Dr. Joseph A. Erwin passed away on May 1st, the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, at the age of 81. Born November 25, 1932 in Brooklyn NY, Dr. Erwin lived for 35 years in Chicago working as an Associate Professor of Biology at the Illinois Institute of Technology from 1967-2001. Upon his retirement, he divided his time between a winter residence in New Port Richey, FL and a summer residence in Buffalo, IN. As a research biologist, Dr. Erwin contributed significantly to human understanding of the biochemistry of lipids - knowledge essential to the treatment of heart disease, pain management and diabetes. He received his PhD from Syracuse University and was also a graduate of St. John's University and St. John's College Preparatory School in New York City. As a college student, he won national debating competitions. As a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard, Joseph published two often-cited papers with Nobel Prize winner Dr. Konrad Bloch. As a father, grandfather and friend, Joe was a model for decency, generosity, lifelong learning and respect for others. Dr. Erwin is survived by his daughters Christina of Chicago and Kim of Evanston; by Kim's husband Tom Mulhern and their sons Joey Erwin and Dakota Erwin of Evanston; by his former wife Ulrike Erwin of Chicago; and by his brother, Dr. Edward Erwin of Miami, FL. A Memorial Mass will be held at 4pm Friday, May 9th, 2014 at St. Gertrude's Parish, 1420 W. Granville Ave. For those who would like to recognize his life with a donation, we have established a tribute page in Joseph's name which can be accessed online through the Lurie Children's Hospital Tribute Program.
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Published by Chicago Tribune on May 4, 2014.