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Robert M. Dowben, MD

April 6, 1927 November 11, 2019
Robert M. Dowben, MD
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Obituary for Robert M. Dowben, MD
Dr. Robert M. Dowben of Providence, passed away peacefully on November 11 at age 92 surrounded by his loving family. He was blessed with 69 years of marriage to beloved wife Carla. He is survived by his three children and six grandchildren. Born in Philadelphia, Bob was the son of the late Morris and Zena Dowben.
Bob had a distinguished career as a physician, scientist and academician. He earned degrees from A.B., Haverford College, 1946; M.S. (Biochemistry) 1947, and M.D., University of Chicago, 1949. As a professor, Bob had faculty appointments at the University of Pennsylvania, Northwestern University, a joint professorship between The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Medical School, Brown University, University of Bergen Norway, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Dallas, and most recently again at Brown University as an emeritus Professor. He is the author of more than 150 scientific publications and four books regarding cell and muscle physiology. Bob received many accolades for his contributions to medicine and science including the University of Chicago Alumni Award for Exceptional Service, the National Foundation for Neuromuscular Disease Award, and served as a representative on the Baylor Research Foundation. Bob was named on eight patents and was a prolific writer on many topics beyond science and medicine well into his 80’s. Following his retirement from Brown University, he continued to mentor many graduate students, delighting in their successes and following their careers. In addition to Bob’s achievements as a medical research scientist, he had a lifelong appreciation of music and was an accomplished pianist.
He served as a Captain in the United States Air Force at the Air Force Medical College shortly after the Korean War. While serving, Bob conducted research at Los Alamos National Laboratory during the 1950s.
Bob is survived by wife Carla Dowben of Providence, children Peter Dowben, Ph.D., Jonathan Dowben, M.D. and Susan Day, M.S., together with six grandchildren, Lauren, Stephanie, Ashley, Sydney, Emily, and Michael who live in California, London, England, Alabama, Utah and Pennsylvania. Bob was preceded in death by his sister Shirley Novoseller. Bob’s numerous nieces and nephews live throughout the United States and in three foreign countries. Bob nurtured his family’s interests, including taking great joy in travels with his children and special trips abroad with his grandchildren.
There will be a private family burial. A memorial service is being planned for January. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Bob’s memory may be directed to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank (401) 942-6325 or Crossroads (401) 521-2255.
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