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Robert Eric Greenberg

1929 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
Robert Eric Greenberg Obituary
Greenberg, Robert Eric

Dr. Robert Greenberg, age 86, died peacefully by his wife's side in Albuquerque on Wednesday, December 16, 2015. He will be remembered for his passion for life, learning, travel, his wife and family, and advocating for child rights both domestically and abroad.

Born in 1929, Bob hailed from St. Joseph, Missouri, where his dedication to social change began early with his organization of a school walk-out due to excessive green bean usage in the cafeteria. He completed his undergraduate education at Stanford University and in 1953 received his M.D. degree from the University of California San Francisco, where he was awarded the prestigious Gold Headed Cane by his peers as the top student in his graduating class. After conducting pediatric training at Children's Hospital in Detroit, where he and a co-resident successfully desegregated the hospital, he became a postdoctoral fellow of pediatric endocrinology at State University of New York at Syracuse. He then spent a year conducting endocrine physiology research at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden. He was recruited to Stanford University to serve as the director of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism. While at Stanford he met the love of his life, Maggie, a pediatric nurse, and they married in 1969. Shortly thereafter he and Maggie moved to Los Angeles, where Bob served as the first chair of Pediatrics at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Hospital/Charles R. Drew Medical School. During his tenure he recruited outstanding faculty members who helped him develop a wide spectrum of community-based child health and educational services.

In 1976, Bob and his family moved to Albuquerque, where he became the chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of New Mexico. He received countless honors, awards, and grants throughout a career that combined clinical medicine, teaching, biomedical research, administration, and extensive public policy and advocacy efforts. In 1984 he co-founded the Coalition for Children, a New Mexico child advocacy organization. After his retirement from the university, Bob and Maggie made several international trips volunteering with American Jewish World Service and other organizations, and had many more adventures. In fact, he never fully "retired" and was actively working on professional projects entailing new skill sets until his last days.

Bob was a doting husband, who, on his very last day was planning a surprise getaway for Maggie's upcoming birthday. They shared a tremendous love story, married for 47 years, and a passion for public health advocacy, parenting, education, and travel. Together they raised four wonderful children, Adam John, Nina, Jared Matt, and Tobi, whom they have loved fervently and continue to support in their respective careers and personal journeys. In addition to his storied career, rich family life, and numerous cherished friendships, Bob was a gifted singer who lent his powerful baritone voice to the UNM Chorus for many years, an avid golfer who lamented that he could "only" play nine holes the week before his passing, and a somewhat indiscriminate sports fan. His long history of political activism, always centered on efforts to promote equity and ease societal suffering, ranged from his attendance of Martin Luther King, Jr's 1963 March on Washington to his and Maggie's recent stint of co-leadership with the local chapter of Progressive Democrats of America.

The number of individuals whom Bob inspired to pursue lives guided by the principle of serving others, especially those most in need; who counted him as a personal, professional, or parental role model; who called him a best friend, second father, or honorary uncle; whose hearts were warmed by his gentle smile, raucous laughter, and famous bear hugs, cannot be estimated. He served as a solid and soulful emotional rock and moral compass for so many. Bob was preceded in death by his beloved sister Jean Fargo and his nephew Bobby. He will be profoundly missed by his wife and four children and their spouses Leticia and Richard; niece Nancy and nephew Dan Fargo and their families; grandchildren Sean and Michelle; brother-in-law Ken Henderson and family, sister-in-law Sandi Henderson and family, and newest grandchildren by marriage, Chris and Beth Tanksley and Isabela and Veronica Livingstone.

A celebration of Bob's life will be announced at a later date.

In lieu of flowers please send donations to New Mexico Voices for Children at 625 Silver Ave. SW, Suite 195, Albuquerque, NM 87102, (505) 244-9505, www.nmvoices.org, or American Jewish World Service, ajws.org.
Published in Albuquerque Journal on Dec. 27, 2015
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