Dr. Robert Feeney


Aug. 26, 1925 — Apr. 21, 2018

Dr. Robert Feeney was born in Derby, CT.  The son of an uneducated father who worked at Birmingham Iron Foundry and a mother who was an intellectual poet of some repute. Bob’s father’s combined wisdom and work ethic as well as participation in the Boy Scouts created formative experiences in his life. He was Valedictorian of Derby High School class 1943. 

He first arrived at the gates of Timothy Dwight College at Yale University mid-way through his Junior year of high school. He later became a 16-year-old naval officer trainee. He received a full scholarship to Yale and was a proud member of the greatest generation and renowned class of 1945W.  Dr. Feeney served his country as a Commissioned Officer and Navigator of the Light Cruiser-USS Dayton CL105.  The Dayton was based in San Pedro, CA and participated in some of the final naval battles in the Pacific Theatre during WWII. He returned to Yale following the war to earn his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry.

In his 37 year career with Pfizer, Inc., Dr. Feeney rose from the role of Staff Chemist to Executive Vice President of Global Licensing and Development. He is credited with helping transform the company's product portfolio by successfully licensing such products as Procardia®, Zithromax® and Zyrtec® all billion dollar medications used in the treatment of hypertension, infectious disease and allergy.  Pfizer, founded in 1849 as a fine-chemicals business grew to become a leading Pharmaceutical company with nearly $52 billion in revenue and over 96,000 employees.

After retiring from Pfizer in 1987, Dr. Feeney joined the renowned San Francisco based Venture Capital firm of Hambrecht and Quist as General Partner of the Life Sciences Fund.  Over the next 10 years, Dr. Feeney and his partners went on to help form and develop some of the most innovative and successful biotechnology and medical device companies in the world including Cephalon, Mitek and others. Dr. Feeney’s passion for life sciences, business insight and deep commercialization expertise helped create important clinical innovations in the treatment of pain and minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery.

Dr. Feeney was active in civic and charitable affairs throughout his life, including the creation of an endowed Fellowship at the Yale Center for International and Professional Experience. The Dr. Robert J. Feeney Endowed Chair supports students in their travel, exploration and pursuit of personal, academic and career goals. Dr. Feeney has also been a lifelong benefactor of Boy Scout Troop 3 in Derby, CT for whom he created an endowed international exchange program to Limerick, Ireland. Each year, a dozen Scouts from Ireland and Derby are able to spend summers with their respective Boy Scout Troops conducting community service, cultural exchange and creating once in a lifetime experiences and friendships. To further support Troop 3 and his lifelong mentor and former Scout leader Ed Strang, Dr. Feeney also helped create the Ed Strang Scout Reservation, a 186 acre network of forest, fields and streams along the Housatonic River in Goshen, CT.

Dr. Feeney, his wife Marjorie, their 5 children and 12 grandchildren all spent summers together on Water Island, Fire Island and developed a deep love for the Cayman Islands.  The landscape of his 59 year love affair and life with Marjorie was captured upon her watercolor canvas for all of their friends and family to see.  Marjorie passed away in July 2014.  

He passed away peacefully in his home on April 21, 2018 surrounded by his family and close friends.  He was 92.

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