Dr. Robert “Rob” Edward Karol passed away on Saturday, October 22, 2022, at the age of 68 after a courageous battle with T-Cell Lymphoma cancer and a bone marrow transplant.
He was a beloved father to his two daughters, Brittany and Chelsea; devoted son, caring brother, compassionate friend, and dedicated periodontist.
In the vibrant city of Brooklyn, New York on September 21, 1954, New Yorkers went about their busy day unaware that a legend was being born. Rob came into this big world with eyes of joy and curiosity. William (Bill) and Rhoda Karol were pleased to announce to their friends and family that their first child, and only son, had arrived. Growing up on a farm in New Jersey, he loved to play with the chickens in their coop, worked to gather an extensive record collection and helped his parents raise his little sister, Marcia.
Rob had a beautiful way of going through life. Everything he did was done with passion as he would see each endeavor through with grace and wisdom. Bringing joy and humor into the lives of others was one of his favorite things to do. He was on a weekly trivia team for over a decade, where he became close friends with his teammates as they dominated the world of trivia. Those who knew Rob, knew how much he loved getting out on the golf course. In many minds, especially his own, he was a golf pro. He had a standing tee time every Saturday with his buddies as they shredded the course. Rob entered, and won, numerous tournaments at his home course of Sawgrass Country Club. Attending almost every home Jaguar game, Rob was a proud founding season ticket holder who loved to bring his daughters to experience the atmosphere of an NFL football game, especially the Jags. With his unparalleled ‘dad jokes’ and witty sense of humor, there wasn’t a time he didn’t bring a smile or laugh to those around him.
Many refer to him as a kind, loving and solid man. No one knows this more than his daughters, Brittany and Chelsea. Being a dad to these girls was his favorite thing in life. He showed them strength, love, courage and passion, all while having a smile on his face and a joke in his back pocket. As a dad, showing up in times of need was never lacking. The girls referred to him as being their ‘best friend’ and Rob would say the same. Nothing made him more proud than seeing his daughters happy and successful in whatever form that took.
Rob whole-heartedly cherished his family, patients, colleagues and students. He received his Bachelor’s degree at Fairleigh Dickinson University and his Doctorate of Dental Medicine from the College of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. He established an impeccable work ethic early on in life, and even took the time to teach chess to classmates. He received his specialty training with one of the nation's top periodontal programs at the prestigious Columbia University School of Dental and Oral Surgery. After graduating, he moved to Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida where he started a family, with his then wife and mother of his children, Carol Anne Karol, and practiced periodontics and implantology for nearly forty years. With two practices across Northeast Florida, Rob had an incredible relationship with his patients and colleagues. Many would consider him their friend, not just their dentist. They would show their gratitude by sending him and his staff beautiful thank you cards, gifts and food. His staff were like a family to him. As a past president of the Jacksonville Dental Society, active member in the Chamber of Commerce and board president of his dental practice condos, he became a valued leader within the professional community.
Rob had a special place in his heart for helping others and giving back to the community. He was no stranger to volunteering his time and expertise to perform pro bono oral surgeries for those in need. Giving smile makeovers to recovering addicts brought him joy. He was an instructor for the FSCJ dental hygiene program and he regularly accepted Pre-Dental student interns into his dental practice, teaching the next generation the intricate skills he carefully crafted and mastered. Taking these students under his wing and showing them the tricks of the trade brought so much happiness to Rob. This couldn’t have made his parents more proud.
He is survived by his daughters, Brittany Karol and Chelsea Karol; his parents, Rhoda and Bill Karol; and his sister, Marcia Karol.
A visitation will be held at 11 a.m., and funeral services will be held at 12 p.m. on Wednesday, October 26 at Ponte Vedra Valley Funeral Home at 4750 Palm Valley Road in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL.
Funeral services will be livestreamed and recorded, for those who cannot make it in person, directly below this obituary beginning approximately ten minutes before the start of the chapel service at noon.
A “Celebration of Life” event will follow at 1:30 p.m. at Sawgrass Country Club with food and beverage to share in the life of Dr. Robert E. Karol and his family.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to the T-Cell Leukemia Lymphoma Foundation. Go to Tcllfoundation.org/donate for the online version. We ask for this donation in order to better equip healthcare professionals to research, identify and cure this rare form of cancer. May Rob Rest In Peace. God bless