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Big shoes to fill

January 19, 2008

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My dad’s mentor, Nevin Scrimshaw, sent my family a draft memoir of my dad’s work. As far as I know, the lengthy review of his life as an accomplished researcher, scientist, husband and father, is to be published in an upcoming National Academy of Sciences journal.

I will share once I get the green light, but in the meantime, I wanted to pass along the closing graph which I read for the first time yesterday afternoon and, frankly, haven’t stopped thinking about it since. Nevin couldn’t have captured dad’s ethos any better…

While words can describe his scientific achievements and his national and international reputation, they cannot adequately convey his ebullient Welsh personality, sly humor and unusual charisma. He would tease outrageously anyone at any level of society and they loved it. He was widely and greatly admired as a teacher, researcher, colleague and exceptional human being. He was brilliant, completely dedicated and exceptionally considerate of others at all professional and social levels. He was an outstanding mentor whose infectious curiosity stimulated inquiry and new discoveries. There are few persons who have been so universally liked throughout the world or who have contributed as much to nutritional science. In one of his last lectures, he quoted Arthur M. Sackler, who established the Medical Tribune newspaper saying “Art is a passion pursued with discipline and science is a discipline pursued with passion. Passion is the engine that drives creativity.” This latter well describes Vernon.

Man, do I have some big shoes to fill…

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