A Writer’s Explanation
More often than not, stories within a publication, such as UGA Script, are written objectively and in the third-person point of view. However, as the author of the subsequent story, I experienced a “writer’s block” that was unprecedented in my almost 40-year career. In the spirit of journalistic integrity and transparency, this story was unique, because I had a treasured 35-year friendship with Robert Balfour Pease III, or Bob, the subject of this story.
As a significant donor and friend to the College of Pharmacy, Bob’s untimely passing earlier this year left an indelible void for all who knew him, most especially his beloved wife, Lynn. As I attempted to write this story, I struggled to capture the essence of his larger-than-life personality. Bob had an infectious laugh, a mischievous sense of humor, a passion for adventure and the outdoors, a delectable knack for all things culinary, a commitment to the power of family, and a spirit of generosity. How was I supposed to capture all of that – in third person? How could I be removed and objective enough about someone who gave me my first dog as an adult (a beloved Dachshund named Pumpkin), who helped me catch my very first fish that was large enough to feed four of us during a weekend beach trip, who was immensely generous to my son on more than one occasion, who gave me a plethora of pep talks and comforting hugs as a I journeyed through the inevitable trials of life, and who was loyal and loving to me and everyone else he proudly called “friends?”
Bob relished in risk-taking, and more often than not, these bold, yet prudent decision-making skills brought him much success, the proceeds of which he always shared generously. In Bob’s spirit, I am pivoting from our standard of story-telling and taking a risk in sharing his PharmDawg tale.
I’ll sum up Bob’s extensive involvement with the College, using a first-person viewpoint, followed by my personal thank you note to him for his generosity in life and his benevolence to our College. It seems only fitting to be genuine when it comes to telling his story. Thank you for indulging my divergence from the standard. May this message inspire all of us to be more like Bob in spirit and in generosity.
Becoming Part of the PharmDawg Nation
When I first met Bob back in the winter of 1986, the College of Pharmacy wasn’t a blip on either of our proverbial life screens. The quintessential entrepreneur, Bob owned several restaurants and real estate ventures in the area. We met and became friends through our respective spouses at the time.
Fast forward through many years and good times, and our friendship evolved in a different dimension – via the College of Pharmacy. I joined the College in 2016, and Bob became involved when he was seeking an opportunity to honor the memory of his beloved mother, Doris, while making an impact to help pharmacy students in need. Doris was the first female graduate of the School of Pharmacy at the University of Virginia (now a part of Virginia Commonwealth University) and worked as a practicing pharmacist in the Hartwell, GA community, before she passed away in 2016. Bob earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from UGA’s Terry College of Business, and despite being a UVA alumna, Doris mirrored her son’s passion for the Bulldog Nation.
When Michelle Beckum ’01, a Pease family friend and former member of the College’s Alumni Board (2017-2021), learned of Bob’s desire to honor his mother, she connected Bob with Dana Strickland, the former Executive Director of Development and Alumni Relations at the College.
Bob was passionate about education, and it will forever be a mystery as to how many individuals he supported financially and encouraged vehemently to further and complete their education. It was extremely important to Bob that financial constraints never be the reason a student couldn’t pursue a pharmacy degree so, in 2017, he established the Doris Pease Endowment Fund to provide support to students for tuition costs, travel to professional meetings, and any other expenses incurred during their studies.
Bob wanted to connect with a student who exemplified the qualifications outlined in mother’s endowment. He and Lynn befriended Alfred Awuah ’21, now Dr. Alfred Awuah, who is in his residency at Houston Methodist Hospital in Houston, TX. A first generation student, Dr. Awuah was a scholarship recipient and a leader in several student organizations during his PharmD education at UGA. As he remembered Bob, Alfred shared, “I deeply admired Bob’s hospitable personality and passion for mentorship. The opportunity to connect on a personal level, meet his family, and visit his home filled with Bulldog souvenirs were some of my fondest memories of Bob. His desire to build a relationship with a student he had no prior interaction with was a true testament to his character and values.”
In the final days of our friendship, it was his unwavering commitment to the welfare of our students that made me love and respect him even more. On behalf of my PharmDawg family, I share this note of gratitude for his benevolence and charity.
A Note of Thanks
Once again, your generosity knows no bounds. You will forever be a shining example of giving forward. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for the life-changing gift you and Lynn made to our College. Because of your selfless act of charity and the overwhelming love you had for your sweet momma, you created a legacy that will help scores of future pharmacists for years to come. You could have given this gift to a myriad of worthy causes. You and your Mom aren’t even alumni of our College, yet, you had a passion for this University and for our students, especially those in need, and I am forever grateful.
Your passing was so sudden and so unexpected, yet so much on your terms. Your big, generous heart, always explosive for others, may have stopped beating that beautiful Sunday morning that you earned your wings, but the love, charity, and generosity it exuded will forever live on. As always, you made sure of it.
Though no one will care for her as you did, Lynn is being comforted and cared for by many. You would be proud to see her continue your legacy of passion. Rest assured; we have adopted her into our PharmDawg family as one of our own.
Rest in peace, my sweet friend. You are missed; I will always smile in remembrance of the love, laughter, and joy you gave us.
Bob passed away May 30 in his element, beneath the moss-drenched branches of St. Simons Island with Lynn by his side. He is survived by Lynn, his four-legged princess Addie, his son Stuart Pease (Shelby), his daughter Brooke Caneer (Daniel), his wife’s son Jason Tweedell, her daughters Kim Adams (Ben) and Kelly McKinney (Chad and children Hailey, Hunter), his mother-in-law Ellen Morris, his siblings Stuart Pease Sr (Donna), Maggie Jacoby, John Pease (Cathy), and grandson Eli Caneer.
Donations can be made to the Doris Pease Endowment Fund to support pharmacy students in need.