Dr. Neil B. Madsen, 89, of Victoria, BC, passed away peacefully March 22, 2017. He was a devoted husband, beloved father, scientist, Rotarian and outdoorsman. He was born February 8, 1928 in Grande Prairie, Alberta to Anders and Rose Madsen. He is predeceased by his loving wife of 46 years, Laura. Neil is survived by sisters Jean Stewart and Elizabeth Golosky; daughter Maureen, son Ian (Erica) and grandchildren Olivia, Talia and Julian Neil; stepsons Bill (Kitty), Jan (Ina), Preston (Lynda), and step-grandchildren Jennifer, Dimitri (Kristina), Kirstin, Morgan, Nikolas and Hamishe.
Neil distinguished himself in the field of biochemistry at the University of Alberta. He was a great scholar of world-class stature. His legacy in science is well entrenched in the historical record. After receiving the Gold Medal for academic excellence in his class in Agriculture at the U of A, he began Masters studies in 1950. He received his Ph.D. at Washington University in 1955, under Nobel Prize co-winners Carl and Gerty Cori. He subsequently did postdoctoral studies in the laboratory of another Nobel Prize winner, Hans Krebs, at Oxford. His life work was glycogen phosphorylase. He and x-ray crystallographer Robert Fletterick made the discovery of the detailed, complicated structure of that enzyme, crucial to human and animal metabolism. Later on, Neil did related work on glycogen-debranching enzyme. He collaborated with other researchers around the world, and had many Canadian and foreign doctoral and graduate student, and post-doctoral fellows benefit from guidance in his own lab in Edmonton. He was also president of the Canadian Society of Biological Sciences, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and a recipient of the Order of Canada and the Queen's Silver Jubilee Medal. He retired in 1993.
After 31 years he and Laura retired to the city of Victoria, BC. Neil was afforded the time to pursue the hobbies he enjoyed most: his gardening, roses in particular, boating and fishing. Neil was an active member of the Oak Bay Rotary Club. Always the smartest man in the room, his generous soul made an impact on those who knew him. A loving father who will be missed forever.
The family wishes to thank the wonderful staff at Trillium Douglas Care for their compassion and care. In lieu of services and flowers, donations may be made to the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation.
Published in The Times Colonist from Apr. 5 to Apr. 7, 2017.