Robert L. Bialkin, an obstetrician and gynecologist who delivered thousands of babies during decades of practice on the South Shore of Nassau County, has died of complications related to lymphoma. He was 80.
Bialkin, who kept a written log of every child he ushered into the world, died Sept. 4 at Albany Medical Center. He was remembered by his family and colleagues for his sharp mind, warm bedside manner, and devotion to family and patients alike.
“His patients would not only remember him, but he would remember them,” said his daughter, Stacey Bialkin, of Cambridge, Massachusetts. “I think people really liked that.”
Bialkin was born in Nyack, Rockland County, in 1936, his daughter said. Bialkin, his sister and his parents moved frequently during his childhood, following the roving pediatric practice of his father. The family lived in Texas, Mexico City and Spring Valley, Rockland County, before settling in Teaneck, New Jersey, according to Pamela Farkash, Stacey’s sister, of Wantagh.
Bialkin showed unusual academic ability at a young age, skipping two grades in high school and enrolling in Lafayette College at the age of 15, his daughters said. He graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa in 1956, and went to medical school at the University of Pennsylvania.
After graduating in 1960, he began a residency at Bellevue Hospital, now called NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue, which was punctuated by a brief term of service in the National Guard at Fort Dix in New Jersey, and by meeting a young nurse, then named Sonya A. Wein, who would become his first wife.
After marrying in 1962, the pair lived in Rego Park, Queens, and Lynbrook in the 1960s before settling in East Rockaway, where they lived for decades and raised their four children, his daughters said.
Bialkin worked in several medical practices in or around Lynbrook, where he developed close relationships with his patients — especially those whose children he delivered.
“It was more like a family actually than just a patient-doctor relationship,” said Maureen Bougher, of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, who worked with Bialkin for nearly 30 years. “He just had a way about him that made people comfortable.”
Sonya Bialkin died in 1991 from complications of lupus, his daughters said. Her husband, who remarried in 1992, retired to upstate Saratoga Springs in 2010 about the time he was diagnosed with lymphoma. He remained a fan of hockey and horse racing, and an avid reader until the end of his life, said Sheila Bialkin, his second wife.
“In the hospital, he wanted me to read ‘Ulysses’ aloud to him,’’ she said. The dense novel by James Joyce was one of his favorite books, she said.
In addition to his second wife and daughters, Bialkin is survived by a sister, Jacqueline Barie of Boca Raton, Florida; another daughter, Marcie Samuelson of Raleigh, North Carolina; son Steven Bialkin of Naples, Florida; three stepchildren; seven grandchildren; and two stepgrandchildren.
After a graveside service on Sept. 7, Bialkin was buried at the cemetery of the Congregation Sons of Israel in Spring Valley.