Walter Jerome Dobrogosz

September 03, 1933 - August 04, 2023


Obituary For Walter Jerome Dobrogosz

Walter Dobrogosz, 89, of Raleigh, North Carolina, died peacefully at Springmoor Health Center, on August 4, 2023. He was born in Albion, Pennsylvania, on September 3, 1933.

Walter grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania with his parents, Walter and Mary Dobrogosz and his three sisters Vera, Mary Jane and Rose. Walter graduated from Academy High School in 1951, where he met his future wife Donna Jean Bartone. The high school sweethearts were married on August 22, 1953 and would have celebrated their 70th anniversary in a few weeks. Walter and Donna had four children (Steve, Karen, Mike and Glenn), nine grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.

Walter received his B.S., Masters and Ph.D. degrees in bacteriology and biochemistry from Penn State University. Walter completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Illinois before moving to Raleigh, North Carolina in 1962 to start his new position as Professor of Microbiology at North Carolina State University. In 1983, Walter received a Fulbright Fellowship to study in Uppsala, Sweden where he, and his Swedish colleague Sven Lindgren, conducted research suggesting a highly beneficial probiotic. Walter and his fellows would later obtain patents to market L. reuteri and founded Probiologics International (PBI) in 1987. The company would later be purchased by public investors and the name changed to BioGaia.

In addition to his life’s dedication to research and teaching science, Walter loved being with his family and enjoyed many trips to Holden Beach, NC and Erie, PA. Walter was also a lifelong athlete who, for most of his adult life, played handball and won multiple state tournaments. Later in life, Walter and Donna enjoyed traveling and took dozens of cruises around the world. In 2013, he fulfilled his wife’s lifelong dream and took his entire family on an Italian cruise.

Walter was a strong, family patriarch, who, despite a strong independent streak, had a soft spot for his children and grandchildren. Perhaps more than anything, he enjoyed being around the dinner table, enjoying a glass of wine, his wife’s Italian cooking, and great conversation with his family. In his true, scientific fashion, he would often remind everyone of his favorite line – that questions are more important than the answers.

Walter is preceded in death by his parents, Walter and Mary Dobrogosz, his sister Vera Rodgers, and his wife Donna Dobrogosz.

Walter is survived by his four children and their spouses, Steve Dobrogosz and Katarina Fritzen of Stockholm, Sweden, Karen Dobrogosz and Robert Wilson of Micaville, North Carolina, Mike and Lisa Dobrogosz of Norris, Tennessee, and Glenn and Tonya Dobrogosz of Greensboro, North Carolina; nine grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. Walter is also survived by his two sisters Mary Jane Brennan and Rose Gray.

A memorial service will take place at a later date in Erie, Pennsylvania. In lieu of flowers, please send any donations to the Walter Dobrogosz Science Scholarship Fund at the Greensboro Science Center.

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  • August 06, 2023

    Our condolences to the Dobrogosz family and friends. Walt was a wonderful friend and colleague, we worked together in the microbiology department at NCSU for more than 30 years. We co-mentored several doctoral students. Walt and I shared a birth date of September 3rd. We used celebrate our birthday and Donna's and Doris BDs together every year. We will miss Walt and he will be remember by us for ever. Hosni Hassan and Doris Betancourt

  • August 06, 2023

    Steve, Karen, Mike and Glenn, my condolences on the passing of Uncle Wally. Uncle Wally was my godfather and always looked forward to seeing him, Aunt Donnie and you in Erie at Grandma and Grandpa's. John

  • August 04, 2023

    Heartfelt condolences to my Dobrogosz cousins, aunt Mary Jane and aunt Rosie. Peace be with you all. Bill Rodgers

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