Obituary: Dr. Robert Ulstrom

Dr. Ulstromg, of Golden Valley, led a 40-year career in pediatrics at the University of Minnesota and the University of California at Los Angeles.

Dr. Robert Ulstrom

Feb. 23, 1923 - Nov. 6, 2012

Ulstrom, a Golden Valley resident, passed away from Lewy Body dementia.

He led a distinguished 40-year career in pediatrics at the medical schools of the University of Minnesota and the University of California at Los Angeles.

Dr. Ulstrom was born in Minneapolis on Feb. 23, 1923, to Alger and Catherine (Dougall) Ulstrom. He graduated from North High School in 1940. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1944and his doctor of medicine degree in 1946, both from the University of Minnesota, and that same year married Mary Janet McGrath. He completed his internship and residency in pediatrics at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, N.Y. From 1948-50, he served in the Army Medical Corps. He returned to the U of M as an instructor in the Department of Pediatrics in 1950.

From 1953-1956, he worked in the Department of Pediatrics at UCLA. He returned to the U of M in 1956. In 1961, he was promoted to full professor and in 1964 became the acting chair of the Department of Pediatrics. Late that year, he returned to UCLA as the chair of its Department of Pediatrics. He came back to the U of M, served as associate dean of the medical school from 1966-1970, then returned to the pediatrics department where he spent many years teaching doctors in training as well as conducting research. Dr. Ulstrom was a pioneer in pediatric endocrinology. His medical research on metabolism of children and infants was recognized nationally and internationally. He retired from the medical school in 1990.

Among his many professional activities, Dr. Ulstrom served as a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Pediatrics, was secretary-treasurer of the board of the Minnesota Medical Foundation, was Markle Scholar in medical science, received the Wyeth award for medical research, served as a fellow at the Rand Corp., was on the board of the American Board of Pediatrics and was an examiner for both the American Board of Pediatrics and the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is listed in Who’s Who in America and other publications that recognize important contributors to science and medicine.

Dr. Ulstrom loved high-performance automobiles and was track physician at Donnybrooke Racetrack in Brainerd from 1968-1973. He was an accomplished photographer and a self-taught Apple computer expert long before personal computers were commonplace. After retirement he continued his interest in education through the University’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, as a founding board member, its first webmaster, and an avid student.

Preceded in death by wife; parents; and sister Helen Rogers.

Survived by children Jane (Paul) Brissett of Duluth, Susan (Hugh) Nierengarten of New Ulm, and Cynthia (Steven) Bulwicz of Bloomington; grandchildren Elizabeth (Jeffrey) Martin, Kathleen (Steven) Cadotte, Julia Nierengarten (Jason Buckman), and Kristin Nierengarten (Thomas Harwood); great-grandchildren Harley and Arden Cadotte, Samantha Martin; and sister Kathleen Eggert.

Memorials preferred to the Minnesota Medical Foundation.

Special thanks to the staff at The Alton and St. Mary’s Hospice. 

Private service to be held at a later date.

Information provided by Gearty-Delmore Funeral Chapels.


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