On May 20, at age 93, Robert Davis Terry passed away in Carlsbad, California. Terry had been in declining health for some time, according to Michael Shelanski of Columbia University, New York, an early trainee and longtime friend. During Shelanski’s last dinner visit with Terry, in 2016, Terry was discussing neuropathology and recent events. “He was interested in everything, but had become frail,” Shelanski said. Many of Terry’s trainees stayed close with him and made “pilgrimages” to Carlsbad after Terry retired in 1994.

[Courtesy of Mary Sundsmo.]

Terry made his mark in Alzheimer’s research in the 1960s, soon after leaving Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx, New York, to join the pathology department at Albert Einstein College of Medicine under Saul Korey. Terry trained two generations of neuropathologists working in the field of neurodegeneration, including, among many others, Bernardino Ghetti, Richard DeTeresa, Dikran Horoupian, James Goldman, Roy Weller, Robert Murray, Kinuko Suzuki, Larry Hansen, and Dennis Dickson, who published a tribute to Terry 12 years ago (Dickson, 2005). 

Already looking beyond pathology at that time, Terry formed multidisciplinary research teams right away. He recruited basic scientists such as Henry Wisniewski from Poland, Peter Davies from the U.K., Khalid Iqbal, and others to enable broad-based research on neurologic disease from all available scientific angles. “Bob worked closely with people who were cell biologists and biochemists at a time when most neuropathologists only looked at tissue. He was a nucleating force in the field,” Shelanski told Alzforum. Terry obtained the first NIH grant on Alzheimer’s disease, according to Zaven Khachaturian, and he held on to it for more than 30 years. 

Of these people in Terry’s lab in 1968, Kinuko Suzuki, Henry Wisniewski, Anne Johnson, Roy Weller,…