Robert Pollack, 94, scientist, professor and Navy veteran


(Jewish Exponent via JTA) —Robert Pollack was a scientist, author, Navy veteran and former chair of the department of biochemistry at Temple University’s School of Dentistry (now Kornberg School of Dentistry) who grew up speaking Yiddish at home with his immigrant Jewish parents in West Philadelphia.

Pollack graduated from West Philadelphia High School and was drafted into the Navy Hospital Corps during World War II. After the war, he earned three degrees in chemistry and bacteriology at Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Sciences (now University of the Sciences). He married Lydia Aureli in 1952.

Pollack earned a doctorate in biochemistry and nutrition from the University of Tennessee and moved to Andorra with his wife and daughters. He worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture before becoming a teacher and researcher at Temple, a job he loved and kept for 25 years.

“He just always stayed so involved,” his daughter Janine Shahinian said. “When he was a professor he was on all these committees, he was writing grant proposals and doing research.”

Shahinian said her father cared greatly about his students and was always happy to encounter former pupils on the street.

Linda Pollack-Johnson said her father stayed connected to his family, including far-flung relatives, until the end of his life, when he was in isolation. During the lockdown, he participated in a worldwide family reunion on Zoom orchestrated by his daughters.

He died of COVID-19 on Dec. 1 at Cathedral Village in Philadelphia. He was 94.

This article was originally published in the Jewish Exponent as part of its COVID-19 obituary coverage.

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