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Robert Joseph “Doc” Schlembach (1924-2017)

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Dr. Robert Schlembach.

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Robert Joseph “Doc” Schlembach, a longtime pharmacy professor, adviser, and associate dean at University of Toledo, died Dec. 16 at Hospice of Northwest Ohio, South Detroit Avenue. He was 93.

He had been in ill health for the last six or eight months, his sons Tom and Chuck Schlembach said.

Mr. Schlembach began his career in education in 1954 when he became an assistant professor in the pharmacy program at UT, an institution he wouldn’t retire from until 1999 at the age of 75.

In 1963 he reached full professor status, and in 1976 he became interim dean before being named associate dean in 1977. He was named one of four outstanding teachers by the university in 1967.

Chuck Schlembach, now a pharmacist in Montgomery, Texas, had his father as an instructor when he was going through pharmacy school at UT.

“There was a lot of pride in that,” he said. “He inspired me from the get-go.”

He remembers his father as an advocate for his students and said he always maintained a respectful demeanor in the classroom.

“He made sure that we all understood our role was very critical and not to undermine the importance of the role of pharmacy and good pharmacists in the care of patients,” Chuck said.

Mr. Schlembach served as associate dean through 1989 and was then awarded professor emeritus status. During his UT tenure, he advised countless first- and second-year pharmacy students, some of whom he steered toward other academic pursuits that better fit their abilities and goals, Tom Schlembach said.

“My dad had a special way with people. He understood them, he listened to them, and they trusted him,” Tom said.

Mr. Schlembach was named the university’s outstanding adviser in 1988. In a UT press release announcing the distinction, he said he never met a student he couldn’t talk to.

“You must be available and make the advisee feel comfortable. You shouldn’t intimidate and you have to be a good listener,” he said in the 1988 release. “I’m not sure an adviser is born; you have to work at it.”

He was born Dec. 7, 1924 in Defiance to Alfred and Agnes Schlembach, graduated from Defiance High School, and served as a U.S. Army sergeant in World War II.

He graduated from the University of Toledo in 1949 and earned his master’s degree and doctorate degree from Purdue University in 1952 and 1956, respectively.

Throughout his career in education, Mr. Schlembach worked in various pharmacies across northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan. In 1966 he was named pharmacist of the Year by the Toledo Academy of Pharmacy.

He lived most of his life in West Toledo but most recently was living in Ohio Living Swan Creek. He was a member of Most Blessed Sacrament Parish in Toledo. He loved to golf, and his short game improved with age, Tom Schlembach said.

Surviving are his wife, the former Mary Imber whom he married Aug. 26, 1950; sons Tom and Chuck; daughters Theresa Mills and Jeanne Niklis; 11 grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be from 1 to 3 p.m. and 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Walker Funeral Home, Sylvania Township, with a rosary at 7:30 p.m.. Services will begin at 12:45 p.m. Wednesday at the funeral home followed by a mass at 1:30 p.m. at Most Blessed Sacrament Parish.

The family suggests tributes to Robert and Mary Schlembach Leadership Fund in care of the University of Toledo Foundation, the Most Blessed Sacrament Parish, or Hospice of Northwest Ohio.

Contact Sarah Elms at selms@theblade.com419-724-6103, or on Twitter @BySarahElms.

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