Robert Gilbert Jr.
Posted: October 9, 2022
Robert Irvine Gilbert, Jr. died at his home in Memphis, TN, on September 29, 2022.
Born on September 10, 1944, in Gainesville, FL, to the late Robert and Mary Gilbert, the family moved to Columbus in 1954 when Bob Sr. became a professor at MUW. Bob Jr. was a “little merchant”, delivering papers for The Commercial Dispatch, then becoming Assistant Circulation Manager while a senior in high school. He also enjoyed playing the snare drums in the Lee High School Band and won the state science fair twice.
A true lifelong learner. Bob earned a bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University, a master’s from the University of Alabama, and a PhD from the University of Massachusetts in physical anthropology. After teaching at Mississippi State University and the University of Southern Mississippi, Bob chose to make his home in Memphis. He was a realtor for many years with Sowell and Co. Throughout his life, Bob also maintained close ties with friends in Columbus.
Bob enjoyed being a part of the lively Memphis arts scene, particularly the symphony and theater, in the company of his numerous close friends. A lover of classical music and STEM- related books, Bob could often be found haunting music and book stores.
Bob loved to travel. He enjoyed Western and Eastern Europe, New Zealand, and Costa Rica. On the first weekend in May each year, he could be found in Pilsen, Czech Republic, for the annual Liberation Festival which honors the American GIs who freed then Czechoslovakia from the Nazis in May, 1945. Bob’s father was one of those liberators.
A cultured gentleman, Bob was renowned for his intellect, wit, curiosity, and for the generosity of spirit that led him to support a number of causes dear to his heart, including helping to establish an endowed chair at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. He also established a fund to benefit the teachers and students at MSMS. For years, he presided over the Memphis Board of Realtors Professional Standards Committee to resolve disputes and promote professional ethics. He also participated as a fundraiser for WKNO radio.
Memorial donations may be sent to the Columbus Lowndes Humane Society, the Gilbert-Bryan Fund of the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science Foundation, the UMMC Gilbert-Willis Chair of Neurology, or the Starkville Symphony. Information about a celebration of life service will be released at a later date.