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DePauw mourns passing of professor Robert Stark 

Dr. Bob Stark

Dr. Robert Stark, a long term biology professor and department chair at DePauw University as well as a devoted father and grandfather, passed away on November 27th in Tucson, Arizona.

He died as a result of complications with pneumonia. Towards the end of his life, Bob continued to perfect his golf game and enjoy a variety of conversation topics over coffee with men from his “Breakfast Club.” He had traveled extensively across the world and led golf cart tours for his grandchildren in search of desert wildlife. On occasion, he could be found doing a mean tango with his wife at a local ballroom.

Despite a new life among javelinas and saguaros, one had only to spot his stuffed rattlesnake at the door and remember Bob’s decades-long haven as a biology professor at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. There, he flourished in his pursuit of scientific inquiry. He loved sharing his passion for neurobiology, taxidermy, and marine life with students. Known as an encouraging mentor, a fair department chair, and a devoted teacher, he capped off his career at DePauw as a recipient of the prestigious Mr. and Mrs. Fred C. Tucker Jr. Distinguished Career Award in acknowledgement of his outstanding service.

Robert James Stark was born in Washington. D.C. on June 6, 1945. His father had just returned from serving in Germany during World War II and would ultimately spend a large part of his career working for Boeing. His mother worked in real estate.

As the eldest of four brothers and two sisters, Robert often forayed into the nearby woods with his siblings in exploration of wildlife while also helping his mom care for the younger kids. He, in turn, illustrated a rare mix of responsibility and childlike adventure in life—a trait that young people, including his children, grandchildren and neighbors, would cherish.

Lured by a “nice sounding name” and a fluke series of events, Robert ended up at Westminster College in Pennsylvania where, as fate would have it, he met his future wife and embarked on a 60 partnership with his “best friend.” He obtained his MA, PhD and post doctorate in biology at Temple University in Philadelphia. Besides his wife, Eva Mae Stark, he is survived by his daughter Susan, son David, his three
brothers, two sisters and five grandchildren.

Beyond sharing a passion for discovery and experimentation with his students as well as numerous “tall tales” with his family, Robert modeled what a present, caring, and committed individual looks like to attentive, successive generations.

Thank you to professor Stark's family for providing this obituary. 


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