Arthur Falek
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FALEK-Dr. Arthur. 81, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavorial Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine. Arthur Falek born March 23, 1924 in Brooklyn, NY died on November 7, 2005 from congestive heart failure. Dr. Falek was well loved for his humor and grace and will be missed by family and friends. He completed his Masters Degree in Education and a doctorate in Human Genetics in 1956 from Columbia University. In 1965 he became Director of the Human Genetics Laboratory in the Psychiatry Department of Emory University, which led to his interest in the developing field of behavior genetics. In 1967, Dr. Falek started working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to establish the Metropolitan Atlanta Congenital Defects Program (MACDP), which has made major contributions to understanding the incidence and causes of birth defects and is the foundation upon which the current National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at CDC was built. In 1979, he was awarded Georgia Mental Health Institute's Individual of the Year Award for his research into the causes of behavorial differences. At that time, he also became a national board member of the Committee on the Problems of Drug Dependency-a group devoted to understanding and combating drug abuse. Dr. Falek established the Georgia Huntington's Disease registry to track families in which HD occurred and to provide genetic counseling for those families. In the late 60's, Dr. Falek and Marjorie Guthrie, the wife of folksinger Woody Guthrie, co-founded the Committee to Combat Huntington's Disease-a support group for HD families and a lobbying agency for HD research. Dr. Falek served on the boards of both the Georgia HDSA chapter and of the national organization as science advisor. For this service he won the HDSA Mason Thompson Award. In the mid-70s, Dr. Falek received the first National Institute on Drug Abuse grant to study how drugs affect the health of AIDS addicts based on their ability to fight disease both from HIV and from other opportunistic infections. This field has expanded greatly over the last two decades and led directly to a dozen international conferences on drugs and AIDS, the formation of a scientific society (Society on NeuroImmune Pharmacology) and recently a Journal of NeuroImmune Pharmacology-all of which Dr. Falek was involved in starting. For his work on the effects of illicit drugs on AIDS progression, Arthur Falek received The Medal of the City of Paris, awarded in May 1990 by Mayor Jacques Chirac. In 1980, Dr. Falek initiated the Fetal Alcohol Surveillance project in Georgia. This project was one of the first to identify the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure and to describe the behavioral characteristics of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and has contributed to the prevention of this common disorder. While at Emory, Arthur Falek taught several generations of medical students and was mentor to a large number of doctoral students and faculty members who went on to carve out their own distinguished careers in human genetic research, psychiatry and substance abuse. In addition to his academic excellence, Dr. Falek was well known for his community contributions including his service on numerous boards including the Jewish Family and Career Services in Atlanta; the Georgia Fetal Alcohol Task Force; Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies; the Robischer Society, and a myriad of other community service organizations in Atlanta. Dr. Falek was active in many local, national and international Jewish organizations including the Jewish Educational Loan Fund, where he was President and Chairman of the Board; Jewish Family and Career Services of Atlanta; and at Hebrew University where he helped to establish The Sheinfeld Center for Behavior Genetics. Dr. Falek was also an advisor to Hillel on the Emory campus. Dr. Falek is survived by his wife Rhoda, his children Linda and husband Andrew Aymes; James Falek and wife Wendy Tanson; six grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, his sister Nina Epstein and his caregivers Juanita ``Christy'' Bowen and Rosa Parpolov. For information please call: Dressler's Jewish Funeral Care (770 451 4999). The funeral will be held at 11 A.M. Wednesday, November 9 at The Temple, 1589 Peachtree Street, Atlanta. Contributions may be made to the Jewish Educational Loan Fund (770396-3080) or Jewish Family & Career Services of Atlanta (770-677-9329) both at the following address: 4549 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, Atlanta, GA 30338.

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Published in New York Times on Nov. 9, 2005.
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17 entries
December 7, 2005
I was so saddened learning of Arthur's death. I met Arthur in, I think it was 1947, in Camp Delwood, PA, where we were counsellors in an all summer boys camp.I was immediately drawn to Arthur—his intellect, his wit, his simlply, goodness. The tears—for Arthur and his famiily, colleagues, and the loss to the world—flowed. I will never forget his marriage to Rhoda {which was a glorious "Blast"}, his advice {which to my regret I almost never accepted}, and for his friendship, which I shall always treasure. He, and Rhoda, have never been far from my thoughts, and will always be in the forefront. I have always stood in "awe" of Arthur and more so now that I have read of all his accomplishments. I am so, so sad. I didn't get to say Bye,Bye I shall say Kaddish for Arthur. The world has lost one of it's best.
Melvin Commanday
November 30, 2005
James, I'm so sorry about your father. The world is lucky to have had him. Hope you're doing well.
Dede Harris - Karafotias
November 26, 2005
I am very saddened to learn of Arthur's death. I worked for him at GMHI from 1994-1996. I think the highlight of that was taking a day trip to South Georgia to monitor a reseach project. I drove and he rode shotgun. It was a most enjoyable trip with his sense of wit and humor. We met with two of the research field interviewers, had lunch with them and it was an educational as well as delightful time. I had just finished graduate school and I recall his door always was open. He was a class act.
Bill Ilott
November 12, 2005
We would like to express our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Dr. Falek. His great accomplishments will live on and continue to have a positive impact on others.
Elyssa & Brian Goldenfarb
November 11, 2005
We are saddened at the passing of Dr.Falek. With sincere sympathy to his family - May you find peace in the memories of times past and comfort from the love of those who care about you.
Bill & Kathy Kovacs
November 9, 2005
Like everyone before me, I am saddened at the passing of Dr. Falek. He was so kind to me when I first got involved with learning about Tay Sachs and working with those families in the mid 70's. He made me feel inportant and intelligent. I valued his friendship greatly. My condolenses to his family on their loss.
Lois (Okun)Bialac
November 9, 2005
I was shocked and saddened to learn of the death of Dr. Falek. I had been thinking of him earlier this week. I had the good fortune of being affiliated with Dr. Falek at GMHI from 1969 to 1975. These were the "wonderful years" and I look back on them with much fondness. Because of the interest I gained from working with Dr. Falek I am still in the field of mental health. To Rhoda, Linda and James (as well as other family and friends) I extend my sincere condolences. I am certainly proud that I was allowed the privilege of working with Arthur.

Nancy Walker Lee
Nancy Lee
November 9, 2005
The death of Arthur Falek is a great loss to all that knew him. My deepest sympathy to his family and friends.
Donald Smith
November 9, 2005
My family and I have called Arthur and Rhoda friends and neighbors for over 15 years. In addition to just being fun and enlightening to talk with, Arthur was key in putting us in contact with the right professionals in our travels thru the maze of developmental issues and diagnostic methods for our two daughters. We are forever in his debt and will miss him.
Jim Smith
November 8, 2005
I am proud to say that I called Arthur 'boss' for 22 years. He was an energetic scientist and his enthusiasm was infectious. Without a doubt, his contributions to science were major. My condolences to his family.
Fifi Donahoe
November 8, 2005
I, like many others have been touched by the generousity of Arthur and his wife Rhoda. Arthur was one of those rare individuals who contributions to sience, the community, and to friends should not only be emulated, but be taught to the next generation of scientists. Arthur clearly represents the definition of the word Tzadik. My deepest sympathies to Rhoda and the whole Falek family.
Stuart Hoffman
November 8, 2005
I have had the pleasure of knowing Arthur as an outstanding scientist interetsed in AIDS and drug abuse research. I enjoyed his jolly nature whenever we met at scientific meetings. At our last SNIP meeting, I sang him a Happy Birthday and Nature Boy song and with tears, he said that no one ever had sung this song for him on his birthday. Arthur was a man of golden heart; I will miss him.
Jag Khalsa
November 8, 2005
It makes me so sad to hear the news of Arthur's death. He was a wonderful man and exceptional scientist who was very kind to me during the four years I worked as a research assistant/interviewer for the Maternal Substance Abuse Study in the Human Genetics Lab. I remember fondly a late-afternoon Friday meeting we had in his office when he shared the story of his near-death experience during WW II. The world is a better place as a result of Arthur's presence and passion. His memory will live in the thousands of lives he touched.
Emily Siegel
November 8, 2005
I joined Arthur's Laboratory of Human Genetics', October 1, 1980. It surely changed my life. As a young Assistant Professor, he mentored me through the early 80s until I received tenure and created a spin-off laboratory in 1987. We continued to work in collaboration up to his retirement from Emory. I treasured this association and have the fondest of memories from it. We shared in many 'triumphs' and a few 'tragedies' along the way. I am truly saddened by the loss of one of my very best friends but rejoice that I knew him. My deepest sympathies to his lovely family and the many others who are missing him now.
Dr. Robert Donahoe
November 8, 2005
I had the pleasure of working for many years with Dr. Falek. I benefited from this association. Children around the world have and will continue to benefit from the contributions he made to establishing the Metropolitan Atlanta Congenital Defects Program.
Godfrey Oakley
November 8, 2005
I first met Arthur nearly 30 years ago at a meeting of the Behavior Genetics Association, of which he was a founding member with his mentor, the great geneticist Theodocius Dobzhansky. I had the pleasure of working with him as a colleague through the 1990s.

First, foremost and always, Arthur was a gentleman in the very best sense of the word. He always had a positive and supportive word for all who he encountered, even when that came at a cost. Throughout his life, Arthur retained the abundant curiosity and childlike enthusiasm that to many of us defines the spirit of a scientist. He was a caring, giving man whose life and work enriched the lives of us all. He will be deeply missed.
Fred Marsteller
November 8, 2005
I am very grieved to hear of Arthur's death. I was one of the beneficiaries of Arthur's mentorship. He gave me a job in the Genetics Lab when I was a graduate student working with Huntington's disease. Because of his mentorship, I was able to write a dissertation on the topic and to go on to develop the program he founded. That program continues today, thriving in the Emory Neurology Dept. It is a shining example to all other HD programs in the country. I am deeply grateful for my long association with Arthur. He will be sorely missed.
Randi Jones
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