Dr. Krystyna Ansevin

Dr. Krystyna
Ansevin, 88, of Houston, Texas, succumbed to breast cancer on April 23rd, 2013 after a long confrontation with Alzheimer's disease. She was a devoted life companion to her husband for 51 years and a loving mother and grandmother. She also took in countless homeless and needy pets - and even two "grandchildren of the heart." She will be deeply missed by them.
Krystyna was born in Warsaw, Poland April 1, 1925 to Stefan and Krystyna Maria Dabrowski. She displayed a precocious sense of personal responsibility when, as a 5-year-old, she fearlessly confronted a man beating a horse. She demonstrated a life-long mission to defend the abused and powerless, whether human or animal, and showed distinct bravery in the cause. She was unbendingly principled both at home and at work and she taught the children under her care the importance of integrity and character.
Her formative years coincided with the ravages of WWII as Poland was occupied by Nazi Germany and then the Soviet Communist regime. In the war years, time after time, she survived only through what she regarded as the Grace of God.
Immediately after the war Krystyna studied biology at Jagellonian University in Krakow, Poland, from which she graduated with a M.S. degree in 1951. She worked as a senior research assistant in the Marie Curie-Sklodowska Institute of Oncology, and started her Ph.D. degree at the University of Warsaw in the area of in vitro cell culture.
In 1957 she had the opportunity to become a research assistant at Columbia University. In 1958 she moved to the laboratory of Dr. Ralph Buchsbaum at the University of Pittsburgh, where she conducted research on organ reconstruction in culture, for which she received her Ph.D. degree in 1961.
Following her 1961 marriage to Allen T. Ansevin, the couple moved to New York City where Krystyna undertook postgraduate studies first at Cornell University Medical School, and later at Columbia University.
In the Fall of 1964, Krystyna and Allen moved to Houston were she was appointed Assistant Professor in the Biology Department of Rice University, making her the first female faculty member of the Wiess School of Natural Sciences. She subsequently advanced to Associate Professor and supervised one candidate for the Ph.D. degree.
As a professor at Rice University, Krystyna gained a reputation as a rigorous teacher as well as a competent researcher. Her studies and academic articles on the population of 3-dimensional organic substrates anticipated research that has led to major advances in tissue culture for medical use. She was a member of several professional organizations and the author of 17 research publications. Krystyna retired from Rice University in 1980.
Krystyna worked with the child advocacy organization Justice for Children and began a comprehensive study of research literature on various aspects of child maltreatment. Sadly, she was unable to complete a book on the subject as her Alzheimer's advanced.
Krystyna was deeply spiritual and a seeker of truth. She was a member of the Houston Live Oak Friends Meeting, Sri Sathya Sai Baba Society of Houston, and attended the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer.
She is survived by her husband, Allen T. Ansevin of Houston; daughter Andrea Celina and son-in-law Scott Ansevin-Allen and grandchildren Cutler Bodie, Greyson William and Madelina Zofia, of Keene, NH; son Christopher Michael Ansevin and Deborah Gist, of Houston; "granddaughter" Anita Powell, of Johannesburg, South Africa.; and "grandson" Vivek Powell, of NYC, New York.
A memorial meeting for worship honoring Krystyna's life will be held Saturday May 11th at 3pm at Live Oak Friends Meeting, 1318 West 26th St., Houston, Texas, 77008.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to one of the following organizations: Primarily Primates (
www.primarilyprimates.org); Justice for Children (www.justiceforchildren.org); or (www.alz.org).

Published in Houston Chronicle on Apr. 28, 2013