We say goodbye to Dr. Robert P. Thiel, 76, of Meriden, Connecticut on Thursday, January 21, 2021 after a brief illness. His passing ends the life of a kind, funny, wonderful man.
Robert, or Bob or Bobby to his friends, grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He received an undergraduate degree from Drexel University, and earned his Ph. D in psychometrics from University of Pennsylvania. Though he had many professional passions – psychotherapy, physics, and statistics to name a few – his ultimate passion, the profession he repeatedly returned to, was teaching.
After spending a few years teaching high school math in and around Philadelphia, Robert became a professor of math at Southern Connecticut State University. He taught a variety of courses, including, of course, statistics, through his tenure. A change of scenery and a new opportunity saw him switch focus and embark on a career as a biostatistician, first at Dianon Systems, then as a founding partner at Diagnostic Oncology, CRO, and finally as his own business owner, with the founding of Thiel Statistical Consulting. He became one of the foremost biostatisticians in the country, specializing in designing clinical trials for oncological detection and treatment devices, and analyzing the data generate thereof.
Despite a successful career as a biostatistician, teaching was never far from his mind, and throughout his career he routinely returned, as an emeritus professor at SCSU, and as an adjunct professor at both University of New Haven and Gateway community college.
Robert was a spiritual man and was active in the Episcopal church. He was also a man who had a joke prepared for every occasion. He enjoyed racquetball, movies and theater, and spending sunny days on the back deck with his wife. But his favorite thing to do was cook, converse, and spend time with his family – time that was always filled with laughter.
Robert is survived by his loving wife Linda Mackenstein Thiel and his beautiful children, children-in-law, and grandchild: Jillian Thiel Louis and husband Paul Louis, Sean Michael Thiel and son Johnny Thiel, Kristine Valeda (Thiel) Donahue and husband Tim Donahue, and Erika Elsbeth Thiel and husband Mark Handler. Robert is also survived by his siblings Valeda (Thiel) Massey and William Thiel, and many other loved ones, friends and colleagues. Those who loved him feel his loss deeply, and he will be missed.
Flowers may be sent to 185 Hamilton Street, Meriden, CT 06451, or a donation in his name may be made to American Autoimmune and Related Diseases Association, Inc.