Robert Roy Pavlis
1941 - 2018
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Robert Roy Pavlis, age 76, of Girard, Kansas, passed away suddenly on November 30, 2017, in Pelham, Alabama. Robert was born April 10, 1941, in Geddes, South Dakota, to William and Stella (Bogenhagen) Pavlis. He attended the first five grades in a small country school. After that he attended school in Geddes, South Dakota, and graduated valedictorian in his class of 22 in 1959. After high school he attended the South Dakota School of Mines for one year before transferring to Purdue University where he graduated with a B.S. degree in chemistry in 1963. He then attended graduate school at Pennsylvania State University, where he received his Ph.D. in chemistry in 1969 for his work on halogenated organic compounds.
He joined the faculty of the College of the Virgin Islands (CVI) in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, in 1969. While there he worked with undergraduates on organic chemistry research and collaborated with colleagues in Biological Sciences on unusual compounds found in some tropical marine organisms. In 1986, he moved to Kansas, joining the faculty of the Department of Chemistry at Pittsburg State University (PSU) in Pittsburg, Kansas. He retired and became Professor Emeritus at PSU in 2007. Professor Pavlis was a well respected teacher who impacted the lives many of students his during his 37 years of teaching at CVI and PSU. Many maintained personal connections with him long after completion of their degrees.
His breadth of knowledge was remarkable. In addition to his specialty in organic chemistry he taught physical chemistry, biochemistry, and polymer chemistry. He also taught courses in physics, astronomy, and general physical science. He was an accomplished computer programmer and worked extensively on ways to improve software for analysis of molecular structure. He had a long fascination with a range of scientific instrumentation.
Robert had many hobbies. He enjoyed photography his entire life. He maintained his interest in photography until his last days and was working on a camera system for microscopes in Alabama at the time of his death. Robert always went into all his hobbies in a big way and enjoyed collecting a range of things. Some of his other hobbies were tropical fish, birds (mostly parrots), rebuilding microscopes, astronomy, clocks of various unique designs, and Aladdin lamps. Later in life he became a coffee aficionado with special coffees, roasting equipment, and espresso machines to rival a Starbucks.
In his later years he became an avid bicyclist. He became a regular fixture in Girard, where he took laps around the town nearly every morning. He proudly talked of his virtual travels on his bicycle to exotic spots around the world. His tally shows he went around Girard enough times to circle the globe more than once.
Robert is survived by three brothers and one sister: Roger (Karen) Pavlis, Hudson, WI; Joyce (Everett) Tollerud, Eagan, MN; Gary (Mary) Pavlis, Ellettsville, IN; Terry (Laura) Pavlis, El Paso, TX; and seven nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents William and Stella Pavlis.
A memorial service for Professor Pavlis will be held January 27, 2018, at 3 pm in McCray Hall on the campus of Pittsburg State University. Following the service there will be a reception in the lobby of Herkert-Wells Hall. A second small service for extended family and friends with internment of the ashes will be held in Charles Mix County, South Dakota in the spring.
Contributions can be made to Pittsburg State University in memory of Robert Pavlis to start the Robert Pavlis Memorial Scholarship.

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Published in Morning Sun on Jan. 20, 2018.
Memorial service
03:00 PM
McCray Hall on the campus of Pittsburg State University
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10 entries
January 14, 2021
At the suggestion of the Legacy site, I offer a reflection when near the anniversary of the memorial service at Pitt State.

I miss Robert's knowledge and his stories. He was such a worldly person but also grounded, locally to his community and friends. Robert's love of coffee is how I first encountered him and I thoroughly enjoyed having discussions with him about that topic. I wish I could roll back time and have the opportunity to spend more time with Robert, to get to hear more of his stories. Condolences once again to his siblings, Roger, Joyce, Gary and Terry.
Dennis Sullivan
September 17, 2018
Bob Pavlis and my husband, Bob Doerr, were great friends over the years. We stayed at his Home away from home in Alabama. (I'm not sure it was Alabama, but I think so) And at his home in Kansas. He made us a meal to remember, Delicious, and set the table beautifully with his best china. And was such a wonderful host , so interesting to talk to, and so much fun. I think Bob was my husband's best friend. He spoke of him so often through the years. They had so much in common, so many memories. My husband, Bob Doerr died in 2011. ........ Remembering Bob Pavlis with love. Mary Doerr Fountain City, Wi.
Mary Doerr
June 17, 2018
We were neighbors of the Pavlis family on the farm south of Geddes. Robert was close to my age and I'd walk over to visit and play. I babysat for the infant twins when Stella went to 4-H camp with some other kids. Gary and Terry came down with measles while I was there and Stella had to come home early! Robert was always reading and I nagged him to help me with the babies. Robert was so intelligent and had so many interests. I really enjoyed all of them as neighbors.
Shirlie Aase/Hoag
April 11, 2018
I will never forget Dr Pavlis when he taught me and my wife organic chemistry @ PSU. Grief can beard, but our special memories help us cope. Remembering you and your loved one today and always. Love and Elsie, South Africa.
Lovemore tambaoga
February 22, 2018
My condolences to the family and friends of Robert Pavlis. So sad to learn of his passing.
He will be fondly remembered by many in the coffee world for his contributions to our understanding.
Dan Metcalf
February 22, 2018
Remembering Dr Pavlis's contributions to the coffee community:
January 25, 2018
As a reader of the microscopy web articles, I admired Robert's work and contribution. What I am reading about his life impresses me even more. May his soul rest his piece. My condolesence to his family. Doron from Israel.
January 24, 2018
Mary and I were Roberts next door neighbors since he moved to Girard. We enjoyed listening to him expound on his current interests, which were many an varied. He would often take pictures of Mary's flower garden and collect a few buckets of "fertilizer" from our pony lot. What an interesting man. We will miss him.
Dennis Crocker
January 22, 2018
Robert was one of the first people I met when I moved to Girard 13 years ago and we were friends ever since. He was my neighbor, I often took care of his birds when he went on trips. We took several bike rides together and managed to ride to Cherokee 4 or 5 times. I am an early morning walker and our paths would often cross as he was riding his bike. We also sang in the Arma Community Choir together. Our last experience together I invited him to a butterfly migration lecture at PSU. The last time I talked to him was Thanksgiving Day, he called me from Alabama. Rest in peace my dear friend, till we meet again someday.
Wendy Strukel
January 22, 2018
Dr. Bob demonstrating one of his espresso machines at a Pittsburg Coffee Club meeting (Oct. 13, 2012)
I will never forget Dr. Bob as we called him in the Pittsburg Coffee Club. I am one of the leaders of the PCC and from the first time I met Dr. Bob, I could tell that he had a love for coffee. Couple that with his love of the sciences and his love of coffee was passionate. He would tell us stories of his travels to far away lands and how interesting the cultures were. Coffee was something that connected us but Dr. Bob was a wise sage about many topics. We would have our club meetings in different places and Dr. Bob volunteered to have a meeting at his house in Girard. We all were again impressed with his depth of knowledge of many things, science, chemistry, coffee, birds, clocks, etc. He had quite a collection of clocks (of which I enjoy too) and he toured us around his house telling us about the different clocks he had bought and repaired/rebuilt through the years. I am so sorry to hear of his passing as I really did look forward to seeing him when we had our coffee gatherings. He will be missed by many and I express my deep sorrow for his family.
Dennis Sullivan
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