PETAR ALAUPOVIC

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August 3, 1923 - January 30, 2014 OKLAHOMA CITY Petar Alaupovic, internationally renowned biochemist, died on January 30, 2014. He was born August 3, 1923, in Prague, Czechoslovakia, to Lida and Radovan Alaupovic. The family, with his two brothers, Bato and Branko, moved to Zagreb, Croatia, where Petar attended elementary and high school. He studied philosophy, history, literature, and Latin - all under the direct tutelage of his beloved grandfather, Tugomir Alaupovic, a politician and poet, who also instilled in Petar a strong work ethic and perseverance - characteristics that would be so important to his future. Petar was an athlete who enjoyed soccer, water polo, cross-country skiing, mountain climbing, and jazz. In 1947, he married his beloved Alexandra, who later became an international artist. They enjoyed 65 years together until her death January 2, 2013. In 1949, their only child, Betsy, was born. In 1956, he received his Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of Zagreb. In 1957, Petar was offered what he described with wide eyes an "unbelievable opportunity" of a research fellowship at the University of Illinois. He accepted the position and immigrated to the United States with his wife and daughter. In 1960, he accepted a position in the Cardiovascular Section at Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF) in Oklahoma City. After just four years, in 1964, he created a naming and classification system for apolipoproteins that has become an international standard adopted by scientists around the globe. Petar focused the remainder of his long career in research on lipids and lipoproteins. These lipid-carrying proteins play important roles in causing coronary heart disease, diabetes and stroke. In 1964, he and his family became American citizens in a moving ceremony in downtown Oklahoma City. Petar, known affectionately as "Dr A," was passionate about his 53-year career at OMRF, where he became Head of the Lipid and Lipoprotein Laboratory. Though he retired at age 88, he continued to go to his office at OMRF every day to write papers and pursue his interest in lipoprotein research and its impact on health issues. Petar has lectured throughout the world and received numerous honorary degrees and awards during his career. He published over 330 scientific papers. As a professor of research biochemistry at The University of Oklahoma School of Medicine, he supervised over 20 Ph.D. candidates and sponsored 72 postdoctoral fellows. Over the years, he presented several hundred invited lectures at scientific meetings and universities. In 1990, Petar received the prestigious "Distinguished Career Scientist Award" from OMRF. Other honors include: Honorary Doctorate Degree, University of Lille, France; Honorary Diploma, National University of La Plata, Argentina; Honorary Doctorate Degree, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina; Honorary Doctorate Degree, University of Goteborg, Sweden; Special Recognition Award, Council on Arteriosclerosis, American Heart Association. If Petar was not in the lab, he could be found at the Oklahoma City Zoo, where he served as a Trustee of the Oklahoma Zoological Society from 1972 to the present. In addition to his scientific career, Petar (known to friends as Pierre) enjoyed reading history, studying fine wines, entertaining, traveling, skiing, hiking, attending symphony, opera, art exhibitions, and spending time with family and friends. He was a devoted grandfather, and both grandsons followed in his footsteps, pursuing careers in medical science. Petar is survived by Betsy Alaupovic Hyde, of Oklahoma City; two grandsons: Homer Clark Hyde and his wife Aga, of Chicago; and Robert Alexander Hyde and his wife Mary, of Cleveland, Ohio. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that contributions be made in Petar's memory to the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, 825 NE 13th St, Oklahoma City, OK 73104. Services will be private.

Published in The Oklahoman on Feb. 2, 2014
Petar Alaupovic
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