8 Feb

Remembering Geographer Bob Dodson

The American Geographical Society offers the Dodson Family and the entire geographic community sincerest condolences on the loss of Robert (Bob) Dodson.

Robert Haskins Thomas (Bob) Dodson was born on March 15, 1926 in Mount Vernon, New York to U.S. Navy Captain Harry Leluce Dodson and Louise Swift Dodson, and died on December 12, 2022 in White River Junction, Vermont. His father served in both World War I and II, and Bob served in the Navy at the end of WWII. He is best known for his immense bravery, and being one of the last Antarctic explorers, where he was an assistant geologist and dog team driver on the 1947-48 Ronne Antarctic Expedition, the last expedition to use dog teams for land transportation. He was educated at Phillips Exeter Academy, Harvard College, Dartmouth College, Harvard Business School, and the Centre des Études Industrielles in Geneva, Switzerland. After returning from Antarctica, Bob met the love of his life, Gertrude “Robbie” Robertson, and they enjoyed 68 loving years of marriage together. HIs family lives across the globe, from the west and east coasts of the U.S. to France and Taiwan. He is survived by three sons, Harry, Phillip, and Christopher, and a fourth, Nicholas, who predeceased him, as well as six grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Dr. Jerry Dobson, AGS President Emeritus, remembers Bob Dodson at the American Geographical Society:

Our heritage is bound to the greatest Arctic and Antarctic explorers who ever lived. Remarkably, one young crewman of one late expedition stands out as a sterling example of the spirit that drove luminaries and workmen alike. The Society came of age at a time when farthest north and farthest south meant canvas sails at sea and dog teams on land or ice. Bob Dodson punctuated that grand era with the Finn Ronne Antarctic Expedition, the last U. S. effort to explore Antarctica by dogsled. What’s more, he was the essential handler and driver who sustained its dogs and marshalled their labors to the cause. Bob is remembered at the Society though most of us never met him face to face. He was a gentleman among explorers, notably for his willingness to take a job ‘beneath his pay grade’ if that’s what it took to make the crew.

In remembrance, donations can be made to St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Hanover. Click here to read his full obituary, send condolence messages, and even plant a tree in his memory.