They led, and a community followed

How the Zufalls’ inspiring vision drove volunteers and donors to support health care access

When Robert “Dr. Bob” and Kathryn “Kay” Zufall decided to spend their retirement providing affordable medical services to Dover’s underserved, they had few resources. Their one-room clinic had a portable exam table, a makeshift privacy curtain, and no other staff. Dr. Bob was the sole medical provider, while Kay managed administration, fundraising, and translation for their mostly Spanish-speaking patients.

Startup grants from the United Way and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, along with donated space from the Morris County Organization for Hispanic Affairs, got the modest, one-night-a-week operation underway in 1990. As word spread and the clinic’s services became essential to local low-income families, the Zufalls recognized the need to grow beyond their initial plans.

Knowing they couldn’t meet the growing demand alone, the couple turned to volunteers, grants, and philanthropic support. Many of their own friends generously offered their time and expertise, while monetary contributions offset the costs of medical equipment, staff wages, expanded operating hours, and additional clinical services.

Central to the Zufalls’ success was the strong sense of community they fostered. Kay, in particular, worked tirelessly behind the scenes, forging connections and seeking out opportunities for support. Together, they built a network of people who embraced their vision of health care access for everyone.

The Zufalls’ story is a powerful reminder of the extraordinary impact that ordinary individuals can have when their neighbors unite behind a common cause. Thirty-four years later, their dream endures, inspiring others to follow in their footsteps.

A Legacy of Service and Compassion

Picture of a man with his hands up at a podium

“It’s just the biggest thrill of my whole life, frankly,” Dr. Bob said in a 2015 interview about the growth of the health center.

Zufall Health Founder Robert Zufall, MD, known fondly as “Dr. Bob,” passed away peacefully on March 5, 2024, just three months shy of his 100th birthday and a decade after his wife Kay’s death. He leaves behind five children, nine grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, and a powerful legacy of service and compassion. Family and friends celebrated his memory at County College of Morris on April 21. Read more about his extraordinary life.