Deceased Information


    Robert Pollet


    Tuesday, April 27, 2021 (Before Sunset)








    Robert James Pollet, the gentle and resilient heartbeat of our family, passed away on April 27, 2021 with loved ones by his side. Robert’s intellect, humor, and tender appreciation for the world and people around him touched everyone he knew – from his students and patients to life-long friends and colleagues to the many friends of his children. Robert was a scientist, a doctor, a professor, a coffee aficionado, a child of Brooklyn, NY - when stickball and handball were considered varsity sports - a wry humorist, a loving only son to Annette and Henry, and an irreplaceable safe-harbor of love and support for his wife, children, and grandchildren. Robert is survived by his wife of more than fifty years, Donna, his three children, Sarah, Adam and his wife Natalie, and Joshua and his wife Ashley, and his five grandchildren, Ezra, Saul, Sam, Henry, and Ben. Robert’s career and life were spent improving the lives of others. He devoted himself to research, medicine, and teaching and he embodied the humble, humanist ideals he espoused. Robert never wavered in his belief that we can and should bend our scientific, medical, social and political efforts to the benefit of everyone.

    Robert was born on January 24, 1942 in Brooklyn, NY. He was the son of New York City public school teachers and he grew up with love and science in his home. Robert and his parents joined the families of a number of other public school teachers in spending their summers in the Fourth Lake Community in upstate New York – a place of special meaning, refuge, and community for Robert for much of his life. In later years, it was an image of Robert quietly reading the New York Times on a small screened-in porch in the Adirondacks with classical music wafting from an old-school dial radio that became a symbol of serenity for his children and grandchildren. Robert attended James Madison High School in Brooklyn and then Columbia University in New York, NY as an undergraduate. As part of a summer internship in college he worked at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, his first lab, and fell in love with research. In his pursuit of dual passions in both research and clinical medicine, he chose a path that was unusual at the time and attended New York University’s School of Medicine earning both an MD and PhD (Biochemistry). While at NYU, Robert met Donna who was interning as a college student in the NYU hospital’s Social Work department. They first connected in a “friendly debate” over post-hospital care of a patient that marked the start of a fifty year story of love, mutual professional support and pride, and family. Together, Robert and Donna moved to Chicago for his Internship at the University of Chicago, and then later to Ann Arbor where he completed his Residency at the University of Michigan, and finally to Washington, D.C. where he did a Fellowship in Endocrinology at the National Institutes of Arthritis, Metabolism & Digestive Diseases in Bethesda, MD.

    Robert had much professional success throughout his career though he rarely spoke of it with his family. He authored or co-authored more than forty published papers in his field and was a Professor of Medicine first at the University of South Florida and then later at Emory University where he also served as the Senior Assistant Dean of the School of Medicine. He was a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and was an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and the Endocrine Society. However, Robert took the most professional joy from his work over twenty years as the Associate Chief of Staff for Research and Development at the Atlanta Veterans Administration Hospital. During that time, he launched major cross-department research initiatives and brought in substantial new funding in order to build – with the help of so many others – a world-class academic and medical research program that continues as a foundational legacy of his work to this day. As part of this effort, he was a founding Board member of the Foundation for Atlanta Veterans Education and Research (FAVER) and served as its President from 1989 through 2016. Through all these endeavors, his was a quiet and calm leadership style and he loved his colleagues and the work they accomplished together.

    In our minds, we see Robert still in so many of life’s smallest moments, gliding in a little sailboat across Fourth Lake, planning with delighted precision any number of minor home projects, exhorting himself to swing low to high on a tennis court, writing the most important dates and life facts on note cards in a tiny, beautifully slanted script.

    We are heartbroken to have lost him. He brought so much to our lives – the touch football games, the excellent advice after contemplating every possible available option, the quiet words of support throughout each of life’s twists and turns, his love of poetry and classical music, the unassuming and easy physical affection, the confidence in each of us, and the enduring curiosity and desire for greater insight into all of life’s mysteries. We aspire to the same patience and kindness that defined Robert’s life – they are the lights that lead us forward in our own lives. We will miss him dearly.

    The family plans to hold a ceremony celebrating Robert’s life in the coming months, with details to follow. In lieu of flowers please consider making a donation to FAVER ( or the Union of Concerned Scientists (

    Robert J Pollet memorial site:

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Robert Pollet

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  • The Dressler Family

    May the memories of our loved ones remain for a blessing.

  • Tom Key

    Robert's life was so good and his intention so loving, that all of us graced and fortunate to have known him - briefly or over many years - were challenged to be better, inspired to be our best, and made eternally grateful for such a quiet champion and a steady friend. I hope peace and meaning for you all in this profound loss, and I thank you for sharing Robert with us so generously.

    May 16, 2021 , 04:53 PM

  • Angie Stuckey

    Donna, I just read Robert's obituary in the paper and wanted to let you and other family how sorry I am for your loss. Please know that I am thinking and praying for consolation and peace for you all in this time.

    May 06, 2021 , 10:19 PM