Robert Todd Carroll
1945 - 2016
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Robert Todd Carroll, age 71, passed away peacefully in Davis, California, August 25, 2016, from pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer, a rare carcinoma affecting fewer than 3 in a million. After diagnosis, he became an advocate for research and education about this uncommon disease. He was born May 18, 1945 in Joliet, Illinois to Robert J. and Dionysia Carroll and moved to Ocean Beach, California where he graduated from University of San Diego High School, lettering in baseball and football and making many lasting friendships. Bob attended the University of Notre Dame, where he met his future wife and became a lifelong fan of the "Fighting Irish." He received a PhD in Philosophy from UC San Diego and taught Philosophy and Critical Thinking at Sacramento City College for over 30 years. He loved engaging with and challenging his students and colleagues, as well as giving lectures across the country on topics related to skepticism. A prolific writer, Bob is best known for his contributions in the field of skepticism. In 1994, he published one of the world's first web-based books, The Skeptic's Dictionary, which was published in print in 2003 and translated into several languages including Spanish, Dutch, Japanese, Slovak, Korean, Russian, and just last year, Chinese. His Skeptic's Dictionary website continues to attract more than 400,000 visitors a month. Bob loved to travel and had a particular fondness for Ireland, returning many times, relishing the music, the people, and the deep beauty of the land. He also loved the game of golf, a source of good friendships and camaraderie. He enjoyed the Davis Golf Course as much as courses he played in Ireland, Scotland, and Hawaii. Ask a skeptic if it was the luck of the Irish that he shot 5 holes-in-one over the years. A voracious reader with a passion for music, especially Bob Dylan, he also enjoyed many camping trips, hikes, and travels with his family. He leaves behind a legacy of intellectual curiosity and a love for music, the outdoors, nature, and reading that continues to enrich the lives of his children and grandchildren, all of whom pursue the same with equal passion. Although his many intellectual and recreational interests kept him busy, Bob's family and grandchildren always came first. Loved for his strong but gentle manner, his quick wit, his integrity, his storytelling, and his songwriting, he will be remembered and greatly missed by his family, his dear friends, the skeptical community, and by the many people whose lives he changed through The Skeptic's Dictionary. He asked the hard questions and accepted that reasonable probabilities rather than absolute certainties provide the most useful and accurate information in matters of substance. Bob is survived by Leslie, his wife of 48 years, daughters Jennifer Ruhe (Rodney Ruhe) and Allison Carroll (Daniel Dreilinger), and grandchildren Olivia and Flynn Dreilinger. He is also survived by sisters Pat Stafford, Mary Gismondi, and Joe Ann La Rue. He was preceded in death by his parents and nephews Aram Carroll and Nicholas La Rue. A memorial will be held in late October in Davis to honor and remember the father, friend, and scholar who freely shared his vast knowledge, belief in critical thinking, and actively inquiring mind with warmth, intelligence, and humor. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Northern California CarciNET Community would be greatly appreciated: NorCal Carcinet Community: 946 N Ripon Rd; Ripon, CA 95366. (

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Published in The Sacramento Bee on Oct. 2, 2016.
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4 entries
May 18, 2017
I was going to call you to wish you a Happy Birthday and just learned of your passing and of all the wonderful things you did in your life! I am so proud of you ... it looks like you had a wonderful life and family...I wish our families would have met... we have the same interests and our oldest daughter was a Rose of Tralee in Ireland!! Go fighting Irish!!
I always thought of you on your birthday (remember I called on your 50?)
Life is precious...those days when we were young will never be in peace my friend...
Shandon Gayle Mullen Eales
October 7, 2016
We are saddened by his passing but inspired by his determination and love of life.
Joanne Moylan-Aube
October 5, 2016
Bob educated and inspired numerous people during his life. I was proud to call him a friend. He will be missed. Goodbye, Bob.
Karen Stollznow
October 2, 2016
Bob will be missed by all the members of the NorCalCarciNet group.
Spike Redding
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