Richard (Dick) Von Korff, 97, died peacefully on June 11, 2013 at Fairview Hospital in Minneapolis. Dick was born in Davenport, Iowa on Jan. 6, 1916, where he attended St. Ambrose College (1935-36).
In the height of the Depression, he left college to work as a chemist for John Deere, in Moline, Ill. He then worked for the Northern Regional Research Laboratory in Peoria, where he was part of a large group of scientists working on techniques for mass production of penicillin. Research at this federal government laboratory allowed the United States to produce 2.3 million doses of penicillin in time for the invasion of Normandy and the closing days of the Second World War, saving many lives. He was later able to return to the University of Minnesota
to complete his undergraduate and graduate studies, receiving a doctorate in biochemistry in 1951, where he was on the faculty of the School of Medicine until 1967. He was then director of biochemical research at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center (1968-77) and research professor at the Midland Macromolecular Institute until he retired in 1982.
Over a 45-year scientific career, he worked on research teams that helped define modern biomedical science, including teams led by Drs. David E. Green, Lewis Thomas, and Robert A. Good, scientists who played pivotal roles in founding the fields of enzymology and immunology.
In 1943, Dick met Jane Rehn in Peoria. Dick considered himself the luckiest guy in the world for having married Jane. They shared a life-long commitment to working for social justice and world peace. Both enjoyed camping and outdoor activities. They took their honeymoon paddling Dick's Old Town canoe down the Illinois River from Peoria to St. Louis.
Dick loved to travel to Europe with Jane to visit scientific colleagues, friends and relatives, making his last trip when he was 91. Dick and Jane were happily married for 47 years. After Jane's death in 1990, Dick never remarried.
Dick and Jane had three children, Gerald married to Connie, Michael married to Linda, and Lynn married to David; six grandchildren, Joshua married to Lucy, Benjamin, Michael, Douglas, Rachel, and Matthew married to Kathy; and four great-grandchildren, Brianna, Karissa, Anya, and Alasia.
After residing in Midland for over 30 years, Dick moved to Northfield, Minn. in 2009 to be closer to his children. In 2011, he moved to The Kenwood in Minneapolis, where he lived until his death. To the end, Dick remained an outspoken advocate for liberal causes and social justice.
In lieu of flowers, send donations to the American Indian College Fund. For further info contact: www.Washburn-McReavy.com
Edina Chapel 952-920-3996