Yeah, Bethesda and Bioware make the largest most memorable games in the genre
Count me among those that vastly prefer games without respawns, BTW. It was my main beef with Sacred 2: I got sooooo tired of killing those bloody kobolds!
As for whether a "real" RPG should have respawns or not, there's no answer to that. Some do, some don't. It's not a defining characteristic of the genre at all, certainly. It's like the inventory issue: does a suit of armor take up more inventory space than a potion, or not? Do you have fixed space, or a weight limit, or unlimited inventory? There are good games that do it each of these ways, and none of them are more or less RPGs than the others, though everybody has their preference. Personally I prefer an unilimited inventory, in which case size doesn't matter. I do understand the other points of view, though.
A game developer has a lot of decisions to make. The respawn thing is one of them. Every decision is gonna please some players and not others. If any one feature is absolutely critical to you as a player, it's your responsibility to find out ahead of time which games have it and only buy those *shrug*. If you don't do that, nobody to blame but yourself.
It's just ignorant to claim that it's a vital feature for an RPG, or for that matter that everybody ought to share your point of view about it. That shows not just your ignorance of the range of RPGs, but also your ignorance of game communities :p
And yes, I'm another of those who has been playing CRPGs as long as there WERE any... seen it all... so please don't try the "u noob" argument