Dr. Walter Gokavi, M.D.

Nov. 24, 1930-July 5, 2017

Dr. Walter Alfred Goka-

vi, 86, San Antonio, Tex-

as, formerly of Mohall,

died Wednesday, July 5,

2017 at his home.

“Doc” was born Nov.

24, 1930, in Hubli, Karna-

taka, India, to Channah

(C.G.) and Esther (Tatpati)

Gokavi. He grew up in

Hubli and Chennai (Ma-

dras), earning his nick-

name after he told his

parents he’d become a

doctor due to the influ-

ence of the physician who

treated him for burns

from a pot of hot coffee.

After high school, Doc

enrolled at Christian Med-

ical College in Vellore in

1949. He graduated in

1954. He did his

post-graduate medical

training in India and Eng-

land and became a Fellow

of the Royal College of

Surgeons (FRCS). On

Sept. 29, 1962, Walter

married Anne Weir after a

courtship that started

when she assisted him

during a surgery in Folke-

stone, Kent, England.

The couple lived in oth-

er locations in England

until 1967, when they

boarded the S.S. France

and crossed the Atlantic

Ocean. On a snowy April

day, they got to Mohall,

where he had accepted a

job at Renville-Bottineau

Memorial Hospital. Pro-

fessionally, Doc was a Fel-

low of the American Col-

lege of Surgeons (FACS),

the First District Health

Unit executive director

and a member of several

other medical groups and


Mohall quickly became

their hometown where

they raised three children.

They were longtime

members of the Mohall

United Methodist Church

and enjoyed flower and

vegetable gardening. Doc

and Anne worked at RBM

Hospital – delivering ba-

bies, performing sur-

geries, giving pilot physi-

cals and much more – and

had a clinic practice until

2002. Along the way, Doc

made life-long friends,

planted roots in the com-

munity, served in many

capacities and aided many


Among them: board

member at the Mohall

Country Club, his sanctu-

ary, where he helped lead

the effort to install grass

greens; taught the

EMS/ambulance crews

and served as the county

coroner; was among com-

munity members who

helped form the Good

Samaritan Nursing Home,

for which he donated the

land; was among a group

who formed the Mohall

Industrial Park, the

Mohall Museum and the

Mohall Beautification

Committee; was a member

of the Masonic Lodge, the

North Dakota State Horti-

cultural Society, the

Mouse River Loop

Pheasants and Ducks Un-


Doc’s interests and hob-

bies were varied: golf was

his favorite, often with a

rotating cast of good

friends; he liked to con-

sider himself a farmer,

though the Gates family

does the work; he liked to

bowl, fish and hunt,

though his best-known

shot was through the

floorboard of a Lincoln

Continental; he painted,

was a fierce ping pong

player and even took

flight lessons.

He loved traveling.

Even though Doc’s family

trips only happened every

few years, they were often

to England or India so his

children could see their

relatives. He and Anne

continued to globetrot – a

trait their children share –

after retirement, mostly to

visit family and take

thousands of pictures.

Doc took joy in making

friends with people

around the world.

Doc and Anne lived in

Mohall full-time until late

2014 because they cher-

ished friendships and the

small-town atmosphere.

Late that year, they began

taking turns living near

each of their three chil-

dren – first in Mas-

sachusetts, then in Ohio

and finally in Texas.

Doc is survived by:

Anne, his wife of nearly

55 years; children –

daughter Suzanne Gokavi

(Tom Angelo), Marion,

Mass.; daughter Julie

Gokavi (Darren Dirk), San

Antonio, Texas; son Mark

Gokavi (Sharlene Bly),

Miamisburg, Ohio;

grandchildren – Anthony

Angelo, Tampa, Fla.; Za-

chary Angelo, Marion,

Mass.; Spencer Dirk, Jack-

son Dirk and Samantha

Dirk, San Antonio, Texas;

Helen Gokavi, Miamis-

burg, Ohio; sister Joan De-

vaprabhakara, Bengaluru

(Bangalore), India; several

cousins, nephews, nieces

and friends in places like

the United States, Canada,

England, India and Aus-


He was preceded in

death by: his parents, his

sister Agnes (Peggy) Ko-

tiah, his brother Fred

Gokavi and his grandson

T.J. Angelo.

Memorial service: 1

p.m. Sunday, July 30 at

Mohall’s Zion Lutheran

Church with a reception

after at the Mohall Coun-

try Club. Memoriams can

be made to the Mohall

Country Club or the Good

Samaritan Nursing Home.