Dr. Robert W. Day
Dr. Robert W. Day passed away in his Seattle home on January 6,
2018 of lung cancer. Born in Framingham, MA in 1930, to Raymond and Mildred Day, Bob's keen intelligence, intellectual curiosity, and indefatigable drive lead to a life of singular accomplishment, dedicated to improving the lives of others.
He received his medical degree from the University of Chicago in 1956, his Masters and PhD in Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley in 1958 and 1962 respectively. In the years immediately following receiving his PhD, Bob was a visiting professor at both UCLA and the University of Michigan, and held the posts of Bureau Chief and Chief Deputy Director of the California Department of Public Health. After moving his family to Seattle in 1969, Bob served as Dean and professor at the University of Washington's School of Public Health and Community Medicine until 1982. He remained Dean Emeritus until his passing.
The centerpiece of Bob's career was the 16 years spent as President and Director of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. During his tenure at the Hutch, Bob was the visionary, and driving force behind the acquisition and development of the 15 acre parcel of land in South lake union that is now home to the Hutch's current 13 building complex, known as the Robert W. Day Campus. Also during his leadership of the Hutch, Bob was instrumental in the creation of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, the clinical care partner of the Hutch.
Although, at age 67, Bob stepped down from his leadership post at the Hutch, he never truly retired. He was later named Scientific Director of the International Consortium for Research on the Health Effects of Radiation, that studied the effects of the Chernobyl disaster, and co-authored a study on the disaster's effect on Childhood Leukemia. In 2005 Bob and his wife, C.J. Taylor-Day (who died in 2011 of ovarian cancer) founded the Science and Management of Addiction Foundation, which aimed to apply scientific methods to the battle to eliminate the disease of addiction in youth. Bob remained Chairman of SAMA until his passing.
In his later years Bob found the time to be Founder and Chairman for more than one biotech start-up. One of which, Orca Biosciences, pioneered diagnostic blood tests for early detection of cancer, and later merged with Epigenomics Ag, where Bob served as Chief Medical Officer. The full list of his professional associations and the boards, and councils on which he served is far too lengthy to reprint.
Bob will be remembered by his family and friends as a gracious, generous man, always deeply interested in what everyone was doing and always ready to help, while also always ready to tell a few stories of his own. He was a truly exceptional human being, and he leaves many, many people mourning the absence of Bob Day in the world.
He is survived by his and C.J. Taylor-Day's two daughters, Natalia Bennet, of Riverview, Florida, and Julia Webb of Mountlake Terrace, Washington; and also by his first wife, Jane Day and their daughter, Nate Tantum, of Quilcene, Washington, and their son Christopher Day, of Seattle, and two grandchildren, Kathleen Day, of San Francisco, California, and Thomas Day, of Seattle.
A Memorial Celebration will be held at 2:00 pm, Saturday, January 27th, at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, the Thomas Building.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to The Hutch or the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.
RIP Bob; you did well.
Published in The Seattle Times from Jan. 11 to Jan. 14, 2018.