Robert Leadbetter
Robert Leadbetter
Robert Leadbetter
Robert Leadbetter
Robert Leadbetter
Robert Leadbetter

Obituary of Robert Annon Leadbetter

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Dr. Robert “Bob” Annon Leadbetter, 65, died peacefully in his sleep on April 16, 2023. Bob was a loving husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, colleague, and friend. 

Bob was born July 24, 1957 in Morgantown, WV to Dr. Robert Leadbetter and Jacquelyn Bentz (now deceased). He grew up in Charleston, WV. Bob achieved the rank of Eagle Scout and met the love of his life Becky Johnson at Charleston High School. Bob excelled in academics, but his close friends always said that Bob knew how to have a good time. He was the perfect combination of cerebral and fun loving. He attended Bethany College and West Virginia University (1975-1979) where he then continued to West Virginia Medical School (1979-1983) followed by his residency in Psychiatry at The University of Virginia (1983-1987). 

Bob and Becky married on May 20, 1978. The duo welcomed their eldest daughter, Bethany Leadbetter in 1983, then welcomed twin daughters Brooke and Brittany in 1991. The family lived in Charlottesville, VA and then settled in Chapel Hill, NC. 

Bob had a distinguished career as a Psychiatrist in academia and the pharmaceutical industry. He was Director on the Clinical Studies Unit at Western State Hospital (1989-1998). He joined industry as a principal clinical research physician for GlaxoWellcome (1999-2001), and became a Senior Director at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) where he had a significant role in the development of new medicines in Neurosciences (2001-2006) as well as a Medical Director of Safety Development in Drug Safety and Pharmacovigilance (2006-2016). After retirement from GSK he continued his work as a consultant to make a significant contribution to the approval of a novel psychiatric medicine. His most recent work focused on the treatment of demoralization syndrome in cancer patients with psychedelics and the use of psychedelics for other mental health applications. His legacy will be remembered by his many colleagues and will also be found in the many medicines he helped bring to market and in his many publications in the medical literature.  

Bob was a lifelong learner and challenged his mind in any way he could– from reading texts on astrophysics to developing a keen interest in geology. When he was not working or reading, those who were close to him knew that Bob enjoyed following his passions of the outdoors, nature/astrophotography, gardening, traveling, astronomy, spending time on the Greenbrier River in WV, and more than anything spending time with his family. Bob’s life was full of laughter and love. He was a wonderful friend to many and a visionary seeking tounderstand the world around him. Bob was truly genuine, hard-working, dedicated, and could fill the room with his infectious laughter. Whether it was rocking out to The Steve Miller Band, Pink Floyd or Annie Lennox in his John Lennon like blue colored glasses, or sharing a meal surrounded by his larger than life family, Bob’s presence was felt. 

Bob is survived by his high school sweetheart and the love of his life Becky Leadbetter. They have been together for 48 years and were to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary this May. The two were inseparable and you could always find them picking out new flowers/plants for their yard, exploring new places, and planning out their next adventure. 

Also surviving are his daughter Bethany Leadbetter of Carrboro, NC, daughter Brittany Belle Isle (Jon), and grandchildren Kaiand Skylar of New Smyrna Beach, FL, his daughter Brooke Gable (Travis) of Winston-Salem, NC. His father, Dr. Robert Leadbetter (Elouise) of Cary, NC, his sister Stephanie Schiefer (Geoff) of Wilson, NC and nephews, Coltan Schiefer (Ally) of Kalamazoo, MI, and Levi Schiefer (Anna) of Norfolk, VA, and his sister Amy Leadbetter of Charleston, WV. His memory will be remembered by his close extended family who cherished his presence and loved him deeply.

To honor Bob’s wishes, family and friends are welcome to attend a public Celebration of Life, which will be held at Pluck Farm on June 11th starting at 10:30am. Please use link listed below to RSVP and find more information if you plan on attending. Visit

In lieu of flowers, should you choose to honor Bob’s legacy donations may be made in Bob's memory to: The Greenbrier River Trail Association ( Bob’s favorite place to be at was the river cabin in WV – he wrote one of his favorite moments is, “sitting on the futon on the porch overlooking the river early on a frosty morning with a warm cup of coffee, wrapped up in my down sleeping bag listening to turkeys softly calling each other from their roosts.”

Walker’s Funeral Home of Chapel Hill, NC is assisting the family.

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