In Memory of Rob Delf
October 1, 1943 - February 14, 2017

Members of the medical community mourn the passing of Robert B. Delf, Jr., who served for three decades in leadership positions at the Medical Society of Metropolitan Portland.

Delf, who had been in failing health in recent years, passed away February 14, 2017. He was 73. He served MSMP from 1982 until his retirement in December 2011. He had been Executive Director since 1995, and was Associate Executive Director for most of the previous years he was with the Society. Delf, who held a master's degree in public administration, brought many innovative services to the medical community during his long tenure.

These included co-founding or leading the growth of the Metropolitan Medical Foundation of Oregon, which awards grants to community health projects; and D.O.C.S., or Doctors Offering Community Service, a program that formalized a volunteer physician network and evolved to become Project Access NOW. He also played a key role in promoting MSMP's participation in the Northwest Oregon Health Preparedness Organization and acquisition of a federal grant, both intended to help medical offices prepare for health or medical emergencies. 

Under his leadership, MSMP created a physician credentialing service, which later was picked up by another organization. Paula Purdy, director of operations for MSMP's Medical Society Services, Inc. and the Society's longest-serving employee, said Delf had a knack for seeing physicians' needs and filling those in creative ways. MSMP often would get the ball rolling by starting a program and then later turning it over to another entity to run full time, she said.

"Rob was very instrumental in helping us start the Medical Society Staffing service's temporary and temp-to-hire program," Purdy said. Delf also supervised the transition and sale of Physicians Answering Service, founded in 1927 by MSMP, and owned and operated by MSMP until 1998. PAS then leased space with the Medical Society from 1998 to 2005, when it moved into a separate building not far from MSMP's headquarters. 

After his retirement, the Metropolitan Medical Foundation of Oregon, in partnership with the Medical Society of Metropolitan Portland, inaugurated the Rob Delf Honorarium Award to recognize doctors and other citizens who contribute to the health of the community or to the practice of medicine.

In his leisure hours, Delf enjoyed playing for many years in a physicians' rock band, which was one of his favorite pastimes. He continued to rehearse with the group until shortly before his death.

A native of Oceanside, California, Delf was predeceased by his wife, Troby, and a son, Eric. He is survived by two sons, Jason and Michael, and a sister. 

Condolences may be sent to:

Holman's Funeral & Cremation Service
2610 SE Hawthorne Boulevard, Portland

To make a donation to the MMFO in honor of Rob Delf, please click here:

4380 SW Macadam Avenue, Suite 215, Portland, OR  97239
Phone: (503) 222-9977  |  Fax: (503) 222-3164

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