In Memoriam

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In Memoriam Archive

David Bradley Straus ’53

David came to Reed from Francis Parker School in Chicago, Illinois, driving west in fall 1950 with Joe Hearst ’53 and Murray Work ’53. Before leaving home, the Reed freshmen were admonished not to exceed more than 500 miles in one day and not to drive after sunset. David earned a BA in chemistry in three years, writing his thesis on the gamma irradiation of insulin with his adviser, Prof. Art Livermore [chemistry 1948-65]. At Reed, he met Harriet McWethy ’54; they married in Portland in 1955. 

David earned a PhD in biochemistry from the University of Chicago in 1960 and did postdoctoral work at Princeton University. He taught at SUNY–Buffalo and SUNY–New Paltz, where he researched the structure of RNA and taught biochemistry, nutrition, and a course on pollution, population, and the future of human life. David served as a councilor for the American Chemical Society for many years. He was involved in environmental preservation and land use issues, and was active in local government and with the Gardiner Democrats. He did photography throughout his life and was an early adopter of new technologies. He also enjoyed spending time gardening and in the outdoors. In addition to Harriet, who provided the details for this memorial, survivors include their daughter and two sons, Lisa, Lee, and David; eight grandchildren, who were truly enjoyed and encouraged by their grandfather; and a sister and brother. “In memory of David, please preserve the environment and vote for the candidate of your choice.”

Appeared in Reed magazine: December 2015

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