Larkin Mortuary

Robert Lynn Sorbonne

09/19/1921 - 09/15/2017

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Robert Lynn Sorbonne—our beloved father, grandfather, and friend—returned to his heavenly home on September 15, 2017, after passing away peacefully in his sleep. Throughout his remarkable 95-year journey, Bob was the embodiment of integrity, energy, service, love, and most of all, indomitable joy.

Bob was born September 19, 1921, in Salt Lake City, Utah. His parents, Hannes Efraim and Olga Maria Lundquist Sorbonne were thrilled—particularly Hannes who dreamt of future father-and-son trips. Tragically, Hannes died when Bobby was two. As a toddler, Bobby would climb out of his crib and into his mother’s bed to comfort her with pats on the cheek.

As a child during the Depression, Bobby chopped kindling, mowed steep lawns, even sold magazines on skis to help provide for his family. He grew up quickly but never lost his intense joy for life or playful spirit.

At West High, Bob became a distinguished ROTC Captain. In his freshman English class, he fell hopelessly in love with the vivacious Betsy Bradley. After three years of carrying her books and another three years of wooing her from afar, Bob eventually convinced Betsy to marry him. On June 25, 1943, the two were sealed for time and all eternity in the Salt Lake Temple. He cherished his darling Betsy for the following 73 years.

Bob thrived at the University of Southern California College of Dentistry. After graduating with high honors, Bob taught at USC while practicing dentistry at night. He was inducted into the US Navy and was stationed in San Diego during WWII. After his release, the family moved to Salt Lake, where he gained widespread recognition for his masterful clinical work and immaculate gold restorations. Bob served on the Salt Lake Board of Health, as President of the Salt Lake Dental Society, and was even elected a Fellow in the International College of Dentistry.

During the Korean War, Bob dutifully left his young family to serve his country aboard the USS Bryce Canyon. As a Lieutenant, he took great pride in providing comfort to ailing soldiers. And instead of harboring hate towards the enemy, Bob returned to fill his home with Asian art.

Much of Bob’s life was dedicated to service within the LDS church as a Young Men’s MIA President, Sunday School Superintendent, Bishop, Temple Square Host, and Temple Sealer.  

Above all, Bob was a devoted son, brother, and husband and was enchanted with his role as father and grandfather. In the spirit of his departed father, Bob filled his children and grandchildren’s lives with boundless love, fun, and laughter. Bob’s sense of humor was legendary. Whether it was chasing a hunting friend with an elk bladder, convincing a grandson that he went bald from a distracted barber, or even quipping how handsome he was during his final days, Bob knew the power of laughter to bring joy, connection, and comfort.

Ultimately, Bob lived his life to the fullest. His days brimmed with family, Godly service, meaningful work, tennis, dancing, boating, golfing, skiing, painting, and—of course—whistling. Our beloved Bob, we’re comforted to know that you’ll soon be in the arms of your dear father, mother, and wife. In the playful phrase you so often used, “you go straight home, now.”

Bob is survived by four children: Bob (Carol) Sorbonne, Sherie Demple, Rita (Frank) Gooch, Ralph (April) Sorbonne, and son-in-law: Roger Holbrook (Tanny); 21 grandchildren; 32 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his wife, Betsy Bradley Sorbonne; daughter, Tanny Holbrook; son-in-law, Joseph Demple; grandchild, Bradley Sorbonne; and grandchild, John Anderson.

Funeral services will be held at the Monument Park Ward (2000 E. Michigan Ave.) on Monday, September 18, at 12:30 PM (one day before his 96th birthday). A viewing prior to the services will start at 10:30 AM. Interment will be held at Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park, 3401 South Highland Drive. 

Recent Condolences

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  • I was a patient of Dr. Sorbonne for many years, and always admired and appreciated the complete, professional approach that he took with his dentistry.

    — Wayne Stoker
  • Dear Sorbonne Family:
    We are so sad to hear of the passing of your dear, sweet father. He was a special man to us!
    When my parents moved to Salt Lake City in the hot summer of 1960, your father was the bishop. When he learned we were moving into the area, he asked what he could do to help us. We were building the home on 915 Shirecliffe Road during that summer. My father was handicapped with severe arthritis, and used crutches to get around. Your father dispatched all the high priests/elders the day we moved to help us. Then he asked them to come back for the next 2-3 weeks to help us get furniture and things put where we needed them, knowing my father couldn’t do that type of work. My parents were so appreciative of his help and that of the other men in the ward to us. He was a great bishop to our family. When my brother was baptized in 1965, my father was worried about trying to get down into the font to baptize him, and trying to get him back out of the water. Your sweet dad offered to get into baptismal clothing and help my father baptize my brother. My father cried and cried after this baptism because he had been successful due to the help of your father. What a blessing your father was to our family. My father died in 1968 …and he always had a fond memory of your father and also of your sweet mother. We are so sad to hear of his passing but know that he is with our Heavenly Father and Jesus now and back with his sweet wife and other family members. We send our deepest condolences to your family at this time and pray for you at this sudden loss. He was a “giant redwood in the forest,” and many years after the passing of my father, your father lent help and support to my mother –with 3 children to raise and being alone. We loved your dear sweet father very much and wanted to let you know of our love for him.
    I am living in Cottonwood Heights and attend the CWH 3rd Ward and my two daughters, Brandilee Chacon and Brianne Christianson, live nearby. I have 6 cute grandchildren whom I love dearly. I retired from teaching in 2010 and am enjoying my grandchildren, fishing and retirement activities.
    Again, thank you for the beautiful friendship and love we have had from your father, mother, and your family. We love you all. You have all blessed our lives and we appreciate it very much.
    With our deepest love,
    CarolAnn Hiatt Kussee Gudjenova
    Daughters, Brandilee Chacon, and Brianne Christianson

    — CarolAnn Hiatt Gudjenova
  • Dear Ralph and family, our family lived across the street from yours for 23 years. Words cannot express the many blessings you and your parents brought into our life. Those blessings still come through you as you carry on your fathers legacy in dentistry and serving others. Love always from our family to yours. Don & Nola Swenson

    — Don and Nola swenson