Dr. Robert W. Hollenhorst, 94, a Mayo Clinic physician, died Jan. 10 in Rochester. He was a pioneer in the field of neuro-ophthalmology and published more than 90 scientific papers. Some of his work described a phenomenon now known as "Hollenhorst Plaques," cholesterol bodies sometimes found in blood vessels of the retina. They are useful in diagnosing the risk of stroke and other circulatory conditions.
He was a founder of the Minnesota Pre-School Survey of Vision and Hearing and, for 30 years, was Consulting Ophthalmologist to Minnesota State Services for the Blind. Because of his contributions to the state, Gov. Arne Carlson proclaimed April 24, 1991, as "Dr. Robert Hollenhorst Day."
Dr. Hollenhorst was a member of many medical boards and associations, including terms as president of the American Ophthalmological Society (AOS) and vice chairman of the American Board of Ophthalmology. In 1986, he was awarded the prestigious Howe Medal by the AOS.
Robert Hollenhorst was born in St. Cloud on Aug. 12, 1913. After studies at St. Cloud State Teachers College, St. John's University, and the University of Minnesota Medical School, he earned Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Medicine, and Doctor of Medicine degrees.
Dr. Hollenhorst served in the Army Medical Corps in the Pacific during World War II and was awarded the Bronze Star for his medical role in several amphibious landings in New Guinea and the Philippines.
Following his discharge from the Army in 1946, Dr. Hollenhorst began his career as an ophthalmologist at the Mayo Clinic and Professor of Ophthalmology at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine. He retired in 1979 and lived in the Brainerd lakes area before moving back to Rochester in 1996.
Dr. Hollenhorst was preceded in death by his wife of 68 years, Alice Nolan Hollenhorst, who died last month. He was also preceded in death by two sons, Father Mark Hollenhorst and Stephen (Carla) Hollenhorst of Roseville; by his parents; and by four of his nine siblings.
Dr. Hollenhorst is survived by seven of his nine children, Dr. Robert Hollenhorst Jr., of Duluth, Michael (Sandra) Hollenhorst of Orono, Mary (Bob) Lazarus of Millbrae, Calif., John (Swantje) Hollenhorst of Salt Lake City, James (Mary) Hollenhorst of Saratoga, Calif., Kathleen (Bob) Pohly of Pagosa Springs, Colo., and Thomas Hollenhorst of St. Louis Park. He is also survived by 21 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and five of his nine siblings.
Dr. Hollenhorst and his wife will be interred at Fort Snelling National Cemetery in June 2008. Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to Minnesota Public Radio or the Minnesota State Services for the Blind.
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