AMHERST - Anthony M. Gawienowski died peacefully on Friday morning, Nov. 1, 2013, at the Center for Extended Care in Amherst, two days after his 89th birthday. The son of Polish immigrants Witold and Tekla Gawienowski, Tony was born in Newark, N.J. on Oct. 30, 1924.
He was a professor emeritus in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he focused on endocrinology research.
Tony was a man of strong convictions who had a powerful drive to get things done. He always wanted to figure out the best way of doing things better, faster and smarter. He had a curiosity about how the human body worked and what could be done to improve its functioning.
Tony grew up in Irvington N.J. where he graduated from high school. Tony attended Seton Hall University and transferred to Villanova University to enlist in a Navy V-12 training program and play football, and was commissioned in the U.S. Navy
. He served as an Assistant Navigation Officer on the U.S.S. General O.H. Ernst (AP 133) and was awarded American, Asiatic Pacific and European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medals and the Victory Ribbon, and retired a Lieutenant (junior grade). After World War II, he graduated from Villanova in 1948, and then worked in the pharmaceutical industry until he enrolled in the University of Missouri, Columbia in 1952.
He earned his master's and doctoral degrees in Agricultural Chemistry (endocrinology.) While in Columbia, he met Clotilda Brewington and they married July 30, 1955. They were married 57 years. Following postdoctoral work at the University of Texas
at Austin, he joined the faculty of Kansas State University's Department of Chemistry. In 1963, he became a member of the faculty at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, initially with the Chemistry Department and assisted in the creation of the Department of Biochemistry, now the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. His research included the metabolism of diethylstilbestrol (DES) and he started raising alarms involving its use in 1958, the action of a cannabinoid agonist on retinas (marijuana and eyes), and also researched hormone synthesis, olfaction and animal behavior (using odors to build a better rat trap). He retired in 1992.
Tony was active in the Knights of Columbus, the Human Life Foundation, Massachusetts Citizens for Life, Natural Family Planning, the Board of Overseers for the UMass Newman Catholic Center, the UMass Faculty Senate, and the Amherst Republican Committee and hosted "Republicans in Action" on ACTV. His professional associations included the American Association for University Professors, Sigma Xi, The Endocrine Society, the Society for the Study of Reproduction, the American Chemical Society, Gamma Alpha, and Phi Lambda Upsilon. His other interests included the origins of creativity, the Catholic Charismatic movement, mentoring students in the Golden Key Society, being an advisor for UMass R.O.T.C., the unionization of the UMASS faculty and coaching nursing students through their biochemistry course requirement.
He leaves behind his brother, John of Sunnyvale, CA, and five children, the Rev. John Gawienowski of Amherst; Tony Gawienowski of St, Charles, MO; Dr. Margaret Briskin and husband Donald Briskin, of Champaign, IL; Dr. Mary Frances Gawienowski of Barrington, IL; and Peter Gawienowski and his wife the Rev. Michelle of Shoreview, MN. He leaves two grandchildren, Clotilda Briskin and Luke Gawienowski. His wife Clo passed away in February. He was preceded by his sister Helen and brother Steven. His family would like to extend their thanks and gratitude to the staff of the Center for Extended Care.
Funeral services will be Thursday, Nov. 7, at 9 a.m. from the Douglass Funeral Service, Amherst, with a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 a.m. in the Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Chapel at the Newman Catholic Center, Amherst, with burial following in North Amherst Cemetery. Calling hours will be Wednesday, Nov. 6, from 6-8 p.m. at the Douglass Funeral Service. Donations in his memory may be made to the Newman Catholic Center, 472 N. Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA 01002. Obituary and memorial register at www.douglassfuneral.com.
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