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Robert ‘Bob’ Entzminger, 1948-2019

Entzminger4_2015_web.pngThe Hendrix College community is saddened by the death of former Provost and Dean of the College Dr. Robert L. Entzminger, who retired from the Hendrix in 2015.

A service honoring Dr. Entzminger will be held Sunday, Sept. 29 at 2 p.m. in Greene Chapel on the Hendrix College campus. Also, on Oct. 5 at 2:00 p.m., a service will be held at the Memphis Funeral Home on Poplar Avenue in Memphis, Tenn. The obituary follows.


Dr. Robert L. Entzminger, 71, died Sept. 22, 2019, surrounded by family at his home in Memphis, Tenn.

Robert, known to friends as Bob, was born Feb. 25, 1948 in Belle, W.Va., to Robert and Lottie M. Conley Entzminger. Bob met his wife Mary Lou Milam at DuPont High School in Belle and, after a lengthy long-distance relationship that began while both were seniors in college, they married in 1972. 

Professionally, Dr. Entzminger was a teacher, scholar, and administrator. He graduated from Washington and Lee University and went on to earn his doctorate from Rice University. He specialized in British Renaissance Literature, authoring a book on John Milton titled Divine Word, among many other publishing credits. He received awards for his scholarship and teaching and was elected to numerous leadership roles in national and regional professional organizations. He was the English Graduate Program Chair at Virginia Tech and served as the T.K. Young Professor of English at Rhodes College, where he was also Department Chair from 1987-2000. He became the Provost and Dean of the College at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas and led with distinction until his retirement in 2015, leading the team that built the Odyssey program.

Bob’s research and teaching provided opportunity for travel, and the family trips with his wife and two sons were treasured. Bob was a fan of many of life’s wonders: great music, literature and theatre, beautiful basketball, and good food, especially desserts. His students and peers at Rhodes and Hendrix both knew him for his collection of Elvis kitsch, which amused him since the family’s move to Memphis in 1987. He was a quick wit and valued all culture as high culture, quoting Willie Nelson and John Milton with equal passion, humor, and generosity. 

Bob’s life took him from a hamlet in Appalachia to the height of academia. He is survived by his wife and best friend, Mary Lou Milam Entzminger; sons Chris and Justin Entzminger (Elizabeth Cawein), all of Memphis; and his sister-in-law, Cynthia Barnes, of Fairfax, Va. He is preceded in death by his mother Lottie, father Robert, and grandson, Henry L. Entzminger.

Arrangements are with Memphis Funeral Home.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Hendrix College or to a charity for education or the arts.