March 28, 1925 - October 13, 2021
Randle E. Pollard, a pioneering Black urologist, who as a physician, entrepreneur, and philanthropist was dedicated to the betterment of his community, died peacefully on Oct. 13 at Eastcastle Place where he lived. He was 96. Dr. Pollard went into private practice in Milwaukee in 1958, becoming the first Black urologist in Wisconsin. The medical establishment that he encountered was a far different one for Black doctors than the one he left behind when he retired 38 years later, a credit to the efforts of Dr. Pollard and others like him. He opened an office in an area where most of his patients were Black men, many of whom had probably never seen a urologist before. Dr. Pollard recognized a need that he could fulfill: that Black men historically had the highest incidence of prostate cancer of any group in the country and therefore would benefit from his services most. Early on, he understood the importance of taking on leadership roles in medical organizations in bringing about change. He was twice elected president of the medical staff of 700 at Good Samaritan Medical Center and served as president of the Milwaukee Urological Society, the Cream City Medical Society, and later the Wisconsin Urological Society. In addition, he was a founder of what became the R. Frank Jones Urological Society of the National Medical Association. He has written and delivered medical papers both here and abroad. Teaching also afforded him the opportunity to “give forward” to future generations. Among the many notable academic posts that he held were Chief of Urology at Deaconess Hospital and for three decades a clinical professor of urology at the Medical College of Wisconsin. “Dr. Pollard was the first Black urologist in the state of Wisconsin and the first Black member of our organization,” Dr. Sarah McAchran, president of the Wisconsin Urological Society, said in a statement. “His contributions to the profession and to his patients, especially his work to raise awareness about urologic diseases among black men, cannot be underestimated.” Dr. Tracy Downs, president of the R. Frank Jones Urological Society, recalled having visited Dr. Pollard’s Milwaukee office and was impressed that getting “the best outcomes for his patients” was key to his approach. “His contribution to urology and to the care of his patients has been immense, especially as a pioneer who blazed the trail as a Black urologist, so that I and others could follow,” Dr. Downs said in a statement. “We are saddened by Randy’s passing, and he will truly be missed.” Randle E. Pollard was born on March 28, 1925, the youngest of three children, to Mamie Anna (Perrin) and William B. Pollard Sr. Growing up in Evanston, Ill., he showed an early interest in math and science, graduating from Evanston Township High School. He played sports, but as he often said later, he was never the athlete his brother was. After high school, like his siblings before him, he enrolled at Prairie View A&M University, where he was a pre-med student. His college career was interrupted when he was drafted into the Army. He was assigned to the medical detachment of the 370th Infantry, 92d Division, and served as a combat medic in Italy during World War II. He was awarded 2 Bronze Stars and three Battle Stars. After Germany surrendered, while still in uniform, he was sent to the University of Florence to study for three months for college credit. While in Italy, he learned to speak Italian. Over the years, seeing people do a double take when hearing a Black man speak Italian became something of an inside joke within his family. Upon his discharge from the Army, he returned to college and before graduating, was admitted to Meharry Medical College in Nashville. He earned his medical degree in 1951 and spent the next few years gaining additional training in surgery and urology. Within a few years, he became Board certified in urology and elected a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Pollard’s accomplishments extended beyond medicine. He invested in many black owned businesses, including a pharmacy and a nursing home. He co-founded the North Milwaukee State Bank, the city’s first full-service, minority-owned bank. His philanthropic interests were many, and varied, ranging from the Milwaukee Urban League and the NAACP to sitting on the boards of The Bradley Center and Second Harvest. He was especially proud of the scholarships he created: the Pollard Prizes in Urology and Physiology at Meharry and the Pollard Prize in Urology at the Medical College of Wisconsin. He and his wife of 67 years, Mildred “Micki” (Brawner) Pollard, led active social lives. They traveled the world, several times over, returning regularly to Bologna to brush up on his Italian. His passion for languages also took him to Costa Rica to study Spanish. Pillars of their community, they attended galas and fundraisers. Dr. Pollard was never one to skip a good party. Together they enjoyed good food and dancing. Dr. Pollard was a member of St. Mark’s A.M.E. Church. He was also a lifetime member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and was a charter member of the Beta Alpha Boule of Sigma Pi Phi, the nation’s oldest Black fraternity. He regularly attended meetings of the Rotary Club of Milwaukee, where he gave talks on prostate cancer. Dr. Pollard often said that the three things he was most proud of was his family, his medical career and his military service. In 2019 he was one of Wisconsin veterans who took part in a Stars and Stripes Honor Flight to visit the war memorials in Washington, D.C. In his later years, he was rarely seen not wearing his veterans cap. Whenever a stranger came up to him to thank him for his service it never failed to make him smile. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his daughters, Karol J. Roberts (Fletcher), of Baltimore; Emily F. Pollard (Robert Wilensky), of Ardmore, Pa; JoAnne M. Williamson (Ronald), of Mequon, and a son, Randle B. Pollard (Juval Scott), of Charlottesville, Va.; 7 grandchildren, a great grandson, a nephew, and 3 nieces. A funeral with military honors will be held on Oct. 29 at the Wisconsin Memorial Park Chapel of Chimes in Brookfield. Mayor Tom Barrett, citing his “extraordinary accomplishments in medicine” and his community service, has proclaimed the day Randle E. Pollard Day in Milwaukee. Interment will take place on Nov. 22 at the Southern Wisconsin Veterans Cemetery, Union Grove The Pollard Family would like to express its gratitude to the staff at Eastcastle Place Health Center and the VITAS Hospice team for the care Dr. Pollard received. Those wishing to make donations are asked to contribute to the Pollard scholarships.
Randle E. Pollard, a pioneering Black urologist, who as a physician, entrepreneur, and philanthropist was dedicated to the betterment of his community, died peacefully on Oct. 13 at Eastcastle Place where he lived. He was 96. Dr. Pollard went... View Obituary & Service Information
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