Obituaries: February 15th, 2023
Dave Tobolowsky

Dave Tobolowsky

Dave Tobolowsky, M.D., died on Jan. 29, 2024, after a brief illness. Born April 15, 1922, to Abraham Benjamin (A.B.) and Lena Tobolowsky, Dave lived a full life over almost 102 years. The ninth of 10 children, Dave, like his siblings, was born in the Goose Valley neighborhood in downtown Dallas. His father was a traveling peddler selling household goods, who started with two horses and a buggy, buying his first truck just before Dave was born. Dave sometimes joined A.B. on sales trips, sleeping on the ground as they traveled to small towns around Dallas. The eight boys in the family sold newspapers in downtown Dallas beginning at age 8 for a profit of one penny per paper, which they contributed to the family fund that enabled the younger children to go to college and graduate school. For entertainment, the boys played baseball on the street with balls made from old socks, dodging approaching trolleys.

Dave attended elementary school at Cumberland School and then Tech High School, skipping two grades before graduating in 1938 from Forest High School at age 16. He received his undergraduate degree from Southern Methodist University in 1941 and then attended Baylor Medical School in Dallas. When Baylor Medical School moved to Houston, Dave transferred to the newly established Southwestern Medical School, graduating in December 1944 at age 22. He was rushed through as part of a program that combined medical education with military drills for World War II. Prior to his death, Dave was the oldest living alumnus of Southwestern Medical School.

Dave began his training in internal medicine at Israel Zion Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, where he met and married June Weinstein, the love of his life. June, who was from Throop, Pennsylvania, was a nurse at the same hospital. Initially, they were married in their hospital uniforms over their lunch break by a justice of the peace; a formal wedding in Scranton, Pennsylvania, followed several weeks later. After 18 months of medical training in Brooklyn, Dave was stationed in Newfoundland, where he was the only doctor on a U.S. Army-Air Force Base. June soon joined him and it was in Newfoundland that their first son, Paul, was born.

After military service, Dave switched to pediatrics and continued his medical training at Children’s Medical Center in Dallas, followed by a fellowship at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. Dave practiced pediatrics in Oak Cliff from 1950 until 1971. Early in his medical career, his children Stephen and Barbara were born in Dallas.

During his Oak Cliff years, Dave actively participated in the Wynnewood Lions Club, where he served as President and held various other leadership roles. He also enjoyed playing racquetball at the YMCA, exercising and watching sports, especially with his sons. In 1971, he joined the staff at SMU’s Health Center and later became the medical director in 1973, a position he held until he retired in 1991.

In retirement, Dave and June traveled the world. Dave also enjoyed gardening and going on adventures with his beloved grandchildren. He was lucky enough to live almost his entire life in Dallas surrounded by a large and loving family. Dave was predeceased by his cherished wife, June, in 2007 after 61 years of marriage.

Dave’s quick wit could fill a room with laughter and he could amaze family and friends with his brilliance with numbers (especially dates and sports scores), even in his final days. His most enduring legacy will be his kind heart and generosity combined with something even more precious: his strength of mind and spirit. Dave’s life was a testament to his determination to better the lives of his children and grandchildren, serving as a guide to all of us who follow. He is survived by his three children: Paul (Judy), Stephen (Ann) and Barbara; five grandchildren (Deborah, Mark, Andrew, Robert and William); and five great-grandchildren (Benjamin, Noah, Judah, Dior and Ember), along with many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews, who are all so grateful they were able to have Dave in their lives for so long.

The Tobolowsky family would like to thank Rabbi Debra Robbins at Temple Emanu-El for a beautiful funeral service. Contributions may be made to: Macular Degeneration Association (https://macularhope.org), The Glaucoma Foundation (https://glaucomafoundation.org/) or a charity of your choice.

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