Dr. Harvey Daniel Rothberg

Harvey Daniel Rothberg, 90, died August 18 peacefully surrounded by family at the Penn Medicine Princeton Medical Center, Plainsboro. 

        Born November 17, 1928 in Plainfield, he was the son of the late Harvey and Helen (Rosenberg) Rothberg.

      He grew up in Plainfield, graduating from Plainfield High School. Attending Princeton University, he graduated magna cum laude in 1949. He then entered Harvard Medical School, where he graduated cum laude in 1953.

      Medical internship and residency followed at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. He later served as captain in the U.S. Medical Corps in the department of hematology at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C. Dr. Rothberg later returned to Massachusetts General for a senior residency.

      His distinguished medical career at the Princeton Medical Group began in 1960 as a doctor of internal medicine, specializing in hematology and oncology. He was among an early group of physicians to become board certified in the field of medical oncology. During his 40-year career in Princeton, he served as president of the medical staff at Princeton Hospital, and as president of the Oncology Society of New Jersey.

      Dr. Rothberg also served on the hospital’s Biomedical Ethics Committee until June of this year, and helped write the hospital’s version of a Living Will. Motivated by his life-long interest in education and sharing knowledge with others, he was Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, and served as the first president of the Princeton Regional Board of Education after the Borough and Township merger.

      Dr. Rothberg wrote successive books documenting the history of Princeton Hospital: The First Fifty Years: The History of Princeton Hospital, 1919-1969, and 25 years later, The First Seventy-Five Years: A History of the Medical Center at Princeton 1919-1994.

    Upon his retirement in 2000, he was acknowledged with deep gratitude by the Princeton Hospital medical staff for his outstanding contributions to the medical community.

    Dr. Rothberg was an ardent “Princeton Tiger,” proudly marching in the annual Princeton University P-rade, and most notably chairing his Class of ’49’s 70th reunion this past June. Football games, campus lectures, and cultural activities energized his life.  He was a longtime member of The Nassau Club, The Old Guard, and Springdale Golf Club.  

    He was also an avid gardener, botanical print collector, and deeply appreciated his books and library. His travel itineraries included visits to the architectural and cultural capitals of the world.

    He was proud to serve as a docent at the Princeton University Art Museum for 19 years. In 1994, he curated an exhibit at the Princeton University Firestone Library, titled “Masters of Botanical Art” based on his own botanical print collection.

    After his retirement as a physician, he continued to share valued medical advice with family and friends. 

     This summer while in the hospital he received many visits from close friends and family.

     Dr. Rothberg is survived by his wife Nancy of 46 years (to the day), his youngest daughter, Nancy Barnes (David) of Chatham, NJ, and their daughters Charlotte and Madeleine, who brought great joy to his life. He is also survived by two older daughters from a previous marriage, Elizabeth Rothberg of New York, N.Y., and Marjorie Rothberg of Wilmington, Del., and his brother, John Charles Rothberg (Diane) of Madison, VA.

    He was predeceased by his siblings, Anne Carolyn Reed, Nancy Lee Pierson, and Louis Nathan Rothberg.

    Dr. Rothberg will be remembered for his sense of humor, empathy, dedication to his patients, profound work ethic, and great love of family. The recipient of many honors, he was awarded The National Conference of Christians and Jews Greater Princeton Area Humanitarian Award in 1996.

    A private burial took place at the Princeton Cemetery. A public celebration of Dr. Rothberg’s life will be held at the Princeton University Chapel on Saturday, September 21, at 3 p.m.

    Dr. Rothberg was a great believer in giving back. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to any of the following organizations: The Princeton Area Community Foundation, Doctors Without Borders USA, the American Cancer Society, or a cultural organization in the area of art or horticulture.