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Robert Kent O’Leary, Ph.D., 81, of Spring Lake Heights, New Jersey, passed away peacefully at his home Sunday March 6, 2022 after a brief illness.
He was born in Brooklyn, NY to the late Dr. Leonard James O’Leary and Gladys Estelle Arthur O’Leary, an OBGYN and a homemaker, on April 3, 1940.
Bob, as he was known to most, attended LaSalle Military Academy in Oakdale, New York (1959) and the University of Notre Dame earning his Bachelor’s in Chemistry in 1962.
After graduating college, Bob went to work at Pfizer and while working a second job as an orderly at St. John’s Hospital in Queens NY, he met his best friend, a redheaded nurse named Ronnie.
Together they started a journey that would take them to Austin, Texas where Bob earned his Master’s degree in Biomaterial Science and a Doctorate in Toxicology at the University of Texas at Austin.
With more than 37 United States patents and 40 publications in tissue related science, Bob also invented Grafton, the first flowable human bone tissue paste for accelerating the healing of human bone fractures. His patent on bone healing was awarded the 1998 Thomas Alva Edison Award by the New Jersey Research and Development Council.
Bob was especially interested in all things scientific and also enjoyed traveling, gardening and exploring ancestry and genealogy.
Bob was predeceased by his wife of 56 years, Veronica Julia Cull O’Leary. He is survived by his beloved children and their spouses: Mary Ellen Donohoe and husband Michael of Eagleville, PA, Robert K. O’Leary, Jr. and wife Megan of St. Paul, Minnesota, Anne McGarry and husband John of Spring Lake Heights, New Jersey, James C. O’Leary and wife Jennifer of Lorain, Ohio; and his siblings, Dr. James Arthur O’Leary (Arleen) of Naples, Florida and Richard Philip O’Leary (Joan) of Key Largo, Florida; Eileen O’Leary of Sherburne, NY and Kathleen O’Leary Nadim (Mahmoud) of Oakdale, NY.
Bob had 9 grandchildren: Catherine, James, Nicholas and Matthew O’Leary; Cullen and Madigan O’Leary; Julia, Elizabeth and Bridget McGarry and along with several O’Leary nieces and nephews as well as great-nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be on Friday March 11 from 9:00am until 10:00am at the O’Brien Funeral Home, 2028 Hwy 35 at New Bedford Rd., Wall followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30 am in St. Margaret’s Church, 300 Ludlow Avenue, Spring Lake.
Burial in St. John’s Cemetery, Middle Village, Queens will be private.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Visiting Nurse Association Hospice Program at 23 Main Street, Suite D1, Holmdel, New Jersey 07733
To offer condolences to the O’Leary family, please visit www.obrienfuneralhome.com
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