Robert Darter BS ’54, MD received the California Medical Association’s Frederick K.M. Plessner Memorial Award, which honors a California physician who best exemplifies the ethics and practice of a rural physician. Dr. Darter has been a St. Helena family physician for 50 years. At one point in his career, Darter jokingly claimed to have delivered nearly half the babies born at St. Helena Hospital (with his wife, Jan, an RN, assisting), adding that his partner, Dr. Wood, had delivered the other half.
Darter has been volunteering as the team physician for St. Helena High School football JV and varsity since 1962, and with the Carpy Gang football team since 1970. He also gives required physicals to student athletes at reduced costs, allowing more athletes to participate in sports they previously could not afford to play.
Darter remains a Cal Bears fan (he was born and reared in the hills just above Memorial Stadium) and said he hasn’t missed a home game in 50 years. He is also a 46-year member of the St. Helena Kiwanis, a past president, past treasurer and its current secretary. He has served as the district’s lieutenant governor, and as chairman of numerous district committees.
He is a trustee of the George and Elsie Wood St. Helena Public Library, a founding member of the St. Helena Library Foundation as well as its treasurer and secretary.
And, since a year after his arrival in St. Helena, he has been active in St. Helena’s Boy Scout Troop 1, serving as assistant Scoutmaster, as committee chair (which he still holds) and on the Silverado Area Council’s BSA camping committee. In recognition of his contribution to Scouting, he has received the Award of Merit and the Scouters Training Award, the Silver Beaver Award and been named a Napa Valley Distinguished Citizen.