Robert C. Drews, M.D., Emeritus Board Director, 1985-1992, passed away, May 9, 2017. He was fondly known as Bob by all who knew him. He was born September 9, 1930 to Leslie C Drews, M.D., also an ophthalmologist, and Sarah E. Drews and lived his entire life in St. Louis, MO. He graduated from Washington University in 1951 from the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Medicine in 1955. Bob trained as an ophthalmology resident from 1956-1959, and as chief resident, 1958-1959 also at Washington University. He served for two years in the Navy at the U.S. Naval Hospital, Great Lakes, before returning to St. Louis to enter private practice.
During his career, Bob's expertise in cataract surgery and intraocular lens implantation drew international recognition and invitations to lecture and teach surgery. He gave over 1000 presentations at more than 600 meetings. He authored more than 500 journal articles, book chapters, and books. He served on several authoritative ophthalmology journals both as an editor and on the editorial board both in the United States and abroad. Bob received 22 international medals and honors including the Gold Medal of the Pan American Association of Ophthalmology; the Montgomery Medal of the Irish Ophthalmological Society; the Rayner Medal of the United Kingdom Cataract and Refractive Surgery Society; and the Medaglia d’Oro of the Societa Oftalmologica Italiana. As a member of 32 international societies, he served as president of 11 including the American Ophthalmological Society, American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, and Pan American Association of Ophthalmology.
In St. Louis, Bob was heavily involved in the community both at Washington University as a member of the university's Board of Trustees and chair of a number of committees and the Saint Louis Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired (SLSBVI). He and his wife endowed the Dr. and Mrs. Robert C. Drews Scholarship for medical students and the Robert C. Drews Distinguished Professorship in Ophthalmology. The Drews Low Vision Clinic at SLSBVI is named after Bob and his father, Leslie Drews. He regularly attended ophthalmology conferences not only at Washington University but also Saint Louis University.
It is at Saint Louis University, where I had the honor of meeting Bob. Despite his many worldwide accolades and accomplishments, Bob took the time to personally advise and encourage me; he was the ultimate role model of pursuit of knowledge, kindness, integrity and service. He allowed me the privilege of joining the American Board of Ophthalmology as an Associate Examiner and taught me the importance of giving back.
Bob married Lorene Ruth Loewenguth, his longtime sweetheart, in 1951 and they celebrated 63 years of marriage until 2014 when she passed away. He is survived by 4 children, 10 grandchildren, and 8 great grandchildren. Even in death, Bob generously donated his body to Washington University Body Donor Program.
There will be a memorial service for Robert Drews on Saturday, May 27, 11AM, at Village Lutheran Church, 9237 Clayton Road, Ladue, MO 63124. Donations in his memory may be made to the Saint Louis Society for the Blind and Visually Impaired, 8770 Manchester Road, St. Louis, MO 63144 or Bethesda Health Group, 5943 Telegraph Rd, St. Louis, MO 63129.
Bob will be deeply missed.