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Robert E. Forster II, former Chair of Penn’s Physiology Department, died in his home on Sept. 19 from a stroke. He will be celebrated at the Church of the Redeemer in Bryn Mawr, Pa., on Nov. 13 at 11 a.m., and the service will be livestreamed at

Penn Medicine’s Department of Physiology is also accepting donations in honor of Forster. Forster, 101, received his medical degree from the Perelman School of Medicine in 1943, after receiving his bachelor’s degree from Yale University’s Sheffield Scientific School in 1941, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Forster became a Penn professor in 1951 and worked at the University until his retirement in 1990, according to his obituary in The Duxberry Clipper. He began serving as chair of the Physiology Department’s graduate school in 1959, before being appointed chairman of the entire department, the Inquirer reported. After his retirement, he lived in the Quadrangle retirement community in Haverford.

As a Penn researcher, Forster specialized in respiratory physiology, studying areas such as gas exchange in the lungs and tissues as well as blood flow. 

In addition to writing papers and lecturing on his research, Forster was a member of the Society of General Physiologists and the Biophysical Society, and served as the 39th president of the American Physiological Society, an organization that aims to increase understanding of biological function and disease treatment, according to his obituary.

Forster also worked on an advisory committee to NASA and co-authored "The Lung: Clinical Physiology and Pulmonary Function Tests," the Inquirer reported.

Forster was appointed to the National Academy of Sciences in 1973 and awarded a Von Humboldt Fellowship in 1993. At 85, he still held an active grant from the National Institutes of Health, the Inquirer reported.

Outside of his professional career, Forster enjoyed sailing and playing tennis. He is survived by his four children and nine grandchildren.