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August 1, 2005

Robert Y. Foos, DVM, MD (1922-2004)

Arch Ophthalmol. 2005;123(8):1159. doi:10.1001/archopht.123.8.1159

Robert Y. Foos was born in Philadelphia, Pa. At age 19 years, he enlisted in the US Army and served as a pilot during World War II. He ferried bomber aircraft to the South Pacific and transported troops and cargo to the European and China-Burma-India theaters. He was discharged as a captain from the US Army Air Corps.

Robert Y. Foos, DVM, MD

Robert Y. Foos, DVM, MD

Subsequently, he earned a bachelor’s degree and in 1953 a doctor of veterinary medicine degree from the University of California, Davis. After 6 years of veterinary practice in the high desert of California, he entered medical school at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). On graduation in 1963, he began residency training in anatomic pathology at UCLA, during which time he trained in ocular pathology with Raymond A. Allen, MD. Dr Foos joined the faculty in the Department of Pathology at UCLA, where he remained for 27 years until he retired as the director of ocular pathology.

As an ocular pathologist, Dr Foos studied a broad spectrum of eye diseases, including the clinicopathologic correlation of developmental, inflammatory, aging, and neoplastic diseases of the eye. The National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, Md) supported his research on the vitreoretinal juncture. He was meticulous in his efforts to correlate the gross appearance of retinal lesions with histopathologic findings. His astounding gross photographs appear in numerous textbooks and articles. Dr Foos received many awards, including the Conran Berens Grand Prize (Mexico City, 1970), the Knapp Award (Atlantic City, NJ, 1971), the Zimmerman Medal (Atlanta, Ga, 1995), and the S. Rodman Irvine Prize (Jules Stein Eye Institute, Los Angeles, 2001). In all, he published more than 150 peer-reviewed original articles and numerous book chapters. Following his retirement, Dr Foos completed 2 volumes of his atlas, entitled System of Ocular Pathology, which he viewed as his legacy to medicine.

Dr Foos was an avid cyclist, commuting several miles daily even at the age of 80 years. He traveled by bicycle in 17 countries and on 6 continents. He also found time to enjoy photographing hummingbirds.

A professor emeritus at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Dr Foos succumbed to metastatic prostate cancer at the age of 82 years at his home in Beverly Glen, Calif. Dr Foos is survived by Sunny, his wife of 58 years; their 4 children and 7 grandchildren; and a host of grateful students and colleagues.

Correspondence: Dr Glasgow, Jules Stein Eye Institute, 100 Stein Plaza, B-279, Los Angeles, CA 90095 (bglasgow@mednet.ucla.edu).