It is with sadness that the MBL announces the passing of Corporation Member Dr. J. Richard Whittaker who died in New Bruswick, Canada on May 29, 2008 after a long battle with cancer. The MBL flag will be lowered in his memory.
From 1978 to 1986 Dr. Whittaker served on the MBL Board of Trustees and was interim director of the MBL in 1986-1987 after the departure of director Paul Gross.
Dr. Whittaker first came to the MBL in 1959 as a student in the Embryology course and served the following two years as a research assistant in the course. From 1988 to 1991 he was an instructor and associate director of the course.
Dr. Whittaker, a native of Cornwall, Ontario, earned his Ph.D. in developmental biology from Yale University in 1962. He taught at UCLA from 1962 to 1967, worked on the research staff of The Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology from 1967 to 1981, and was affiliated with the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine from 1971 to 1981. Dr. Whittaker served as Professor of Biology and Director of the Boston University Marine Program (BUMP) from 1981 to 1985.
Dr. Whittaker spent many summers at the MBL throughout the 1970s while an associate professor at the Wistar Institute of Anatomy and Biology. From 1985 to 1992 he was a senior scientist, directing the MBL’s laboratory of developmental genetics. He returned to Canada in 1992 to the position of chair of the Department of Biology at the University of New Brunswick. He retired in 1997.
Dr. Whittaker once called the MBL “a very special place, not only to me but to many other people who are my friends and colleagues. It is the one institution that has had the most profound influence on my education and career.”
A service of tribute and committal will be held on Saturday, June 7, 2008 in New Bruswick. A memorial will be held at a later date in Woods Hole, MA.