R.B. Finkbiner, Main Line doctor

Rodman B. Finkbiner
Rodman B. Finkbiner
Posted: April 03, 2013

Rodman B. Finkbiner, 85, of Bryn Mawr, a longtime gastroenterologist on the Main Line, died Sunday, March 24, of complications from ALS at his home. He became ill four months ago.

Board certified in both gastroenterology and internal medicine, Dr. Finkbiner was associated with Bryn Mawr Medical Specialists, a group practice on East Haverford Road in Bryn Mawr, from 1972 until his retirement in 2000.

Before his affiliation with the group, he had maintained a practice in gastroenterology and internal medicine from 1958 to 1971. He joined the staff of Bryn Mawr Hospital in the 1960s.

Born in Norristown, he was the son of Aaron C.F. and Christine Finkbiner.

Dr. Finkbiner graduated in 1945 from Episcopal Academy, in 1949 from Dartmouth College, and from Thomas Jefferson Medical College in 1953.

He served an internship and residency at Pennsylvania Hospital and a two-year fellowship in medicine and gastroenterology at Massachusetts General Hospital before doing clinical research and teaching for three years at Pennsylvania Hospital.

In his early years, his work was published in the American Journal of Medicine, the New England Journal of Medicine, and the American Journal of the Medical Sciences. "He loved doing research," said his wife, Catherine.

He served in the Navy from July 1, 1945, to Sept. 12, 1946.

His family said Dr. Finkbiner believed the key to his work was learning about the personal histories of his patients. He developed lasting friendships with many.

"His genuine love for people and ability to listen intently to their medical issues, and otherwise, translated to his personal life. The outpouring of love and support his family has received since his death has been a reflection of his effect on those who knew him," his family said.

His wife, whom he met when she was a patient and married two decades later after a chance meeting at a Starbucks, said Dr. Finkbiner was "the husband she always dreamed of" despite 25 years' age difference.

"He was the sweetest man," she said. "It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We were soul mates."

Dr. Finkbiner enjoyed golfing, gardening, and volunteering with Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic. He also worked with Community Volunteers in Medicine of Paoli.

He and his wife traveled to Africa, China, the Galápagos Islands, India, and Europe. A member of the Philadelphia Country Club since 1959, he enjoyed annual golfing in Florida.

Surviving, in addition to his wife, are a son, Richard; daughters Isabel Broderick and Brent; stepchildren Laura Tayloe and Tommy Kline; four grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. His former wife, Joyce LaRouche, died earlier.

A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, April 4, at St. David's Episcopal Church, 763 S. Valley Forge Rd., Wayne. A reception will follow. Interment is private.

Donations may be sent to the ALS Association of Greater Philadelphia, 321 Norristown Rd., Suite 260, Ambler, Pa. 19002, or Learning Ally, 20 Roszel Rd., Princeton, N.J. 08540.

Condolences to the family may be offered at www.stuardfuneralhome.com.


Contact Bonnie L. Cook at 215-854-2611 or bcook@phillynews.com.

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