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Donald Steiner

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Donald Steiner Obituary
Donald F. Steiner, the A. N. Pritzker Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Departments of Medicine and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Chicago, died at his home on Tuesday, November 11. He was 84 years old.

Dr. Steiner revolutionized the understanding of the biochemical nature of insulin production. His work had profound scientific and clinical implications that enhanced the management of diabetes and created a better life for millions of diabetic patients worldwide.

Donald Frederick Steiner was born in Lima, Ohio, on July 15, 1930, to Willis Steiner and Catherine Hoegner Steiner. He earned his BS in chemistry and zoology from the University of Cincinnati in 1952, followed by an MS in biochemistry and an MD from the University of Chicago in 1956. He completed his internship at King County Hospital in Seattle, followed by a residency and post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Washington and was asked to join the biochemistry faculty at the University of Chicago in 1960, becoming chairman of biochemistry in 1973.

He has served as Director of the University of Chicago Diabetes-Endocrinology Center, Director of the University of Chicago Diabetes Research and Training Center, and as a Senior Investigator in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Chicago.

Dr. Steiner was elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. He published nearly 400 peer-reviewed papers, and his work has been cited by other researchers more than 10,000 times. He won dozens of prestigious national and international honors and awards, too numerous to list here. This summer he was awarded the University of Chicago Alumni Medal.

Don Steiner was an avid patron of the arts. He was a long-time subscriber of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and a supporter of large and small theater companies and the opera. Don was a talented pianist. He constructed his own harpsichord in the late 1960s, enjoyed sailing his catamaran in Chicago and Michigan, and tending to his plants and garden in Michigan.

He is remembered fondly by his colleagues and friends around the world for whom he provided mentorship and a role model. He was intensely curious and vigorously pursued adding to his depth and breadth of knowledge. He was a kind person who treated everyone with respect and an open ear.

Dr. Steiner is survived by his sister-in-law Ellen Steiner, wife of his late brother Phares Steiner, his niece Adrienne Steiner, his nephew Paul Steiner, his cousin, friend and neighbor Steven Roess, a number of other cousins and many, many friends.

A private memorial service is being planned for late November, with a larger event to take place in several months.
Published in a Chicago Tribune Media Group Publication from Nov. 15 to Nov. 16, 2014
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