Maybe there are no saints in Judaism, but Robert Dobrow sure came close. An absolute mensch of the highest order, Bob died suddenly on Tuesday, Oct. 25th, leaving his family and many friends feeling both broken and amazingly grateful that such a man had graced their lives. The youngest son of Barnett and Minna Dobrow, Robert was, from an early age, lit with enthusiasm, a sense of adventure, and a ravenous desire to explore many interests and passions. Growing up in Greenwich Village in New York City, he developed a lifelong interest in baseball. A southpaw, he played stickball in the city and rooted hard for the Brooklyn Dodgers (though in Connecticut his allegiance would shift to the Boston Red Sox). His vibrant intellect was apparent from the start. He excelled at Stuyvesant High School, skipping a couple of grades and graduating at 16. From there he went on to study at Columbia University and Harvard Medical School. He became an enormously respected cardiologist, ultimately becoming the President of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Heart Association
. As a physician, he was both old school-making housecalls as his father used to do in New York-and forever current, keeping up with all sorts of medical innovations. He was widely sought out for medical advice at family get-togethers for the extended Gersten/Bailey/Dobrow clans in West Hartford and beyond-all the way up to Naples Maine, where he was the doctor for Camp Takajo. Long after retirement, he was hired as a medical consultant at Connecticut Health Network. The man was, in every sense, a doctor of the human heart. A great listener, a ravenous reader, he had an open and active mind that never quit. He was a Civil War and history buff who cherished good conversation. His house became a veritable museum of antiques, all of which had unique stories that he told with great zest and spirit. He remained deeply active in social causes throughout his life, in recent years volunteering for Probus, a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of intellectually and developmentally disabled individuals. His love for his family was monumental, ever-present, and utterly unconditional. He was a fiercely loyal and loving husband to the former Judith Bailey for more than 58 years until her death in 2020. He absolutely reveled in the achievements of his children, Charlie, Nancy, and Bill, and his grandchildren, Ben, Maddi, Julia, and Grace. He became a second father to his daughters-in-law, Lynn and Elizabeth. His sibling bond with his older brother Alan was a glorious thing to behold. And over the last year he was an adoring and devoted partner to his companion, Jean Meyer: second-chance love for both of them that melted everyone’s hearts. People always felt important in his presence. He had a way of shining the light of his attention on you that felt incredibly supportive. As his son, Bill, recently reflected, “He lived for you fulfilling yourself.” He may or may not have been the inspiration for the song “Forever Young,” but he sure lived that spirit. He loved to go fishing with his children and grandchildren. He delighted in making elaborate ice cream desserts for guests-whether or not they were requested. He lived every single day with a certain sparkle, a certain spirit, a non-stop supply of positive energy and kindness. That all adds up at least to mensch of the highest order, and probably to saint, but whatever the title, this much is indisputable: this great man lived a beautiful life. Memorial donations can be made to The American Heart Association
, Connecticut Chapter; Probus Greater Hartford; or the Farmington Valley Jewish Congregation.