Robert C. Wolfe, 84, a Philadelphia physician whose passion was starting and traveling to youth hostels, died on Dec. 1 of heart disease at Unitarian-Universalist House.

Dr. Wolfe was born in Grand Rapids, Mich. His family moved to Scranton in the 1930s and then to La Anna, Pike County, where his parents built a family home.

He maintained a home there through the early 1990s, although he also rented an apartment in Philadelphia, said Marion Rosenbaum, a family friend.

Dr. Wolfe graduated in 1942 from the Peddie School in Hightstown, N.J., and from Princeton University in 1947.

During World War II, he was in the V-12 Navy College Training Program, which educated commissioned officers. He served in the Army Reserve in the Korean War from 1950 to 1952 and was discharged at the rank of captain, Rosenbaum said.

Dr. Wolfe received his medical degree in 1952 from New York Medical College. He interned in Sodus, N.Y., then spent his career as an internal medicine specialist affiliated with Temple University Hospital, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Albert Einstein Medical Center, and Episcopal and Germantown Hospitals.

Before retiring in 2005, Dr. Wolfe maintained a private practice in various neighborhoods. He was a supporter of Gaudenzia House, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation program in Philadelphia.

He was a lifetime member of American Youth Hostels, now Hostelling International. In the early 1950s, he was an officer with its Pocono-Susquehanna Council and was responsible for creating the Pocono hostel in La Anna, near his home.

Dr. Wolfe was active in the group's Delaware Valley Council and with the Chamounix Hostel in Fairmount Park, and started new hostels and maintained those already established in Pennsylvania. In 2001, American Youth Hostels gave him the Isabel and Monroe Smith Award for lifetime achievement.

Dr. Wolfe shared his love of hiking, biking, and canoeing by leading hostel trips. In 1957 he traveled to Ireland and Wales, and later visited France and eastern Canada.

He was also interested in Franco-American relations and in keeping the legacy of the Marquis de Lafayette.

After a fall in 2006, he entered the Unitarian-Universalist House, where he lived until his death.

Surviving are nieces and nephews and their families.

A remembrance ceremony will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Unitarian-Universalist House, 224 W. Tulpehocken St.

Donations may be made to Hostelling International, 8401 Colesville Rd., Suite 600, Silver Spring, Md. 20910.

Contact staff writer Bonnie L. Cook at 610-313-8232 or bcook@phillynews.com

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