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In Memoriam
Blaine McKusick

Jan. 10, 2005--Blaine McKusick, 86, died in his sleep Jan. 5. He had been in declining health for the last few months.

He was a member of the University of Delaware Research Foundation (UDRF) for many years, serving on its Research Committee from 1980-98. In 1999, the organization honored him at its annual luncheon and thanked him for his “generous and excellent service.”

Dr. McKusick also was a member of the Marine Associates in the College of Marine Studies and served on the Sea Grant Advisory Council for several years.

In 1992, he was awarded a UD Medal of Distinction. presented to
individuals who have made humanitarian, cultural, intellectual or scientific contributions to society, who have achieved noteworthy success in their chosen professions or have given significant service to the University, community, state or region.

Born in Minneapolis, Dr. McKusick received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1940, and his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in 1944. He did postdoctoral work at Harvard and the Technical University of Zurich.

He worked for E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. for 37 years, from 1945-82 in the central research department, the agricultural chemicals department and the Haskell laboratory for toxicology and industrial medicine.

He was an editor and director of Organic Syntheses and Organic Reactions and an active member of the American Chemical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry.

He authored 40 papers, 20 patents and 3 national research council reports.

He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1950, the American Chemical Society award of Chemical Health and Safety in 1986 and a DuPont Safety and Health Award in 1990.

His work with war gases during World War II led him to a lifelong goal of getting the United States to sign the war-gas treaty entered into by most other countries after World War I. His goal was finally achieved with its ratification by the U.S. Senate in the late 1990s.

Dr. McKusick's hobbies included hiking, skiing and tennis. He was also an avid birder and amateur astronomer.

He was married to Marjorie Jane Kirk in 1952. A pediatrician in Wilmington, she later was a founder of the Delaware Adolescent Program Inc. that became a national model for helping pregnant teenagers get needed childcare and complete their high school education. She also served as director of the Student Health Services at UD. She died of cancer in 1976. They had three children, Marshall Kirk McKusick of Berkeley, Calif., James Chase McKusick of Baltimore, and Kathleen Blaine McKusick of Redwood City, California, who is the mother of Dr. McKusick’s grandchild, Marjorie Rose McKusick.

Dr. McKusick married Virginia Walters in 1979. She died in 1997 and is survived by her four children and five grandchildren. In 1999, he married Emily Morris, who survives him. She has four children, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

He also is survived by his brother, Marshall, and his sister, Laura Bell Berthold.

A celebration of Dr. McKusick's life will be held at 3 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 16, at the First Unitarian Church, 730 Halstead Rd., Wilmington.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Delaware Adolescent Program Inc., 2900 North Van Buren St., Wilmington, DE 19802.