Robbie Talbert Gunderson 

Published 5:19 pm Friday, June 7, 2024

Robbie Talbert Gunderson, 78, of Lake Charles, La. was born on Nov. 6, 1945 to Iva Nell and Thomas Talbert in Center, Texas. Her family moved to Orange, Texas, where she graduated from Lutcher Stark High School. Thereafter, she moved to Houston to pursue nursing school. She graduated from Lilly Jolly School of Nursing at University of Houston at age 20 and began her career as a registered nurse in the operating room at MD Anderson Cancer Center and the VA Hospital in Houston.  In January 1973, she met Clark Gunderson at the apartment complex in which they both lived. Robbie transferred to the VA Hospital in New Orleans after Clark moved there to begin his orthopedic surgery residency. She worked as a circulating nurse and scrub nurse in the operating room at the New Orleans VA Hospital and at Tulane University Hospital. During their time in New Orleans, they enjoyed learning about Louisiana culture and made many lifelong friends, making the decision to live permanently in Louisiana quite easy. Robbie and Clark were married at Grace Lutheran Church in New Orleans, La., on Nov. 2, 1974. They moved to Lake Charles in July 1978 for Clark to begin his medical practice and have resided there ever since. 

Despite originally reigning from Texas and South Dakota, Robbie and Clark became tried and true south Louisianians with a fond love for Mardi Gras, cajun cuisine, and picturesque outdoor beauty and activities, particularly boating. The family enjoyed countless sunny afternoons and evenings together on the lake; Robbie and Clark took great pleasure in teaching their daughters and their friends how to ski and tube throughout their childhoods. Robbie was a devoted mother and grandmother and was thrilled to have the privilege of dedicating her life to taking care of her family. She was also active in the membership and leadership of numerous organizations including the Junior League, Calcasieu Parish Medical Society Auxiliary, American Cancer Society, and LSU Health Foundation. Robbie illuminated any room that she entered and was a uniquely vibrant, vivacious, and elegant woman with striking kindness. Although twice a Mardi Gras queen, she will always be the queen in our hearts and will be forever treasured and sorely missed by family and friends. Music, movies, travel, and time spent with her family were Robbie’s greatest passions.

She passed away peacefully on May 31, 2024 in Lake Charles, La. after a long and courageous battle. The family would like to acknowledge and express eternal gratitude to Kim Garland for her exceptional and thoughtful care throughout much of Robbie’s illness, as well as, Monet Brashear and the staff at Brookdale for their kind and compassionate care. 

Email newsletter signup

Robbie is survived by her husband, Dr. Clark Alan Gunderson of Lake Charles, La.; two daughters, Ashley Nicole Gunderson of Lake Charles, La., and Camille Gunderson Jackson (Brian) of Oklahoma City, Okla.; four grandchildren, Nadia and Adalyn Gunderson of Lake Charles, La., and Catherine and Charles Jackson of Oklahoma City, Okla.; two sisters, Judy Smith (Jay) and Billie Skinner (Charles), both of Orange, Texas, and numerous nieces and nephews. She is predeceased by her father, Thomas Talbert; mother, Iva Nell Fields, and stepfather, Robert Louis Fields. 

Memorial arrangements include a visitation at Johnson Funeral Home from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 4, and 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 5. The funeral service will be at Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd on Wednesday, June 5 at 2 p.m. Burial will immediately follow the funeral at Consolata Cemetery, with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association and Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd/Episcopal Day School in Lake Charles, La.