2007 in the FSU Biological Science History project

2007 In the Department of Biological Science at Florida State University (updated 4 Dec 07)

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ROBERT B. SHORT, 1920-2007

Dr. Robert Brown Short Dr. Robert Brown Short, 87, who retired as Professor Emeritus at Florida State University, Department of Biological Science, died Saturday, November 24, 2007. The service will be at 10 a.m. EST Monday, December 10, at the Gallery of the Parry Center at Westminster Oaks, 4449 Meandering Way, Tallahassee, Fla. A reception will follow in the Fireside Lounge of the Parry Center. Bevis Funeral Home Tallahassee is handling arrangements. Memorial contributions should be made to the Robert B. Short Scholarship in Zoology, c/o FSU Foundation, P.O. Box 3062739, Tallahassee, FL 32306-2739.

Dr. Short was born in Changsha, China, to missionary parents and spent his childhood in Harrisburg and Port Royal, Pennsylvania. He was the second child in a family of two boys and three girls. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree (magna cum laude) from Maryville College, Tennessee, in 1941 and then remained in Tennessee for three years to teach at the Sewannee Military Academy and at the Virginia Episcopal School in Lynchburg. He began work on a master's degree in biology at the University of Virginia Mountain Lake Biological Station and completed this degree in 1945 at the campus in Charlottesville, Virginia. It was there that he met Lavinia Mullinnix, who became his wife and loving companion for 51 years. His interest in parasitology developed there and continued at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he obtained his Ph.D. degree in zoology (Phi Beta Kappa) in 1950 under the guidance of Professor George R. LaRue. He joined the faculty of Florida State University in Tallahassee in 1950, and began to raise a family. He achieved a professorship within the Department of Biological Science in 1957, and during four decades of service at FSU he received numerous distinctions, including the Association of Southeastern Biologists Meritorious Teaching Award in 1980.He was an active participant in both the Southeastern and the American Societies of Parasitologists, and the Association of Southeastern Biologists and served as president for each of these organizations. In 1990, after a distinguished career, he retired from Florida State University as Professor Emeritus.

Dr. Short will be remembered in his career not only as a prolific research scientist but also as a teacher who truly cared about his students, both those he supervised and encouraged as they obtained their master's and Ph.D. degrees and those in the classrooms. He was a humble man with a keen sense of humor. He will be remembered by his children as a loving father who taught by example. He was a generous man who used his hobby of woodworking throughout his life to build many items for local schools and disadvantaged children. During his retirement years he became very active in the local Optimist Club, and this is also when he found his passion for woodturning. He and Lavinia were longtime members of Trinity United Methodist Church and the Betty Phifer Sunday School Class. Throughout his time in Tallahassee he was an avid FSU baseball fan, largely spurred by his experience as a pitcher for Maryville College.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Lavinia M. Short, who died December 19, 1998. Following her passing, he met Margaret "Maggie" Dellenbach who became his companion and loving wife for the past 7 years. Surviving are his wife, Margaret D. Short of Tallahassee; daughters, Sally S. Jue (husband Dean) of Tallahassee and Rebecca S. Pruett (husband Philip) of Crawfordville; son, R. Timothy Short of St. Petersburg; grandchildren, April L. Jue of Madison, Wis., Heather J. Vaught (husband Daniel) of Ithaca, N.Y., Robert T. Short and Anders W. Short of St. Petersburg; and sisters, Jane S. Hower of Elliottsburg, Pa., and C. May Lootens (husband Harold) of Aberdeen, Md. The family wishes to express special appreciation to his many friends and the staff at Westminster Oaks.

This page is part of the Departmental History Project of the Department of Biological Science at Florida State University. Can you help us fill in the blanks? If you were once a student here, or a member of our faculty or staff, we'd love to hear from you. Send an e-mail to thistle@bio.fsu.edu, a fax to (850) 644-9829, or snail-mail to Dr. Anne B. Thistle, Editor, Department of Biological Science, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306-1100. And thanks!