Cover photo for Robin Tutt Vollmer's Obituary
Robin Tutt Vollmer Profile Photo
1941 Robin 2021

Robin Tutt Vollmer

March 10, 1941 — June 8, 2021

Robin Tutt Vollmer, M.D. died on June 8th, 2021 at 80 years of age. He was born on March 10, 1941 in Louisville, Kentucky to Amy and Calvin Vollmer. He earned his AB and MD degrees from Duke University, obtained an MS from State University of New York, Buffalo, and completed Residency in Pathology at Duke. He also served in the US Army from 1969-1971, attaining the rank of Major.
Dr. Vollmer had an extraordinary career at Duke and the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center after joining the faculties of both institutions in 1975. He served as Chief of Surgical Pathology at the VA for his entire career there. A majority of Dr. Vollmer’s diagnostic work was done at the VA, though he made substantial contributions to diagnostic pathology at Duke for several years, particularly in the area of dermatopathology. He had a profound impact on Duke trainees on rotations at the VA, including Residents and Fellows in Pathology and Pathologists’ Assistant students.
Dr. Vollmer’s entire life was about education and he felt like there was never an end to learning and teaching. He won two Fetter teaching awards in the Duke Department of Pathology, bestowed upon him by his residents. He was a primary mentor to the Pathologists’ Assistant students. In addition to his work as a practicing pathologist and educator, Dr. Vollmer was a potent academic pathologist who published over 210 scholarly articles. Outside of the hospital, he continued to consume knowledge as a voracious reader with historical fiction being his favorite.
Water sports were a focus of his life. In his teens, Dr. Vollmer was the waterfront director for the Louisville Boy Scout camp which included taking inexperienced pre-teens down the Ohio River in canoes. He shared this love with his family taking them on canoe trips up and down the east coast from the Okefenokee Swamp to Canada’s Newfoundland province. He taught his daughters to skipper his Flying Scott sailboat on Sundays. Later, his weekends were spent kayaking on local lakes and once a year, he took a month-long paddling tour of the Beaufort sounds. His love of water was not restricted to boats– he swam every morning for over 40 years.
Dr. Vollmer also had musical talent, picking up the trumpet at an early age and never putting it down. He lettered at Duke in the marching band, including a performance on the field of the 1961 Cotton Bowl. He was especially proud of being the Drum Major for the Atherton High School band in Louisville, KY. He was still pulling the trumpet out and playing it in his last months of life.
He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Pamela Vollmer, his daughter, Kirsten Vollmer and his grandson, Calvin Idzi, his daughter Malin Vollmer and her husband, Vince Caserta, all of Durham, and his step-daughter, Christina Galunas, her husband, Ryan Galunas and their children Eric and Mina, of Hillsborough, NC. His sister is Victoria Gehen of Durham, NC and two nieces are Robin Malek of Carrboro, NC and Beth Fritschy of Mulhouse, France.
The funeral will be held at 11am, Monday, June 14, 2021 at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church 810 W Chapel Hill St Durham, NC and via livestream: Click here to view the Livestream service.. A simple reception will be held after in the Immaculata Gathering Space. The graveside service will be held at 1pm at Maplewood Cemetery; Click here to view the Livestream service.. Flowers are welcome and donations in support of the Pathologists’ Assistant Program can be made to Click here to view the GoFundMe page.

The Vollmer family is under the care of Hall-Wynne Funeral Service, Durham, NC.

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Service Schedule

Past Services


Sunday, June 13, 2021

4:00 - 6:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Monday, June 14, 2021

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Immaculate Conception Catholic Church

810 West Chapel Hill Street, Durham, NC 27701


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