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NIH Record

Obituaries

Douglass, Former DRG Director, Dies

Dr. Carl D. Douglass, former director of the Division of Research Grants, died of cancer at the age of 73 on Sept. 23. He had retired from NIH in 1985, after 24 years of distinguished service, including 8 years as director of DRG.

Dr. Carl D. Douglass

Previously at NIH, he had been: deputy director of DRG (1972-1977); associate director for statistics, analysis, and research evaluation, DRG (1970-1972); associate director for program development and then associate director, Division of Research Facilities and Resources (1967-1970); chief, Research and Training Division, National Library of Medicine (1964-1966); and nutrition program officer, National Institute of Arthritis and Metabolic Diseases (1961-1964).

Before coming to NIH, Douglass was chief of the FDA Nutrition Research Branch after leaving his home state of Arkansas, where he had been associate professor in the department of biochemistry, University of Arkansas.

Douglass received several honors and awards, including a citation for superior performance from the FDA and a DHHS Superior Service Award. One of his most memorable experiences occurred in 1957, when he was on the faculty of the University of Arkansas. During the crisis in Little Rock, he was the physics and math tutor for Ernest Green, the senior member of the group of African American students known as the Little Rock Nine, who were seeking to integrate Central High School there.

Survivors include his wife, Vera, of 52 years, two children (Rev. Katherine and Joseph), and two grandsons (Adam and Joshua).


Gerald LaVeck, Third NICHD Director, Dies at 71

NICHD's third director, Dr. Gerald LaVeck, died after a brief illness on Sept. 20. He served at NICHD for 7 years, from Oct. 9, 1966, through Sept. 1, 1973. During his tenure, he presided over a reorganization of the institute that separated responsibility for intramural and extramural research and created 7 intramural laboratories. He also saw the construction of a $7.5 million NICHD Gerontology Research Center in Baltimore and the establishment of NICHD's Center for Population Research. During this period, he also held an appointment as clinical professor of pediatrics at Georgetown University.

"Dr. LaVeck's driving interest was in mental retardation research," said NICHD director Dr. Duane Alexander. "He helped to build NICHD's program in mental retardation research and spurred the interest of many young clinicians. There is no doubt he will be missed."

Dr. Gerald LaVeck

LaVeck was born in Seattle on Apr. 19, 1927. He graduated from Seattle's Garfield High School in 1945, then earned a B.S. degree from the University of Washington in 1948 and a doctor of medicine degree in 1951. He served a residency at the Seattle-King County health department, and then served in the Epidemiologic Intelligence Service of the Centers for Disease Control. He returned to Seattle for a residency in pediatrics and a fellowship in mental retardation at the University of Washington. From 1958 to 1962, he served as medical and clinical director of the Rainier State School for mentally retarded individuals, where he developed what many consider to be a model program for mentally retarded individuals.

"He was a good man," said Dr. Felix de la Cruz, chief of NICHD's Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities Branch. "I worked for him at the Rainier State School and he is singly responsible for spurring my interest in mental retardation research."

While at NICHD, LaVeck was often called on to brief Congress and the President on mental retardation and children's health research issues. Before becoming institute director, he held the posts of acting scientific director and head of NICHD's mental retardation program. Upon leaving the institute, he served as the director of the clinical trainee unit of the Child Development and Mental Retardation Research Center at UW. From 1976 to 1977, he was director of research at the Maternal and Child Health Bureau in Rockville.

According to his wife, Beverly LaVeck, Dr. LaVeck's scientific interests included genetics, infectious diseases, endocrinology, neurology, pharmacology, as well as human reproduction and contraception. She said his interest in mental retardation began at UW, during a mental retardation fellowship under Dr. Robert Deisher.

"Others have commented on how well he could listen, absorb information and make decisions," Mrs. LaVeck said. "He was unusually perceptive of others' abilities and supported them in positions where they could exercise those abilities."

A colleague at UW, Dr. Irv Emmanuel, said in an article in the Seattle Times that LaVeck had a modest demeanor that tended to obscure the fact that he was an important figure in the improvement of pediatric care, pediatric research and the education of physicians and other health care workers.

Since 1978, LaVeck had served as clinical professor, department of pediatrics at the School of Medicine at UW. He also held an appointment in the department of epidemiology at the School of Public Health there.

After his retirement from the Public Health Service in 1985, LaVeck enjoyed hiking near his cabin in Washington State's North Cascades. He died just 4 days after the death of NICHD's first director, Robert Aldrich, his mentor who was influential in bringing him to NIH.

He is survived by his wife, one son, three daughters and nine grandchildren. Contributions in his memory can be made to the Center on Human Development and Disability, Box 35790, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-7920.


CSR's Ellen Ring Mourned

Ellen, Ring, who retired at the end of August as chief of the Technolgoy Services Branch, Center for Scientfic Review, died of cancer on Saturday, Oct. 17.

Ring's life was an excellent example of the success a person can achieve through hard work, determination, intelligence and a sense of humor, said coworkers. Beginning her career with the government as a GS-2 inventory clerk, she advanced to a GM-15 supervisory computer specialist. Along the way she reared three children (Barbara Beatty, John Ring and Eric Ring), and returned to school, graduating cum laude from the University of Maryland with a degree in technology and management. She became skilled in the installation, troubleshooting, use and repair of various computers, and in all phases of office system technology. She also developed and conducted workshops and seminars on office computer use.

Ellen Ring

Chris Wisdom, CSR executive officer and Ring's last supervisor, praised her determination always to give her best as well as her ability to respond to high levels of stress with calmness and sanity. Dr. Ellie Ehrenfeld, CSR director, also noted her determination and intelligence, stating that Ring had served CSR with skill, hard work and absolute dedication.

In addition to her three children, Ring is survived by four grandchildren: Sarah and Morgan Beatty, Marcus Dutton and Celeste Ring.


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