Francis C. G. Hoskin of Woods Hole and Canton died Wednesday at the age of 80. He was married to Elizabeth M. (Farnham) Hoskin. His first wife, Adele (Landrigan) Hoskin, died in 1991.
Born in Alberta, Canada, Mr. Hoskin grew up in the United States. At age 19, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and piloted numerous planes, from Tiger Moths to Lancasters, including the American Liberator. He completed his tour of duty over Europe with the Royal Air Force during World War II.
After the war, he returned to Queen’s University and the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, receiving a doctorate in Chemistry. He became a research biochemist with the Canadian government. He was assistant professor at Columbia University, and in 1969, professor of biochemistry at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.
His research brought him to the Marine Biological Laboratory in 1960, where he then spent every summer until his death. In Woods Hole, he discovered an enzyme in the nerve tissue of squid capable of destroying compounds known as nerve gases, such as Sarin, the nerve gas used by terrorists in Tokyo’s subway system.
After retirement, he remained active, serving on Defense Department advisory boards and as consultant to US Army labs in Natick. Beside his wife, Dr. Hoskin leaves a daughter, Laura A. Prusch; a grandson, Christopher Prusch of Spokane, Washington. A memorial service will be held Wednesday at 1pm at the Church of the Messiah in Woods Hole. He will be buried at the Churchyard Cemetery in Woods Hole. Interment will be private. Memorial donations may be made to the Division of Hematology/ Oncology (c/o Dr. J. Erban) at Tufts New England Medical Center, 750 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02111.
Reprinted with permission from the Falmouth Enterprise, May 30, 2003