DURHAM – Dr. Wolfgang Karl (Bill) Joklik, born in Vienna, Austria on November 16 1926, died in Durham, NC on July 7, 2019.
The older of the two sons of Karl Friedrich Joklik, and Helene Giessl Joklik, Bill moved, when he was eleven years old, to Sydney, Australia, where his father headed the Australian branch of the Austrian company Styrian Steelworks. He attended Cranbrook School and the Sydney University from which he graduated with a First Class BS degree and an MS degree in Biochemistry. He obtained a D. Phil. Degree from the University of Oxford, England, in 1952, working in the laboratory of Sir Paul Fildes at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology. After a year’s postdoctoral work in Copenhagen, he joined the Department of Microbiology at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia. Nine years later, in 1962, he moved to the Albert Einstein College of medicine in New York, and in 1968 was appointed Professor and Chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Duke University Medical Center, a position he held for 25 years. He guided the growth of the Department from an initial six faculty members to thirty-three when he retired, and to a ranking as one of the top three Medical School Microbiology Departments in the country.
Trained as a biochemist, Bill was one of the pioneers of Molecular Virology. His work on the mechanisms underlying how viruses infect cells, multiply and cause disease laid the groundwork for the development of vaccines and antiviral agents. He published more than 250 research papers and reviews, and for 25 years was Editor-in-Chief of and a major contributor to Zinsser Microbiology, one of the two leading texts for medical students. He was Editor-in-Chief of Virology, the primary journal in its field, for eighteen years. He was a member/chairman of numerous Study Sections and Committees of the National Institutes of health and the American Cancer Society.
His work was widely recognized. In 1981 he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, in 1982 he was elected to the Institute of Medicine, in 1986 he was awarded a Humboldt Senior Investigator prize, and in 1991 he was awarded the ICN International Prize in Virology. He founded the American Society for Virology and was its first President in 1982. He was President of the American Medical School Microbiology Department’s Chairmen’s Association in 1979.
His career at Duke was similarly distinguished. He was elected a James B. Duke Professor in 1972 and played a leading role in founding the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center in the early seventies; he was the first Chairman of the Cancer Center Planning Committee. He was a member of the Academic Council and of the Duke University Press Board, and the recipient of one the two 2005 Distinguished Faculty Awards from the Alumni Association of Duke University Medical Center.
Bill was a member of Immaculata Catholic Church, of the Rotary Club of Durham, of Hope Valley Country Club and of Grandfather Golf and Country Club in Linville, NC. He had wo primary volunteer interests after he retired. One was Caring House, which provides accommodation for out-of-town cancer patients undergoing intensive chemotherapy or radiotherapy at Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center, the other was the Durham County Public library. He was a long-time member of the former’s board (of which he was president in 1995-1997) and of the latter’s Foundation. He played a leading role raising endowments for both.
Throughout his career Bill’s primary concerns were teaching, research and the mentorship and sponsorship of his close to one hundred graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. He maintained cordial relations with many of them for many years, promoted their careers assiduously with advice and personal recommendations, visited them worldwide, and greatly enjoyed return visits from them.
Bill married Judith Vivien Nicholas in 1955 in Canberra, Australia. Judith succumbed to breast cancer in 1975. In 1977 he married Patricia Hunter Downey. Bill was predeceased by one daughter, Patricia Ann Downey, and two grandchildren, Maya Caroline Mason and Hunter Blair Lavinder. He was survived by his wife Pat; his brother Gunther Franz Joklik (Pamela Fenton Joklik); his children Richard Gunther Joklik (Jean Glasson Joklik), Vivien Helene Joklik, John Robert Downey II (Elizabeth Bruni Downey), Mary Downey Goodwin (Danny Dowell Goodwin), and Frances Downey Magruder (James Frederick Magruder); his grandchildren Marshall Allen Mason IV, Ruth Mason Pitstick (Phillip Edward Pitstick), Judith Park Joklik, Ella Vivien Joklik, Larissa Sophie Joklik, Alina Marie Joklik, Laura Corbin Downey, John Robert Downey III (Leigh Greer Downey), Elizabeth Downey Rand (Benjamin Rush Rand), Preston Mechling Lavinder, Cameron McCormick Lavinder, David Charles Johnson, Patricia Judith Roberson, Mary Elizabeth Roberson, Charles Mechling Downey Roberson, and Carrol Saunders Roberson III; and great-grandchildren Ian Emiliano Dominiquez Mason, Avery Laine Pitstick, John Henry Downey, Benjamin Rush Rand Jr., Katherine Virginia Rand, and Henry Blair Lavinder.
Arrangements for the Joklik family are under the care of Hall-Wynne Funeral Service. Online memorials: www.hallwynne.com
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