Michael Weintraub, M.D.

Obituary of Michael Weintraub, M.D.

Dr. Michael Weintraub, 78, died peacefully at home surrounded by his loving family on August 21, 2018.

Born to Beatrice Sindell Weintraub and Samuel Weintraub on November 22, 1939 in Cleveland, Mike grew up surrounded by grandmothers, aunts, uncles, and cousins. His mother died when he was nine. Upon his father's death six years later, his brother Ronald was Mike’s guardian until he graduated from Cleveland Heights High School in 1957. 

Michael received two degrees from the University of Pennsylvania: a B.S. in Chemistry in 1961 and an M.D. in 1965. Mike moved to Los Angeles for his internship in internal medicine at UCLA. He and Robin Wallbert were introduced by their siblings, and married in December 1965.

In June 1966, Mike and Robin joined the Peace Corps for Mike to serve as a physician in West Africa. After serving in Conakry, Guinea and Lomé, Togo, they traveled the world and returned to Los Angeles in 1968 for Mike to complete his residency.

In 1970, Mike and Robin moved to Rochester, NY for a fellowship in clinical pharmacology. They loved the Rochester community and put down roots, welcoming two daughters, Jessica and Debra. For over twenty years, Mike practiced clinical pharmacology at Strong Memorial Hospital at the University of Rochester, teaching, leading clinical trials, editing medical journals, and mentoring fellows from around the world. From 1980-1981, the family lived in Paris, where Mike studied the French drug approval process. Moving from academia to public service in 1992, Mike became the Director of the FDA’s Office of Drug Evaluation. After six years in the Washington, D.C. area, Mike and Robin returned to Rochester, where he worked as a consultant. 

An early advocate for human rights, Mike joined the March on Washington and heard Dr. King’s "I Have a Dream" speech firsthand. Throughout their marriage, he and Robin practiced philanthropy and volunteerism. Together, they created a University of Pennsylvania Medical School scholarship fund, and supported the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, Jewish Senior Life, the Eastman School of Music's youth piano competition, Garth Fagan Dance, and other Rochester arts and social justice organizations. 

Michael especially delighted in spending time with his wife, children, grandchildren, and good friends. He infused his life with curiosity, ritual and adventure: visiting a field of buckwheat in bloom nearby, family outings to see apple orchards and the lilacs, and travel. A voracious and broad reader himself, Mike read to his grandchildren at every opportunity. He enjoyed live classical music and jazz; movies and plays; and the Rochester Red Wings, Buffalo Bills, and Cleveland Indians. Mike began gardening in his 30s, roller skating in his 40s, riding a scooter in his 60s, and practicing yoga in his 70s. He rode his bicycle and swam until his death. A keen observer of the natural world, Mike pointed out flowers, birds, butterflies, and hidden gems that others would have missed. 

Mike believed that everyone has the capacity to create art. A scientist and an artist, Mike made beautiful stained glass for almost forty years; his latest project - waiting only to be soldered - currently sits on his workbench.

He encouraged others to learn and grow beyond themselves, and had the happy trait of living fully in the moment while wisely planning for the future. When their daughters were still young, he encouraged Robin to pursue her intellectual and professional dreams. When Robin accidentally threw away a chapter of her dissertation, Mike heroically jumped into the dumpster to retrieve it. His intellect, sense of humor, wit, kindness, generosity, open-mindedness, and determination were unparalleled, an eternal source of comfort and inspiration to his family and friends.

Survived by his beloved wife of 52 years, Robin; daughters Jessica and Debra; son-in-law Isaac; adored grandchildren Dylan, Maya, and Jacob; brother Ronald and sister-in-law Diane, brother-in-law and sister-in-law Rodney and Carol Bloom; nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews; and countless cousins and friends.

Memorial services will be held Sunday, September 2nd at 11:30 AM in the Main Sanctuary of Temple B'rith Kodesh (2131 Elmwood Ave).

Contributions in Mike’s memory may be made to the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra or Jewish Senior Life Foundation. 

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