Philip Pollner, MD

March 27, 1939 - July 15, 2018

The world lost a great man, activist, and physician on July 15. Dr. Philip Pollner devoted his life to the disenfranchised and needy. Soon after his residency, inspired by the life and legacy of Bobby Kennedy, he braved blatant racism to lead a team of healthcare professionals and volunteers toHolmes County, Mississippi, to open and operate a free healthcare clinic for the underserved population there. Returning north several years later, hefounded a community health clinic in Middletown DE, where none existed at the time.Then hestarted his private practice in Elkton, MD, before moving it to Newark, DE. Hewas a pillar of the community, charging less for an office visit than most people pay for a haircut, and sometimes treating patients for free if their insurance failed to cover what was needed. Not interested in amassing personal wealth, he wanted to use his training and uncanny knack for diagnosis to ease suffering.

As a member of Physicians for Social Responsibility, Philshared in receiving the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize for his work educating world leaders and the public on the realities of nuclear proliferation. He organized the Delaware Alliance for Healthcare, and tirelessly fought to make healthcare for all a fundamental human right. And in 2014, he and his wife, Nancy, were prominent and outspoken participants in the victory to keep a power plant from being erected in Newark. He stood for peace, environmental justice, and single-payer healthcare, and he leaves us with many of his hopes for humanity still unrealized. But we are all better for his efforts. He will remain an inspiration and a symbol of the fight for right and the hope for positive change.

Son of Andrew and Rose, brother of Martin, he is survived by his wife, Nancy; children, Neil (Tori), Lara (Brian), and Andrew; step-daughters, Rachel and Sarah (Marc); and nine grandchildren, Natalie, Natasia, Tatiana, Sophia, Zia, Naomi, Jake, Gabrielle, and Isabella.

A visitation for family and friends will be held from 10 am until 11 am on Monday, July 23, 2018 at First Presbyterian Church of Newark, 292 W. Main Street, Newark, DE, where a funeral service will begin at 11 am. Interment will follow at Lower Brandywine Cemetery, 117 Old Kennett Road, Wilmington, DE.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Union of Concerned Scientists, 2 Brattle Square, Cambridge, MA 02138 or Greenpeace, 702 H Street, NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20001.


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23 Condolences for Philip Pollner, MD

  • With the greatest respect, admiration, and love. I will miss him terribly.

  • Condolences to the Pollner family on your loss. Philip sounds like a true legend from reading this short bio.

  • To all of Phil’s family,
    I pray for you in your time of loss and grief. May the memories of the happy times sustain you. His work has helped to carry the dreams of equitable healthcare, a sustainable environment, and peace on into our futures. And you all gave him the love and joy needed to sustain him in his life and work.
    May God Bless You!

  • Dr. Pollner was a very kind and caring physician who saw you as a person and not just an appointment. He cared for our family for many years until our health insurance changed. He and Vickie made a great office team. The medical profession has lost a valuable member and he will be sorely missed. My prayers and deepest sympathy to his entire family. Jean Norona – Elkton, MD

  • A wonderful physician who spent the extra time with his patients, always concerned about his patients and their health. A good friend to my deceased father, Damon Tomlinson, Sr. We believed his diagnoses of both of us helped to save our lives. He will be truly missed. Our prayers and deepest sympathy go out to his family

  • So sorry to hear of your family’s loss. Hoping you find bright times through memories of Phil.

  • Phil and I shared many a good time together. Though we agreed to disagree on many things, I always respected to zeal to make things better for mankind. “Rest in Peace my dear friend, and thank you for your contributions, you will not be soon forgotten.”

  • Rest in peace! Prayers for Dr. Pollnar’s family!

  • My heart is heavy after reading that Dr. Pollner has passed away. He was the BEST Dr. that I have ever had. Caring , super smart, down to earth, so very easy to talk to. He was my Dr. for 10 yrs. Still would have been had I not moved. He got me through 2 very difficult periods in my life. Not by pushing meds. On me but just listening and handing me tissues as I sat and cried in his office. I watched the video and enjoyed it with tears. RIP Dr. P….

  • Dr. Pollner saved my life 30 years ago. I had been misdiagnosed and he saw the urgency of the situation and sent me to the emergency room immediately. I then became his patient for five years while teaching in the Elkton area. He spoke passionately about health care, helping the poor receive medical treatment and his love of Bobby Kennedy. He was impassioned and fought fiercely for the underdog. The world is a richer and better place because of him. Prayers to his family.

  • We talked about everything and he took his time. He listened and asked probing questions. When I didn’t have insurance it didn’t matter.
    I will miss our talks in and out of the office.

  • My thoughts and prayers go out to all of Dr. Polner’s family. I was his patient for at least 20 years as were my parents. I will miss our talks and his good advise most of all. Going to see him at his office was like visiting a favorite uncle. I’m so very sad at his passing.

  • My sincere and heartfelt condolences are extended to Mr. Pollner’s family. He was such a kind and honorable man, and will be greatly missed. Although I wasn’t aware of all of these wonderful achievements, I am not surprised. I remember nothing but good from him and appreciate having known him. You all are in my thoughts and prayers. With love, Michele

  • My thoughts and prayers for the family.
    Dr Pollner was my Dr about 30+ years ago, he was always a great physician helping so many people in the community.
    Rest in Peace Dr Pollner, you will be missed.

  • My sincere condolences to Dr. Pollner’s family. We have lost a committed and learned activist who cared deeply for the individuals he treated and for the betterment of the human condition. His wit and moral energy will be remembered and provide us with a way forward.

  • I was so sorry to hear of the passing of Dr. Pollner. He was not only a great physician but a great friend.
    I enjoyed our political discussions. Will miss him.My condolences to the entire family

  • My condolences to the family.
    He was a wonderful, compassionate man who worked very hard for the causes in which he believed. Those of us who worked with him in the 1980’s as he organized the Delaware chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility were in awe of his drive, his vision and his dedication.

  • Phil lived a full and compassionate life. He made a difference.

  • Doc P was the best, most caring doctor I ever had!!!! God bless you, Doctor Pollner. My sincere condolences to the entire family!!!!!

  • My condolences to you Nancy and your family . Phil was one in a million. Truly dedicated to patients and to health care justice. He will be sorely missed. Best, Deb

  • Dr Pollner helped me so much in a dire time of need. I am forever grateful. He was a good man.

  • Best Doctor ever, he help me in so many way with my health. His treatment was spot on as a patient I can say I truly trust in his judgment as a patient I really missed him, more than a doctor but a great human being.

  • I knew the family 60 years ago, when we lived in the Bronx. Mr. and Mrs. Pollner were lovely people. They raised two fine sons. My condolences to the family.