In Memoriam: Robert A. Hedeen (1928-2007)

Robert A. Hedeen, 78, passed away peacefully Thursday, Oct. 4, 2007, surrounded by his three sons. Born in Fort Worth, Texas, in 1928, he grew up with an interest in nature. An Eagle Scout, he received his Ph.D. in biology from the University of Texas in 1953. Later, he had a distinguished career as a medical entomologist in the Army Medical Corps (retired captain 1960), manager of South Cook County Mosquito Abatement District in Chicago (1960-1969) and professor of biological science and department chairman at Salisbury State University in Salisbury, Md., from 1970 until his retirement in 1992. His primary fields were medical entomology, evolutionary genetics, natural history and bioethics.

Dr. Hedeen wrote 30 scientific papers published in a variety of refereed journals concerning the biology and control of arthropods of medical importance. He also authored two books published by Cornel Maritime (Tidewater) press: A Naturalist on the Nanticoke, The Natural History of a River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, and The Oyster, The Life and Lore of the Celebrated Bivalve. He also wrote numerous magazine articles about various aspects of natural history, hunting and fishing: Fur, Fish, Game; Chesapeake Bay Magazine; Outdoor America; Texas Game and Fish; Delmarva Heartland; Izaak Walton Magazine. He wrote a weekly newspaper column in Salisbury, Md., concerning various aspects of natural history and had more than 300 articles published over a period of six years. In February 2002, he began writing his long-running column in The Rock River Times. He had completed a few columns on file that have not yet been published (see this week’s article, “Lizard facts and fallacies,” on page C1 of the Vitality section).

An avid sportsman, he was a lifelong hunter and fisherman. He married Margaret Leonard of Forth Worth in 1949 and had three children. In 1999, after 50 years of marriage, Margaret died in Salisbury, and Robert moved to Rockford, where he enjoyed his last years continuing his studies, perfecting his golf swing and delighting his grandchildren. He is survived by sons, Robert (Victoria) of Clifton Park, N.Y.; Michael (Norma) of Rockford; and Scott (Carol) of Atlanta; grandchildren, Tyler, Cassidy, Andrew, Katrina, Monica and Hayley; great-grandchild Niko; and special friend, Virginia Pearce of Baltimore. Mass with Christian burial was at St. Bridget Catholic Church, Saturday, Oct. 6, with Monsignor Mitchell officiating. Interment in Rosehill Cemetery in Fort Worth, alongside his wife, Margaret. In lieu of flowers, memorials to Severson Dells, Rockford. Arrangements by Honquest Family Funeral Home and Crematory, 4311 N. Mulford Road. For online condolences, visit

Staff comments and rememberances

“It was a great honor to have Dr. Hedeen bring his extensive experience and knowledge to the pages of The Rock River Times. When I first met him, and he suggested that he write a column, I was more than pleased to have such a quality Ph.D. add his depth of understanding to our paper. The only thing I regret is that he and I talked about going fishing many times and never matched our schedules to do so. Bob even made some handmade lures for me, and we never got to use them. In the future, I will cast more than one line in his honor.”—Frank Schier, editor and publisher

“Dr. Hedeen was a local treasure and true gentleman who will be greatly missed. We were extremely fortunate to have him as a columnist in our newspaper. His knowledge within his field was unmatched. Readers would often comment about how much they enjoyed his work, which was witty, informative and poetic. His writing piqued the interest of both nature lovers and those with little or no interest in nature. Instead of keeping his knowledge to himself, he shared it with us all—and we are all grateful for the enlightenment.”—Brandon Reid, assistant editor

“With all his years of education and professional experience, Dr. Hedeen was always a very pleasant, down-to-earth person, who could engage one in conversation on everyday matters. I enjoyed our brief visits when he stopped in to the office, and I’ll always be grateful that he gave me a reference to a good physician—one who could refer me to a special clinic for treatment. Dr. Hedeen’s topics were always interesting and educational. I will miss him.”—Susan Johnson, copy editor

from the Oct. 10, 2007, issue

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