In Memoriam: Dr. Robert EmdeOct 6, 2021
Dr. Robert Emde passed away on July 20th in the loving presence of his children Charles, Anne and Elizabeth as well as his granddaughters following a courageous battle of cancer. He is survived by his three children and five grandchildren, Jessica, Alexandra, Kathryn, Charles Jr. and William, in which they shared a life of laughter, love and puns.
Outside of family, Robert made long lasting friendships with his colleagues, fellows and students. He was described by colleague Dr. Matthew Melmed, Executive Director of ZERO to THREE as someone with “[a] determination, contagious optimism and a zest for life.” A sediment echoed by many.
His story began in Orange, New Jersey in 1935 when he was born to loving parents Carol and Charles Emde. After facing the devastating loss of his 3 yr old brother at the age of 5 he developed a strength and direction that would forever influence his contributions to early childhood development research; eventually becoming the leader, teacher, researcher and passionate mentor that marked his legacy even into his final years. With his extended family he shared endless adventures in the Rocky Mountains from Skiing, to Sailing to Hiking summiting several of the state’s 14’ers several times.. He and his late wife Dr. Joyce Emde were unwavering in their commitment to fostering and providing advanced education to all of his grandchildren with the hope that they would build on his legacy on their own journeys.
Dr. Emde graduated from Dartmouth College in 1956 Cum Laude with highest distinction in Sociology and received his Doctorate at Columbia Universities college of Physicians and Surgeons.
Not only was Dr. Emde internationally renowned in the research of infant and early childhood mental health development, he was often credited as being a pioneer of the field. He was mentored by René Spitz and that experience became the foundation of his early career. He was given 43 awards including the lifetime achievement award from the organization that was dear to his heart, Zero to Three. His Curriculum Vitae includes 1 film, 15 books, over 300 articles and chapters, and hundreds of worldwide speeches and engagements throughout his long career.
Along his journey to his lifetime success, he met the love of his life, Joyce Evans,who also enjoyed his love for adventure in the Rockies, traveling the world and their five grandchildren.
After 55 years of marriage, sadly Joyce passed away. Fortunately, he was eventually blessed with the companionship and love of MaryAnn Levy who shared his love of not only their professional careers but opera, culture and travel.
Dr. Emde lives on through the legacy he has given his children, grandchildren and the long list of mothers, infants and children whose lives he touched through his work and dedication to making their lives better. In his own words, “We all get all our deep pleasures from helping others, I certainly do….most often related to experiences of helplessness growing up and we want to help others from that……. that also puts us in a frame of needing to help each other”.
In lieu of flowers the family would appreciate donations to be made in Robert Emde’s name at https://giving.cu.edu/InMemoryofRobertEmde.