Robert H. Binstock, 1936 – 2011
The Department of Political Science grieves the passing on November 22, 2011 of our friend and colleague Bob Binstock. Bob was a superb scholar and human being: a leader in research on policies for aging people and an aging society, a wise mentor and inspiring scholar.
His professional accomplishments would be difficult to match. He directed President Johnson’s White House Task Force on Older Americans; was President of the Gerontological Society of America in 1976, and a prolific scholar until he entered hospice shortly before he passed away. Bob was one of the leading analysts of voting behavior of the elderly and of the policy process relating to programs for seniors. He was co-author of an American Government textbook that had six editions. His work, however, went far beyond disciplinary boundaries. His primary appointments were in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the School of Nursing, but he also was a member of the faculties of Bioethics, Sociology, and our department. He authored or edited 26 books and about 300 articles or chapters, including seven editions of the Handbook of Aging and the Social Sciences (the most recent in 2011).
But I will remember him best for his gentle wisdom. He was a superb student of politics who could look at a situation, whether it be national politics or politics closer to home, and identify motives and pressures and who was doing what why. Yet in doing this, he had the remarkable ability to avoid seeming harsh or judgmental. He used the same understanding that he applied to analyzing politics as he looked to help people around him and make the world a better place. And he made it a much better place. We miss him very much.