Robert Ferree Feltman, M.D. passed away on September 7, 2020 in his home in Coral Gables. He was 93 years old.
Bob was born on January 7, 1927 in Havre de Grace, MD, the son of Samuel and Madeleine Brown Feltman. He was raised in Havre de Grace and the Washington D.C. area, where his father worked as a mathematician for the United States Department of the Army in the Pentagon as a civilian. Bob was proud of his father’s role as the liaison between the U.S. Army and the developers of ENIAC, the first electronic computer and his role designing defense systems in support of the U.S. Armed Forces in World War II. Bob’s parents and grandfather were tragically killed in an auto accident in 1951. Samuel Feltman was posthumously inducted into the Ordinance Hall of Fame for his service to his country.
Bob graduated from Western Reserve Academy and enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1944. His brother David was already serving as a bombardier in Europe Bob spent the remainder of World War II studying engineering at Lehigh and Clemson Universities and was stationed for a time in Boca Raton.
After his discharge from the service, he enrolled at George Washington University and with just three years of undergraduate credits he was accepted into the George Washington University Medical School. He graduated third in his class in 1952.
While completing his residency in radiology at Philadelphia General Hospital, Bob was captivated by a nurse who, in his words, “looked just like Audrey Hepburn.” Despite a rule against residents and nurses dating, Bob arranged an introduction. In 1953, Bob married Wanda Nottingham in her birthplace of West Virginia.
Bob and Wanda moved to Canton, Ohio to start his practice as a radiologist. Seeking warmer temperatures and less snow, they moved with their growing family to Miami in 1960, where Bob joined the faculty of the University of Miami School of Medicine. In 1967 Bob became the Chairman of Radiology at Cedars of Lebanon Hospital now University of Miami Hospital. He served 30 years as the Chairman of Radiology and served as Chief of the Medical Staff in 1980.
Bob and Wanda settled down in the area now known as Pinecrest and their family grew to five children; Doug, Mark, Madeleine, David and Paul. With a sense of adventure and wanting to show their children the United States, each summer Bob and Wanda would fly the family to a different region of the country, rent a camper, and travel for a month through several neighboring states and Canada visiting national parks and museums. At home, Bob and Wanda regularly hosted large parties for family and friends that included dancing, music of all forms, and pool parties. The family was also active in boating and enjoyed skiing in the area waters and snorkeling on the reefs off the Florida Keys and the Bahamas. Bob was also active in sports his whole life and his pursuits included swimming, running, tennis, and weightlifting. He instilled his love of sports in his children. Bob was widowed in 1976.
Bob married Sylvia (Sissi) Scher (nee Perlman), also widowed, in 1978. Bob embraced Sissi’s family, adding Herb, Steve, and Carolyn as children. Bob frequently noted how lucky he had been to have found two such wonderful wives. Despite the challenges of blending two very different families, Bob and Sissi spent 42 joyous years together, traveling around the country and the world. They enjoyed socializing with friends, watching their family grow. They loved entertaining in their beautiful home with their annual open house sometimes growing to over 200 guests. They continued their love of sports, with tennis taking pride of place alongside workouts in Bob’s home gym.
Bob retired from full-time practice in 1997. He continued to serve on the teaching faculty of the University of Miami giving regular conferences to the Fellows in Gastroenterology. In 2007, Bob’s family and friends established the Robert F. Feltman Gastrointestinal Educational Fund at the Miller School of Medicine. The fund provides travel expenses for GI fellows to attend research conferences.
Despite numerous tragic events, Bob lived life with optimism, warmth and a wonderful sense of humor. Bob was most happy when surrounded by his family. He loved books, music, and attending the symphony and theater. He continued weight training into his nineties.
Bob is survived by his wife Sissi, children Douglas Feltman (Gwenn McLaughlin), Coral Gables; Mark Feltman (Jennifer), Stuart; Madeleine Chambless (the late Nelson Chambless), Coral Gables; Herb Scher, New York; Steven Scher (Eva Ginsburg), Urbana, IL; David Feltman (Lilly), Fort Mill, SC; Paul Feltman (Linda), Palmetto Bay; and Carolyn (Phillip) Perelmuter, Needham, MA. Also surviving are 16 grandchildren: Gregory Feltman (Lexie), Chicago, IL; Laura Feltman (Trevor Dunlap), Pemberton, SC; Brian Feltman (Lauren Gillis), Tallahassee; Patrick Feltman Tessa), Stuart; Cathleen Chambless, South Miami; Melissa Chambless-Poncy (Sanders) , Denver; Fred, Malkah, and Lani Scher, Urbana, IL; Maggie and Anali Feltman, Fort Mill, SC; Chloe Majonica and Samuel Brown Feltman, Palmetto Bay; Ben and Marla Perelmuter, New York, and, Jake Perelmuter, Needham, MA.
In lieu of flowers or other remembrances, the family respectfully requests that donations in Bob’s memory be made to the Robert F. Feltman Gastrointestinal Education Fund at the Miller School of Medicine, PO Box 01690 (R-100), Miami, FL 33101
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