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Kerstin E. Stempel


1940 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Kerstin E. Stempel Obituary
January 27, 1940 - January 15, 2018 A friend wrote upon hearing of Kerstin's passing that she was, "a wonderful, adventurous, cultured, generous, courageous, humane and fun woman." No one who knew her would disagree. Kerstin Sutherland Stempel was born in Dundee, Scotland, the daughter of Sir Gordon and Lady Sutherland. She spent her childhood in Cambridge, England, until the late forties when the family moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where Kerstin attended high school. Kerstin fell in love with America, especially baseball. After graduating from St. Andrews University in Scotland in 1962, she came to New Haven, Connecticut, to work in an independent research laboratory. She met her future husband, film historian Tom Stempel, at Yale. They were married in 1964 and moved to San Diego, where the following year their daughter Audrey was born. In 1967 Tom started graduate school at UCLA and Kerstin began a 34-year career as a laboratory supervisor at three different research labs at UCLA. Her unofficial title was "lab mommy," which meant she kept the graduate students and post-doctoral fellows from sterilizing themselves with radioactive waste. From 1967 to 1975 she worked for Dr. James Peter, and from 1975 to 1989 for Dr. Paul D. Boyer. Her last job was under Dr. Ron Kaback from 1989 to her retirement in 2001. In 1997 Dr. Boyer shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for work he did while Kerstin was supervising his laboratory. Kerstin sang for the Concert Singers in the South Bay, and for the choir at St. Alban's Episcopal Church for over thirty years. In her later years, Kerstin dealt with a wide array of illnesses, including scleroderma, scoliosis, and pulmonary hypertension. She met her medical problems demonstrating the great British World War II slogan: "Keep Calm and Carry On." She is survived by her husband Tom, daughter Audrey, son-in-law Daniel Elroi, and her two grandchildren Ilana and Noam. She is also survived by her sisters, Ann Harris and Mary Sutherland, three nieces and two nephews, as well as 6 grandnieces and 2 grandnephews. There will be a memorial service for Kerstin on Monday, February 5th at 3 P.M. at St. Alban's Episcopal Church at 580 Hilgard Ave., Los Angeles. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Scleroderma Research Foundation in San Francisco http://www.srfcure.org/ are requested.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Feb. 1 to Feb. 4, 2018
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