Penticton physician & family’s gift reflects passion for medicine

Dr. Paul Cobbin and his family – including his mother Marguerite (centre) and partner Kimberly Pflieger – have made a major donation to the SOS Medical Foundation’s campaign to provide medical equipment for the Penticton Regional Hospital expansion.

Dr. Paul Cobbin has been practicing medicine in Penticton for the past 30 years.

During that time, his family has experienced more than its share of health-related tragedies.  Yet remarkably, Paul has maintained his love of medicine, helping others, and his love of life.

Paul knew he wanted to be a doctor from a very young age and he also knew that nothing would deter him from reaching that goal. His mother, Marguerite, a nurse, and his father, Jack, a social worker, applauded and encouraged Paul’s decision to become a doctor, and after two unsuccessful attempts at getting into medical school, Paul finally succeeded, and has never looked back.

Paul obtained his medical degree from UBC in 1985.  By 1988, he had moved to Penticton and opened his practice as a General Practitioner – and his medical career took off. Since then, not only did Paul deliver hundreds of babies and perform surgical assists, he also became head of the PRH Emergency Department for several years. Then, in the early 1990s, Paul helped to establish Penticton’s first walk-in medical clinic.

Paul’s older brother, Dave, on the other hand, didn’t finish high school. However, after a couple of years, Dave returned to school and completed grade 12, plus two years of university. Unlike Paul, whose interests lied primarily in medicine and academics, Dave had a very keen business mind, and in 1978, after working at Greenline Hose and Fittings for one year, he bought the company. Dave Cobbin was 24 years old at the time.

From its humble beginnings of seven employees with one branch in Vancouver, Greenline has grown to one of the largest hose manufacturing companies in Canada with more than 300 employees and 10 subsidiaries. Unfortunately, though, as Dave’s fortunes continued, his life did not. Dave died in 2005 at the age of 50.

Accordingly, the Cobbin family’s donation to Penticton Regional Hospital is partially in memory of Dave. Because Dave had no wife or children, the majority of Greenline’s ownership was transferred to the Cobbin family who still owns the company today.

Kimberly Pflieger, a cardiology technologist who performs stress tests for patients at PRH, met Paul one day while doing her job. According to Kimberly, Paul was a friendly and chatty fellow when she did his stress test. Although Kimberly did not know who Paul was at that time, she thought he was quite pleasant, and after Paul asked for her number, she agreed. They had a date the next day, and they’ve been a couple ever since.

“Paul Cobbin is probably the nicest, kindest, and most generous man I have ever met, and I feel very fortunate to be part of his family,” said Kimberly.

Now four years later, the couple, together with Paul’s mother, Marguerite Cobbin, and Paul’s son, Andrew Cobbin, have made a significant donation to the South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation’s campaign to provide the medical equipment for the PRH expansion.

Paul felt the family’s decision to donate to PRH was an easy one. “Penticton has been good to us, especially me,” he said. “I wanted to do emergency medicine, and I got to do as much emergency as I wanted. It was my passion.”