Robert Adam Seelinger

October 16, 1951September 22, 2018

ROBERT ADAM SEELINGER died on September 22, 2018, on his father’s birthday, after a four- and a-half-year battle with pancreatic cancer. He was born at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington DC on October 16, 1951. An Eagle Scout, he attended Rogers High School in Newport, Rhode Island, and Dickinson College, in Pennsylvania. He spent his junior year in Rome. He received an MA from Brown University, and a PhD in Classics and Classical Archaeology from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1981. Seelinger learned Latin at an early age and continued to read, write, and teach it his whole life. He was also a scholar of ancient Greek, and during his three sabbatical years in Greece he became fluent in Modern Greek.

He moved to Columbia, MO in 1974 to pursue his PhD in the Department of Classical Studies. He started teaching Latin and other Classics courses part-time at Westminster College in 1979. The position became full-time and tenure-track in 1981.

From 1999-2005 he served as Dean of Faculty and Vice President of the College. He was a leader in the initiative to start a Westminster campus in Mesa, AZ and was grateful for the support and dedication of all those who were involved in that project. He was gratified by the fact that many of the Mesa students continued their Westminster experience on the Fulton campus. He was deeply moved by the retirement celebration he shared with other colleagues in 2016.

He is survived by his wife, Cathy Callaway, his son, Nicholas Seelinger, his sister, Barbara (Robert) Beebe of Middletown RI, and nephew Adam Carter of Tacoma WA, and two great nephews. He also leaves behind a beloved host of relatives on Cathy’s side that consider him family; several were present at his peaceful death in his home. Thanks to the people at Hospice Compassus and Dr. Anna Hulbert for making this possible. We would also like to thank ALL the health care professionals, at the University Hospital in Columbia, at Mayo in Rochester MN, at Barnes in St Louis, and the Emergency Technicians in Fulton, who showed such compassion, care, and expertise every time they worked with him to cope with the challenges of this disease.

Celebration of Robert's life will be 2:00 pm Sunday, October 21, 2018 at the Church of St. Mary Aldermanbury located on the Westminster College Campus, 501 Westminster Ave. in Fulton, Missouri. A reception will follow the service. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be directed to either Westminster College, Mayo Clinic in Rochester MN, or the Fulton Soup Kitchen c/o Debo Funeral Home, 833 Court Street, Fulton, Missouri 65251.


  • Westminster College, Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, or Fulton Soup Kitchen


  • Celebration of Life Service with Reception to follow Sunday, October 21, 2018

Robert Adam Seelinger

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Scott Wright

October 21, 2018

It is difficult to put into words the impact Robert Seelinger had on our family. Having met Dr. Seelinger via our family’s connection with Cathy at the museum, it was fortuitous that one of our high school-aged daughters had him as her professor while taking courses at Westminster. Dr. Seelinger welcomed her, challenged her, and supported her, despite her significant language-learning difficulties. His kindness and graciousness extended to her twin sister, and the rest of our family. In fact, his support helped shape the future of that aspiring Latin student of his and helped her find her course in life. We are forever grateful.

With deep sympathies and gratitude,
Scott Wright on behalf of the Wright Family: Clara, Ella, and Jennice McCafferty Wright

Patricia Plummer

October 19, 2018

I am so sorry for your loss. I only just learned of Robert's passing having returned from TX following the death of my brother-in-law. I know you have many friends and supporters and hope you will count me among them. Please know I care and can empathize, a bit, with what you have and are going thru. Please call on me if ever I can be of any help or a sympathetic ear.

Komes Rozes

October 19, 2018

So sorry to hear about our dear friends passing. Many good times with Robert and on Greenough . My sympathy to Barbara and his family. God bless.

Barbara Beebe

October 18, 2018

Rob was my brother and I will miss him forever......he was so smart, kind, gentle, understanding, always willing to listen, and the best brother is so hard for me to comprehend the fact that he has died and on our father’s 101st birthday, am sure he celebrated his 67th birthday (10/16) with our parents and grandparents........please keep a watch over all of your family, love your sister, Barbara

Robert Power

October 18, 2018

I remember Bob from High School. He was a very nice guy. I am sorry we will not see him at our 50th next year.

Brittany Sharp

October 6, 2018

He was such a great inspiration and always a pleasure to be around... I had great professors throughout my college career; and you could ALWAYS tell when your professor enjoyed his/her time with their students. He was a breath of fresh air to everyone just trying to get by.

I had Dr. Seelinger for Latin classes at Westminster... But I honestly believe he knew a little about everything

“Tamdiu discendum est, quamdiu vivas” (Seneca).

Jay Kelly

October 2, 2018

McGee! Can anyone explain that?
I knew Robert first as McGee. Then Bob. And Bob was a ballplayer. In youth baseball he'd thrown a no-hitter. A long time member of the Hickory Grove Country Club Softball team in Columbia, Bob was often "Big Bob" to distinguish him from other teammate Bobs not quite so tall.

Bob's lanky frame was ideal at 1st base as he was able to corral many an errant throw.
And being "Bob" allowed the team to have:
Bob - 1st
Dylan - OF
in the lineup!

He was a true "Grover," playing well but always understanding that fun was the overriding intent on that team. And the fun continued with the camaraderie for hours afterward at the "party in the parking lot!"

His teammates will always cherish his memory.
We all loved Robert.

Everett Wheeler

October 2, 2018


I was shocked to learn of Bob's passing. I remember you both well from my time at Mizzou.

Deepest sympathy,


Cathy Pesce

September 30, 2018

Everyone talks about how kind, compassionate, and gentle Bob was, and while all of those adjectives are certainly true, I think of Bob as tough. He did not give up on his friends, his students, his causes, his beliefs, or what was right and just. To say he was one of the best men I have ever known is an understatement. As a colleague, he was unfailingly supportive, and it was easy to talk to him about anything. We will miss him in every way possible.
Rest easy, friend.

Selcen Phelps

September 30, 2018

Bob taught me you can be kind without sacrificing quality, live fully under stress, and hang on to joy even as the sun sets on your dreams or your life. We spent one of the most difficult years of our lives fighting together to establish and preserve WC Mesa. He celebrated small achievements, built community, dragged us to see plays, and in countless ways kept our fledgling campus full of hope and my one-track, task-focused mind tethered to sanity. He was a great friend, a mentor, an uncannily talented dog-whisperer. He was one of the most authentically good and unfailingly kind souls I have ever known. I don't remember a single time I ran out of patience with someone that he did not defend them with meticulously remembered facts and infinite empathy. Post-Mesa, he was a constant role model on how to live gracefully with failing health. To this day, I cherish a text he sent me by mistake when he had meant to tell Cathy, "Milady, your carriage awaits." Bob and Cathy showed me true love abides in the right hearts, as do a zest for life, a childlike openness to new experiences, and a bone-deep understanding of diverse cultures. Thank you, Bob, for the long, lovely conversations, the countless dishes I would not dare sample without your encouragement, the funny surfing anecdotes, the time you took sharing your expert scholarship and your gentle wisdom, and all the laughter. I wish you Godspeed, and your beloved Cathy and Nick my warmest love and deepest condolences.