By Naomi Hatch
“Part of the reason I came here was to write books,” noted author Robert McNary, who recently moved to Snowflake. The other was that he thought there would be a good market for his books. He recently displayed his books at the Snowflake-Taylor Chamber of Commerce Christmas Market.
McNary has an interesting and varied history. He is a former U.S. Army captain, Viet Nam veteran and medic, a pastor, teacher, writer, workshop leader with his Portable School and consultant. He has been a licensed vocational nurse, flight surgeon, staff physician and private practitioner.
He began his writing career in 1981, penning a monthly exercise column for a newsletter, and he has written several magazine articles and books. He also published his own newspaper in Harlowton, Mont.
Dr. Bob, as he is also known, has “worked in medicine and healing, ministry and teaching, symbols and astrology for more than 40 years,” according to his bio.
McNary has a Bachelor of Science degree in medical technology from Texas Christian University and continued his education at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston from 1974-77, where he earned a Doctor of Medicine degree.
He enlisted in the Army from 1967 to 1970, serving as a medical corpsman, and was an officer (CPT) from 1977-81. He was a medical technologist at All Saints Hospital in Ft. Worth, Texas, in 1974, a family practice intern at Martin Army Hospital, Fort Benning, Ga., from 1977-78, and a flight surgeon and general medical officer at Fort Riley, Kan. from 1978-81. He then moved to Phoenix, where he was a staff physician from 1981-82.
McNary served as an interim/supply pastor for various denominations in South Dakota and Montana from 1985-87, and from 1988-2001, he was a teacher/writer/workshop leader for The Portable School.
He has worked not only in the medical field, but has done consulting, and was Harlowton Area Chamber of Commerce director from 2005-08.
McNary has written a variety of books including Pictorial Astrology: Reading the Stars, Signatures, People Medicine: A Frugal Physician Prescribes…, Baby Doctor: Old Soul Returns to Earth and Phenomenon: 13 Lives of the Millennium Man.
“Millennium man is the most extraordinary person in my 66 years on the planet,” said McNary. “I’ve known about this person for 20 to 30 years, but didn’t realize all that she did. First Millennium man is a woman who was born in 1831. She is from the Ukraine and circled the globe by herself three times. She rode horses as she studied people far and wide in the east,” he said. She came to the west, where she taught rabbis, professors, doctors and scientists. “She’s been dead since 1881, but people are still writing about her,” he noted.
McNary lived in Levina, Mont., a town of 150 or so people, for most of 10 years. “I met some great people. It was a special little community,” he said.
He bought an old county garage that was used for the annual Red, White and Blue celebrations. It was originally an old opera house, and once or twice a year people would come and sing, play the guitar and have a potluck. McNary has good memories of Levina, a small town with many traditions.
“I painted the flag on the side of the building,” he said. “A couple of years later I had met a woman from New York City, her name was Rose, and she painted a bust of the Statue of Liberty. That year we had the Red, White, Blue and Lady Liberty, Too” celebration, he said.
McNary and a friend walked a lot, and one day in 2002, he said, “I’ve walked a lot of places, I think I’ll take a walk.”
They walked out of the house two days later to see a big stallion across the street with a fellow leading him down the road. The man was walking his horse across the country; he had started his journey in Argentina and walked to Panama, where his horse was killed. He picked up another horse and just happened to walk through McNary’s town two days after he had decided he wanted to walk. The man was going near New York City, and McNary thought if that man could walk to New York City, so could he.
“I started June 11, got there Nov. 3,” said McNary. “I met a lot of people…Toward the end I wrote the two best things I’ve done in my life were walk to New York City and take care of my Dad when he was dying.”
He then decided to walk to California, making it to Montana. Later he walked from Montana to Kansas, and hitched a ride back.
In 2012, McNary walked to Nevada, got a ride to California and stayed a few weeks. Last year he was going to start walking to Arizona, but at the last moment a brother called and asked him to visit in the Black Hills of Dakota, so he walked through the Black Hills down an old trail to Nebraska. He stayed outside Yellowstone Park and this year started walking to Arizona.
“I was on the road for months at a time, so I sold my truck,” he said. “I thought I would like to go somewhere where there’s transportation, and Snowflake has the bus line to Show Low and Holbrook.” If he needed to, he could catch a bus to the Phoenix area.
After his stay in Snowflake, he’ll head back to Montana where he has some things in storage.
“I keep occupied. I have three to four books to write, some more healing books to write and I’ve been studying things, mostly from the 19th century,” said McNary.
“I have volumes of journals and other books about magnetic health,” he said, then spoke of the Bible noting that Jesus heals by laying on of hands. His fourth book will be Everyone Can Heal. He spoke of a mother caring for her child and noted that years ago you did not go to doctors, but “now we have created a system that we don’t believe we can do that sort of thing.”
“On these walks I have had numerous interactions with Mormon people,” said McNary. “They’ve bailed me out,” explaining that he got caught in a rainstorm just outside Ashland, Ore. “Before I knew it, I was fighting to keep my poncho on.” He made it into Ashland and walked into a convenience mart where a lady about 25 years old asked him where he was going, and gave him a ride up the road. “She gave me a blanket,” he said.
“I was pushing a buggy that year and the front wheel fell off,” he said. “Joanne took me into her house, introduced me to her husband and family, fed me, and put me on the road.”
McNary has many stories to tell of the people he met and the kindness they have shown to him over the years.
“I think I’m settled for a little while,” he said, noting he had been in the area a month and met more people than he’s met in quite a while.
You can follow McNary through his blog at theportableschool.com, peoplemedicine.net, rockymountainastrologer.com or phenom1000man.com. You may email him at email@example.com. His books are available online or directly from him.