SAWYER--Dr. Wilbur Henderson, Pharmacologist and Educator. Dr. Wilbur (Bill) Henderson Sawyer died on December 24, 2012 at the age of 91 in Palo Alto, CA. Born March 23, 1921 to parents Wilbur Augustus and Margaret Henderson Sawyer, he is predeceased by two wives, Marian Kittredge Sawyer and Pamona Mitchell Sawyer. He is survived by four sons and their wives; Wilbur Kittredge and Anita York, Robert Kittredge and Diana Mosbarger, Thomas Kittredge and Kristen Talbott, Richard Kittredge and Nedhy Delgado, seven grandchildren, six great grandchildren, three stepsons, and four step daughters-in-law. Bill earned AB, MD, and PhD degrees from Harvard University and served in the US Navy Medical Corp. After successive positions as Instructor of Biology at Harvard and Asst. Professor of Physiology at NYU Medical School, he became Professor of Pharmacology at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. During his 33 year tenure at Columbia, Bill's extensive research primarily dealt with the evolution, physiology, and pharmacology of neurohypohyseal hormones, resulted in over 300 publications, and advanced the understanding of the neuroendocrine pathways between the pituitary and kidney. Bill held collaborative patents on several novel hormone antagonists, and was an emeritus member of over 15 scientific societies. In addition to his research, Bill was passionate about family, friends, travel, tennis, nature, and The New York Times. Bill's adventurous spirit, keen intellect, and unflappable self-confidence were inspirational for all who knew and loved him. Bill will be buried, alongside his father, at the Oak Hill Memorial Park in San Jose, CA. The burial service will be private, and a memorial donation may be made to the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratories (MDIBL), PO Box 35, Salisbury Cove, ME 04672.
Published in The New York Times on Dec. 30, 2012