Roland Burlson Robertson, Jr., M.D., 86, of Madison, Mississippi, a longtime key administrator of G.V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center, University of Mississippi Medical Center, and City of Madison, MS, from his beloved home, passed into the next dimension on Monday, March 30, 2020. He was born during the Great Depression, Saturday, February 17, 1934, in Taylorsville, Mississippi and as a boy in the 1940’s he hunted for scraps in the gulley, woods, and trenches, which he donated to the cause of Liberty: USA World War II Victory, and morale of soldiers.
In lieu of flowers donate to www.GarySiniseFoundation.org.
Dr. Roland B. Robertson, Jr. (aka Bob, Bobby, RB, and Dr. R) was preceded in death by his parents, Roland Burlson, Sr. and Nellie Vowell Robertson; one daughter, Katherine Ann Robertson, RN, MSN; and one brother, Jimmie Dale Robertson.
Survivors include his loving wife of 63 years, Jane McKelvey Robertson of Madison; one son, John David Roland Robertson, and his wife, Mary Jane Capio Robertson, of Madison; five grandsons, the children of John David and Mary Jane: Madoc Burl, John Mason, David Luke, Sion McKel, and Dylan Tomas Robertson, all of Madison; one sister, Lee Stockton, and her husband, Doug, of Taylorsville; three brothers: Kenneth Robertson and his wife, Mary Lou, of Taylorsville, Howard Robertson and his wife, Elizabeth, of Grenada, and Bill Robertson and his wife, Jan-Marie, of Rancho Mission Viejo, CA.
Online guestbook may be signed at www.colonialchapelmageemendenhall.com.
After Bobby graduated from Taylorsville High in 1952, he hitchhiked from Taylorsville to Hattiesburg, and earned his B.S. from University of Southern Mississippi in 1955, bound for Medical School. Bobby was inducted into Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society and earned his M.D. from University of Tennessee in 1958. He interned at John Gaston Hospital in Memphis, and then returned in 1959 to his hometown, Taylorsville, as Dr. Bobby, and opened a Private Practice.
Impacted greatly by WWII as a young boy, service to the nation always tugged on RB. He joined USAF in 1961, specialized in Aerospace Medicine at Brooks AFB, Texas, then deployed in the same year as Flight Surgeon at Shaw AFB, South Carolina. There, in 1962, RB was involved with surveillance flights during the Cuban Missile Crisis and saw some photos, prior to President Kennedy, of Soviet missiles in Cuba.
Honorably discharged from USAF, RB, in 1963, entered residency in Internal Medicine at University Hospital in Jackson. Upon completion of residency in 1966, Dr. Robertson moved his family to Meridian for private practice in internal medicine. Tugged again by his deepfelt gratitude to veterans, Dr. Robertson joined VA Medical Center as Staff Physician in 1967. He rose through the ranks, became VA Hospital Chief of Staff in 1976, was a positive change agent, and in 1993 RB received the VA’s Distinguished Career Award in Washington, DC.
In 1967 Bob also became Attending Physician, University Hospital, and remained so through 2000. Dr. Robertson was passionate about the lifelong education of physicians and other health professionals; he was appointed Director of the Division and Assistant Dean of Continuing Education from 1973 to 1974. RB greatly expanded the Division’s course offerings during his tenure. In 1976 Bob was appointed UMMC’s Assistant Vice Chancellor for VA Affairs, a role served until 1993. He was a UMMC Associate Professor of Medicine from 1981 – 2000.
In late 1994 Bob was appointed UMMC’s Associate Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, under the great Dr. Wally Conerly; Dr. Robertson was second in command of Mississippi’s academic health center through 2000 Dec 31. Dr. Robertson led the Medical Center’s digital Information Technology transformation, helped standardize procurement guidelines, and gave counsel and assistance to faculty and staff. On 2000 Dec 31 Roland B. Robertson, Jr., M.D. retired as Professor Emeritus of Medicine, School of Medicine and Honorary Physician, University Hospitals and Clinics, Jackson, MS.
Said Dr. Helen Turner, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Emerita: “I am honored to have been able to work with Dr. Robertson early in my career at the VA Medical Center and later at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. He was a friend and great mentor to me. I will always be grateful to him for his encouragement, wise counsel and support throughout my career.”
Dr. Robertson was civically active, e.g., Rotary Club and President of American Lung Association of Mississippi. The Governor of Mississippi appointed him a Member, Southern Governors' Task Force on Medical Technology from November 1998 through January 2000. RB especially enjoyed the role of Flight Surgeon for Student Space Station Project, Davis Planetarium from 1987 - 1993.
Alongside RB's medical career he returned to active military duty in 1979 as Flight Surgeon Mississippi Air National Guard and was Commander, 172nd USAF Clinic, from 1981 to 1989. In 1982 Dr. Robertson’s Air War College thesis well-predicted the Soviet Union breakup into Mother Russia and its culturally ethnic States. Dr. Robertson retired at the rank of Brigadier General in 1996.
Madison the City became Dr. Robertson’s beloved, adopted hometown during his retirement from medicine in the 2000’s. Dr. R relished working for Madison the City under Mayor Mary from 2001 - 2014. He was a member of the inaugural delegation representing UMMC forming Madison’s sister city relationship in Solleftea, Sweden. Dr. Robertson was Grand Marshal of Madison the City's 2014 Christmas Parade and was presented the Peggy Wilks Award for making a difference in the City of Madison.