Robert J. Brady

Professor Emeritus of Microbiology
April 13, 1927 - July 1, 1997


Robert J. Brady passed away on July 1, 1997 after a prolonged, and truly courageous, battle with cancer. Bob will be remembered at Miami University for his many contributions as an internationally honored teacher of microbiology, as a devoted advisor to the students of this University, as a researcher who truly enjoyed being "at the bench," as a thoughtful and conscientious contributor to University governance and activities at all levels, and a s a department chair who led his department during both the development of the young doctoral program and a substantial increase in the numbers of majors entering the microbiology and medical technology undergraduate programs.

It was clear to all who knew him that Bob's devotion to and love of his family were the most treasured aspects of his life. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy, to whom he was married for 42 years. His sons, Brian and Tom, and his daughters, Kathleen and Bridgette, whose presence in his life brought him such joy and whose accomplishments he updated for his friends on a regular basis, completed the immediate Brady family. The arrival of his grandchildren in recent years was a source of wonder and pride. He was the quintessential grandfather. There is no doubt that this strong and loving family relationship provided Bob with the great strength, courage and good humor he displayed to his friends during those difficult final years.

Bob joined the Miami University faculty in 1957 and from that moment one cannot think of Bob Brady without remembering him in the classroom and the teaching laboratory. His lectures were quiet and thoughtful, yet always filled with subtle humor (He would often begin class with: "It's another beautiful day in Oxford!" or when describing a particularly infectious organism, he would occasionally underline its virulent nature by pointing out that…"this one will plant you quick!") and an exceptional sense of the historical development of his discipline. Bob taught at all levels. In service-level course for non-majors, he revealed the wonders of the invisible world of the microbes where often helpful, but frequently devastating creatures, proliferated. He taught the first course in General Microbiology for our majors where one's responsibility is to introduce the tremendous breadth of the discipline and still provide an appreciation for the changes that occur in the field on a daily basis. Bob did this with meticulous organization, awareness of current discovery and his ever present concern for the welfare of his students. His door was truly always open. Bob also taught advanced courses in Microbial Genetics and Microbial Physiology, two of the most complex and rapidly changing fields in microbiology. Bob presented the material with great rigor and set very high standards for his students. He required those students to think and integrate information. However, he always maintained the perspective that these phenomena occurred in living systems and were organized with elegant and fascinating intricacy. Students would often leave Bob's examinations mumbling, "How did he ever come up with that question?" And yet, his teaching evaluations by his students were consistently exceptional and they revered him as a teacher, a mentor and a human being. They knew how much he cared for them and how devoted he was to their success as students and future professionals in their chosen fields.

In 1981 Bob Brady was presented with the Carski Award for exceptional teaching by the American Society for Microbiology, an organization whose members number over 30,000. This award brought great honor and prestige not only to Bob Brady but also to his department and Miami University. He was, quite literally, the best microbiology teacher in the United States. His formal nomination for the award included an outpouring of affection and respect from his current and former students and his colleagues. They all spoke to those essential features of his teaching, rigor and currency and concern for every student in every class.

Constantly "at the bench," Bob made important contributions to the field of microbial genetics using yeast as his model research organism. He truly enjoyed research and was known for always thinking of a new and better way to investigate a problem. In recognition of his many contributions, Bob was elected President of the Ohio Branch of the American Society for Microbiology because his peers knew Bob was committed to enhancing scientific advancement, communication and camaraderie among microbiologists in this state and region. He was particularly encouraging to graduate students' always enthusiastically promoting their participation in local and national scientific meetings. Bob's love of both research and teaching allowed him to mentor many graduate students with both rigor and compassion.

Bob's devotion to the department and his innate leadership qualities often appeared during departmental meetings where he sat quietly through lengthy rhetoric and discussion after which he would calmly offer a solution to the problem that made us wonder why the problem was so complex in the first place. Bob also had an exceptional sense of the history of the department which proved invaluable on many occasions. We remember Bob for his sensitive and astute advising of hundreds of microbiology majors and we marveled at his being able to accomplish this and still meticulously prepare for his classes.

Bob was also devoted to his community. He served for five years on the Oxford City Council and was always an unselfish volunteer in working for the betterment of this community.

Bob's was a life devoted to family, friends, teaching and science. We at Miami miss him deeply as a colleague and friend.

Hara D. Charlier
Donald C. Cox, Chair
John R. Stevenson

University News Service

Dr. Robert J. Brady, 70, professor of microbiology emeritus at Miami University, died of cancer July 1, at his Oxford home. Born in Detroit April 13, 1927, he was the son of James and Grace Austin Brady. He received bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Detroit and a doctorate from the University of Maryland. He married Dorothy Latchney in 1955 in Detroit. Brady was chair of Miami's microbiology department from 1972-78. He returned to full-time teaching and research, retiring in 1993. A member of Miami's faculty since 1957, he was honored in Microbiology with its Carski Foundation Distinguished Teaching Award, the highest teaching award given in microbiology in the country. Much of his time was devoted to teaching undergraduate courses in introductory microbiology, food and industrial microbiology, microbial physiology and the genetics of bacteria and their viruses. He was past president of the Ohio Branch of the American Society for Microbiology. He was appointed to Oxford City Council in 1971 and elected to a term the same year, serving for five years. Survivors are his wife, Dorothy; two sons, Tom of Chicago and Brian of Cincinnati; two daughters, Kathleen Chrisman of Kalamazoo, Mich., and Brigid of San Francisco; and four grandchildren. Mass of Christian Burial was held Monday, July 7, in St. Mary's Church, Oxford. Burial was in the Oxford Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to McCullough-Hyde Memorial Hospital, the Miami University microbiology department or St. Mary's Church. Smith & Ogle Funeral Home, Oxford, was in charge of the arrangements.