Dr. Robert Joling, former president of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, attended our COPA conference in Los Angeles in 2008 to speak about the forensic research that he did with Philip van Praag on the acoustic evidence in the Robert F. Kennedy assassination, proving that a second gunman was present and firing at the same time Sirhan’s bullets were missing RFK. We will miss him and his insights and courage. Open and Shut Case, the book he co-authored with van Praag is a classic example of good research.
A note from Paul Schrade, also wounded in the pantry, who has worked to reopen the case for many years:
“Robert Joling died two weeks ago. Bob was with three generations of his family in Florida to celebrate his 88th birthday. He had been seriously ill for several weeks. I notified Ben Wecht who told Cyril Wecht Bob’s close friend and ally in the forensic science community. I have asked Bob’s family for the obituary. I had been working day to day with Bob on the Robert Kennedy case to which he had been dedicated from 1969. He had been updating his book on the RFK case co-authored by Phil Van Praag THE OPEN AND SHUT CASE. He knew the most and set the highest standards for all of us in our pursuit of truth and justice.”
Obituary for Robert Joling
In Memory of Robert John “Bob” Joling
Robert J. “Bob” Joling, J.D., 88, of Green Valley, AZ, passed away on Monday, January 14, 2013, at Celebration Hospital, Florida. A World War II veteran of the 20th Air Force, 314th Heavy Bombardment Wing, 19th Bomb Group, 28th Squadron, B-29 group stationed in Guam and recipient of the Presidential Unit Citation, Bob was born in Lynden, WA, to the late Edward “Hidde” Joling and Mamie (Ludwick) Joling. He was raised in Austinville, IA, and Kenosha, WI. On November 25, 1953, Bob married Carolyn Hubbard, to whom he was married for 59 years.
Bob attended college at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI, and received his law degree from Marquette University Law School in Milwaukee, WI. During his law career, Bob practiced before Wisconsin Supreme Court, Eastern and Western Federal District Courts 1951, and Arizona Federal District Court 1972; 7th Federal Circuit Court of Appeals and United States Supreme Court 1956. During his first 20 years of law practice, Bob was a trial lawyer. In 1971, he joined the original faculty of the University of Arizona medical school in Tucson, AZ, as associate professor of medical jurisprudence. Bob would return to trial practice in Kenosha, WI, in 1976. In 1996, he left the active trial practice and was appointed as a municipal court judge, a position he filled for five years. In May of 2001, he was recognized by the State Bar of Wisconsin for 50 years of faithful service in the practice of law.
A lifelong learner, Bob enjoyed working on his computer, attending One to One Mac classes and would eventually author four books: Don’t Overlook the Obvious, On the Way to the Courthouse, Shame! Shame!: A Saga of Spade Cooley, King of Western Swing; and An Open and Shut Case, as well as numerous scientific articles and book chapters. He was published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences, Saturday Evening Post, and Argosy Magazine, appeared in numerous radio and television programs, and lectured to educational and professional associations throughout the United States and Europe.
For more than 50 years, Bob had been active in forensic sciences, holding positions as a past Fellow (1961); past president of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences (1975-76); founder and chairperson of The Forensic Sciences Foundation; and former member of the British Academy of Forensic Sciences. Bob’s book An Open and Shut Case documented his work on the Robert F. Kennedy assassination case, to which Bob dedicated more than 40 years of forensic research and expertise.
Memberships included the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. He was also an active member of the Green Valley Presbyterian Church, Green Valley, AZ, and a former member of First Presbyterian Church, Kenosha, WI. Bob’s other favorite pastimes included fishing, gardening, traveling and family vacations to Walt Disney World.
Bob is survived by his loving wife, Carolyn (Hubbard) Joling; his children, Nancy (Grant) Cole, Robert (Zondra) Joling, Karen (Carl) Edenhofer, and Scott Joling; his grandchildren, Tiffany (Cody) Holdren, Chad (Kimberly) Cole, Michael (Terri) Joling, Sara (John) Lancaster, Aimee Edenhofer, Jontal (Michael) Fawcett, Kristin Cole, Julie (Bryce) Lehman, Desirae (Chris) Kuhn, Kortnie Edenhofer, Tylar Edenhofer, Jimmy Joling and Jake Joling; and 13 great-grandchildren. Bob is also survived by a sister, Ruth (Joling) TenBrink; and brother, Edward “Bud” (Laura) Joling.