Robert E. Cone, PhD, son of Joseph Cone and Ruth Plotnick Cone, born on August 18, 1943 in Brooklyn NY, passed away on January 5, 2024 in Farmington, CT. Bob grew up in the shadow of Ebbets field although he was a lifelong Yankees fan. He received a B.S. in biology from Brooklyn College with a minor in “cafeteria”. It is there he met his best friend and loving wife of 57 years, Michele. They started their lives together when moving to Tallahassee, FL where he received a M.S in bacteriology at Florida State University. They moved to Ann Arbor, MI where he received a PhD in microbiology with an emphasis on immunology at the University of Michigan, (Go Blue!)
They continued their world travels moving to Melbourne, Australia where Bob did his postdoctoral work at the esteemed Walter and Eliza Hall Institute for Medical Research where he was mentored by Sir G.J.V. Nossal, MD PhD and Nobel Laureate Sir Macfarlane Burnet, MD PhD. He became a staff member and his work on T-Cell receptors with long-time friend and colleague, the late John Marchalonis PhD, was at the forefront of Immunology and became recognized years after first publication. He furthered his research at the Basel Institute for Immunology in Basel, Switzerland. Bob and Michele, along with their daughters Jennifer and Laura, moved to New Haven, CT where he took research and teaching positions in the departments of Pathology and Surgery at Yale University and directed the Histocompatibility Laboratory. He became the first director of a graduate program in immunology at Yale University. He later became the Director of the Graduate Program in Immunology at the University of Connecticut Health Center where he was a faculty member in the Department of Pathology. He received a public service award when serving as a Commissioner of the State of CT Commission of Medico-legal Investigation. Additionally, he served as a federal grant award consultant to the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the States of Connecticut, Florida and Arizona.
Bob dedicated his career to academic research and is credited with over 150 publications. He took great pride in seeing the success of his many students and postdoctoral fellows. His work provided new insights into the basis of some mechanisms that regulate immunity in addition to the nature of how the eye and nervous system regulate immunity, particularly during times of stress.
Bob’s celebrated career almost took a different path during his time singing in a folk band during his college years performing in NYC. He was a lifelong lover of music particularly bluegrass and folk and tried his hand at tenor banjo. Bob and Michele shared their love of travel together visiting spots from Tahiti to Vancouver. He loved to share his life, stories, and jokes with his beloved granddaughters Eleanor and Cordelia. He will be sorely missed and remembered by his family, friends and colleagues.
He is survived by his wife Michele, his daughters Jennifer Ruth, Laura Cone, their husbands Bill Ruth, Peter Plano and his son Josh, and granddaughters Eleanor and Cordelia.
The family would like to extend their grateful thanks to the University of Connecticut health center staff for their compassionate care.
In lieu of flowers, please send donaons to the American Associaon for the Advancement of Science, www.aaas.org/support or the charity of your choice. Legacy.com link Dr. Robert Cone Obituary (1943 – 2024) – Legacy Remembers