NEW BERN - Dr. Robert Eugene Thurber passed away peacefully on Friday, Feb. 15, 2013 at the Brookstone Living Center in Pollocksville.
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Dr. Thurber was born in Bay Shore, Long Island, N.Y., on Oct. 11, 1932. A passionate educator and researcher, he received his undergraduate degrees in biology and chemistry from Holy Cross College, Worchester, Mass., and degrees in physics and math and a master of science degree from Adelphi College in Garden City, N.Y. He went on to earn degrees in physical chemistry and statistics at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. He earned his Ph.D in physiology and biochemistry from the University of Kansas in Kansas City, Kan. He served honorably in the U.S. Army medical corps in Korea from 1954-56. He was employed as a research assistant at Iowa State University from 1961-62; a predoctoral fellow at the University of Kansas from 1962-64; associate professor at the Medical College of Virginia from 1964-69; and associate professor at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, Pa. from 1969-70. He was among a number of professionals who planned and opened the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. He began this work as chairman of the physiology department in 1970. Since 1977, when the first class of 28 students enrolled in the four-year Brody School of Medicine, the institution has grown dramatically in its teaching, research and patient care roles.
He was elected President of the North Carolina chapter of the American Heart Association in 1979 and belonged to the New York Academy of Science, American Physiological Society, Sigma Xi and the Institute of Society, Ethics and Life Sciences. He enjoyed golf, sailing, traveling and working in his yard. He could absolutely fix anything!
Dr. Thurber is survived by his wife and best friend Linda of New Bern; children, Robert, Joseph, and Karl; step children, Janet, Barbara, Karen and Robert; grandchildren, Robert III, Matthew, Travis, Brandon, Chad, Kramer, Kara, Karla, Logan, Heidi, Paige, Lia, Vinnie, Abby, and Bo; and great grandchildren Mason and Peyton.
Services will be held on Wednesday at Garber United Methodist Church in New Bern, beginning with visitation at 11 a.m. in the Morris Hall atrium, followed by a celebration of life in the sanctuary. He will be buried with military honors at the Coastal Carolina State Veterans Cemetery in Jacksonville.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Community Home Care and Hospice, 1319 S. Glenburine Road, Suite A, New Bern, NC 28562 and/or Brook Stone Living Center, 8890 US Hwy 17 S, Pollocksville, NC 28573. Online condolences may be directed to www.pollockbest.com.
Published in The Daily Reflector on Feb. 17, 2013