Robert Robel, noted KSU biologist, is dead

By The Mercury

Robert J. Robel, a long-time scientist on the faculty at Kansas State University and also a key player in the development of state energy policy in the 1970s, died Wednesday at Good Shepherd Hospice House. He was 79.

Dr. Robel was an environmental biologist at K-State whose governmental involvement included a stint as chairman of the Governor’s Council on Energy and Natural Resources.

He was also at various times a member of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Ecology, the Midwest Nuclear Compact, the Environmental Protection Committee of the Interstate Oil Compact Commission, and the Midwest Task Force on Midwest Energy Requirements and Environment.

“There is no separating environment and energy,” he once said.

At KSU he was a member of the faculty of the division of biology. He advocated construction of the Wolf Creek nuclear power plant, acquiring a reputation for viewing issues through a non-political perspective. “I have no political leanings whatsoever,” he declared.

A graduate of Michigan State University, he received his doctoral degree from Utah State in 1961.

Mass of the Christian burial will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the St. Thomas More Catholic Church with the Rev. Don Zimmerman as celebrant. Cremation will follow the services with private family inurnment at a later date in the Sunrise Cemetery in Manhattan.

A Christian wake service and rosary will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Kansas State Rifle Association Foundation, KSU Foundation for the Robert Robel Memorial for Biology Graduate Students or the Community Health Ministries in Wamego.

Contributions may be left in care of the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home, 1616 Poyntz Ave., Manhattan, KS 66502. 

Complete obituary information will be announced later by the funeral home.

Online condolences may be left for the family through the funeral home website at

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