Remembering Harold Bobrow, RPh, May 9, 1942 – November 3, 2022





Temple University School of Pharmacy (TUSP) extends its heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of their beloved Harold Bobrow upon the occasion of his passing earlier this month. The following narrative serves to bear witness to the respect and esteem with which he was held amongst those who knew him best at TUSP. 

Harold Bobrow was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey. Having lost his mother when he was an infant and his father as a child, he was lovingly nurtured by his stepmother during years of extreme economic difficulty. He attended the Newark public school system and eventually graduated from the College of Pharmacy at Rutgers University with both a BS in Pharmacy and a BA degree.  

Harold owned a community pharmacy for more than 30 years and contributed his time and resources to the continued development of his profession through a sustained effort of personal advocacy at every available level of professional and political organization. He served in the following professional / civic / and service organizations: as President of the Essex County Pharmaceutical Society; as President and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the New Jersey Pharmacists Association; as a Lieutenant in the New Jersey Naval Militia; as a member of the Maplewood, New Jersey First Aid Squad; as a member of the Medical Reserve Corps of Morris County, New Jersey; and, as a member of the NJ Disaster Medical Assistance Team (NJ DMAT). As part of the NJ DMAT Harold was one of the first two pharmacists to arrive at the Chelsea Pier in New York City on 9/11/01, and he later travelled to Biloxi, Mississippi to assist the victims of Hurricane Katrina.  

We first met Harold through his advocacy partnership with TUSP alumna Loretta Brickman (’63) in 2003. Loretta and Harold argued convincingly that pharmacy students needed some grounding and practical experience in the language and repertoires of professional / political advocacy in preparation for their roles as practicing pharmacists, and that these skills could be taught by individuals actually engaged in these endeavors in the field; they had both spent many years advocating at the local, state, and federal level on behalf of the profession and the patients who depended on its expertise and services. Harold and Loretta developed a curriculum for a course entitled “Practical Politics in Pharmacy – Navigating the Maze” that was duly reviewed and approved by the TUSP Curriculum Committee to be offered as an elective.  

The course was offered for well more than a decade during which time dozens of students each year learned the introductory civics essential for procedural language familiarity, followed by the practical navigation of processes relevant to the profession. As part of the course students: visited with state and federal legislators; participated in elective rotations with legislators and state agencies; helped write and advocate for legislation (notably Bill 182 which was passed and became Act 8 in 2015). Through the auspices of the course the PA State Board of Pharmacy was invited to hold one of its open meetings outside of its facilities in Harrisburg at TUSP, so that students and faculty could observe their deliberations. With the Board’s approval TUSP invited students and faculty from the other pharmacy schools in the state to attend the meeting as well. This meeting was the first of its type in the history of the State Board of Pharmacy. The meeting became an annual event thereafter with the Board holding the outside open meeting at a different PA pharmacy school each year on a rotation basis. During this time Lieutenant Governor Katherine Baker Knoll introduced a Proclamation in the Pennsylvania Legislature in recognition of our Practical Politics in Pharmacy course. Harold and Loretta authored a grant submission in the amount of $50,000 to the Community Pharmacist’s Association to develop a “turn-key” curriculum in practical politics to be used by other pharmacy schools across the US. The grant was funded, and approximately 40 schools utilized all or part of the course materials developed through this grant. 

Harold and Loretta worked closely with our Office of Experiential Education, and through that link prepared, precepted, and accompanied students to attend Legislative Day in Harrisburg for at least ten years. Harold provided a mandatory lecture on advocacy to PY-1 students each year; lectures to PY-2 students on personal disaster preparedness; seminars on Point-of-Distribution (POD) Management during times of crisis (PY-2); and, contributed to the TUSP Anthrax Disaster POD Exercise for PY-2 students.  In September of 2022 during the White Coat Ceremony for this fall’s incoming PY-1 Class, Harold and Loretta received TUSP’s Distinguished Preceptor Award for their outstanding service as preceptors during a span of almost 20 years. 

Upon meeting Harold Bobrow one was struck by an intensity of purpose and of urgency. These were the outward manifestations of a deep personal compassion for the vicissitudes of the human condition of which Harold was made acutely aware during the crucible years of his youth, and of a passion to provide resources to those in need.  

There are numerous examples of Harold’s deeply personal philanthropy including: the establishment and funding of the Bobrow Family Food Pantry at the Oheb Shalom Synagogue; the purchasing of a small house of worship on behalf of a small congregation so that it could remain viable; providing funds for a child in public school for the purchase of clothing, books and other necessities; purchasing hundreds of dollars of supermarket scrip, kept in his pocket to give to those in need; and so many random acts of kindness. Most lately, Harold was helping to relocate Ukrainian families displaced by the war to the US. He had just finished the purchase of a property to house a Ukrainian family of five rent free. 

Words are insufficient tools to express the feelings of loss upon the passing of individuals such as Harold Bobrow, who was a man of deep contemplation, conviction, and personal action on behalf of others. Those of us who had the opportunity to share time with him have been enriched by his spirit of advocacy and humanitarian impulse.   

We thank him for his service and for his example. May he Rest in Peace. 

Respectfully submitted, Peter H. Doukas, PhD, Professor Emeritus