The Adventist Forum chapter at Andrews University (Michiana Adventist Forum) suffered a sudden and unexpected loss recently when Arthur Robertson, MD, of Berrien Springs, Michigan, passed away in September. He had been a strong supporter of the Forum and a past president of the Michiana chapter.
The local chapter of the Association of Adventist Forums had flourished during the late 1970s and early ‘80s but then fell on hard times and stopped meeting. In the late 1990s, plans were laid to revive the chapter. These plans came to fruition during the 2003–04 school year and meetings resumed. Art was asked to head this revived chapter, and for about the next 12 years, he and I spent many a happy hour planning speakers, discussing topics, and solving logistical problems.
A brief look at his background highlights his varied interests. He had degrees in English, religion, and medicine. He specialized in pathology and worked at the National Institutes of Health early in his career, publishing over 30 academic research papers while there. He later moved to the Berrien Springs, Michigan, area and worked as a pathologist at a local hospital for many years, until his retirement. Among many other interests, he was fascinated by the heavens and engaged in a lifetime of studying the heavenly bodies, combining this interest with photography, wanting to record and share the beauty he saw.
A photograph Robertson shared on Facebook in February 2020.
James Hayward, PhD, retired biology professor, saw him as a “Renaissance man” and said, “As a fellow scientist and person of faith, I’ve always looked up to Art as a model Christian scholar and intellectual—one who was humble, brilliant, thoughtful, caring, creative, multi-talented—and most importantly, a person of the highest integrity. I will always remain grateful for his witness to what is good and honorable, for his kindly manner, for his beautiful prayers, for his stunning photographic images, for his concern for social and environmental justice, for his patriotism, for his loyalty to the church, for his gentle sense of humor, and most of all, for his warm friendship.”
I, too, was deeply enriched by my friendship with Art. He was the epitome of what I think a Forum member should be—intellectually curious and of impeccable integrity; not shy about tackling controversial topics; insistent on civil discourse while promoting a free and open exchange of ideas; respectful of other points of view; and supportive of the local and national Forum philosophically, theologically, and financially. David Grellmann, MD, a friend of Art’s and Art’s successor as the current leader of the Michiana Adventist Forum said, “A giant has fallen.”
Art is survived by his wife, Debra, 5 sons, and 12 grandchildren.
Gary R. Gray has recently retired from teaching for nearly 30 years in the English Department at Andrews University. He assisted Art Robertson in reviving the local chapter of the Forum, the Michiana Adventist Forum.
Title image: Art Robertson with the observatory he built on his home property (image from the Facebook page of Art Robertson).
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