Dr. Joseph E. 'Doc' PahlApril 28, 2004
Doctor Joseph E. Pahl, RPI class of 1939, who served as director of Rensselaer's infirmary from World War II to 1985, died April 28 in Brooksville, Florida after a lengthy illness.
Pahl created and directed Rensselaer's Student Health Services. "Dr. Pahl developed the student health services, but he dispensed much more than pills," said Byron Evans, former vice president for student affairs. "To students, he gave highly regarded counseling, support, and shelter. To professors, deans, trustees, and presidents, he gave frank and sometimes blunt advice on many subjects, but mostly on the betterment of student life."
Pahl is credited with focusing attention on alcohol and substance abuse issues on campus and in the community. In 1983, he founded a residential treatment program in Troy for young people with drug and/or alcohol problems; it was later named the Pahl House in his honor. He received numerous state and local awards for his work in substance abuse prevention.
Pahl and his wife, Shirley, sold their longtime home to Rensselaer in 1984. It was used as the Alumni House until 1989 when the Heffner Alumni House was completed. The former home was then used as the Graduate Admissions Office for many years, and is now the home of the Financial Aid Office.
Pahl received the Rensselaer Alumni Association's highest honor, the Distinguished Service Award, in 1984. He also was awarded the Albert Fox Demers Medal in 1975, and was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame in 1988.
Born in Troy, N.Y., in 1919, Pahl graduated from Rensselaer in 1939 with a bachelor's degree in biology. He graduated from the Albany Medical College in 1943 and served as staff physician at Samaritan Hospital from 1943 to his retirement in 1985.
Predeceased by his daughter, Sandra, he is survived by his wife, Shirley, and many nieces, nephews and cherished friends. Thousands of RPI students and Troy residents have been touched by his compassionate care over the years.
Calling hours will be from 4-7pm on Friday, May 14, Bryce Funeral Home, Inc., 276 Pawling Ave., Troy, N.Y. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated 9:30 A.M., Saturday, May 15, at Sacred Heart Church , Pawling Avenue, Troy, N.Y.
At 2:00 P.M. Thursday, June 10, a memorial service will be held at the Rensselaer Newman Foundation Chapel and Cultural Center on Burdett Avenue, Troy, N.Y.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Pahl House, 106-108 Ninth Street, Troy, N.Y. 12180; Sacred Heart Church, 310 Spring Ave., Troy, N.Y. 12180; or to the Dr. Joseph E. Pahl Memorial Scholarship Fund, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Gift Processing/Troy Building, 110 8th Street, Troy, N.Y. 12180.