in our thoughts and prayers.

  • Dear Houser Family, With the Deepest and most caring sympathy. What Amazing Parents, They lived their Religion!! Thinking of You. George, Aleah and Michele The Rose’s

  • I was one of the nurses in the Surgery Clinic at Children’s Hospital for many years. It was always a pleasure to work with Dr. Houser in the Hand Clinic. The clinic was held only once or twice a month in the afternoon so it was always a busy schedule. Dr Houser was always so kind to the families and explained in simple detail and drawings what his plans were. After clinic, when the paperwork was finished, (no computers!) he would sit and talk with us. He frequently talked about his farm and raising poled herefords. I had no idea what the word “poled” meant but guessed at a very different meaning. Dr. Houser very tactfully explained the difference. I’ve never forgotten his kindness. He lived a very full life.

  • My deepest condolences to the Houser Family on the loss of your dad. He was an empathetic, caring, and skilled surgeon who made an everlasting difference in my life when he provided me with restorative surgery as a young adult. I will be forever grateful to him. May God bless and comfort each one of you with sweet memories of your dad.

  • God so loved the world and Bob Houser was one man who added so much during his career. He was a man who I respected so much as I got to know and sing with him in the Singing Buckeyes. A fine man who will remembered.