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Thomas (Don) Donnell Luckey, Ph.D.

May 15, 1919 ~ March 17, 2014 (age 94)


Thomas Donnell (Don) Luckey, Ph.D., died Monday, March 17, in his home in Walnut Creek, California, at the age of 94.  He is survived by his three daughters, Sara Jane Luckey, Mary Luckey, and donna luckey, three grandchildren, and two great grandsons.

Don was born in Caspar, Wyoming, on May 15, 1919, the youngest of five children of Lillian and Dr. Frank S. Luckey, a physician in the county hospital.  Spending his summers working on the family’s ranch, Don developed his love for horses as well as a fascination for snakes, providing many tales of his rattlesnake encounters.

Don graduated from high school in 1936 and earned a B. S. in Chemistry from Colorado State University in 1941.  After one year at Texas A&M he transferred to the University of Wisconsin, where he received his M. S. in 1944 and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry/Nutrition in 1946.  While at Wisconsin he met Pauline Mae Miller, and they were wed on September 1, 1943. 

Don started his professional career at the Laboratory of Bacteriology at the University of Notre Dame.  In 1954 the family moved to Columbia where Don served as the Chair of the Department of Biochemistry in the Medical School.  His research involved many international collaborations, particularly in Germany and Japan, as he moved from nutrition and germfree research to hormesis and the effects of ionizing radiation.  Don continued to travel and publish after his retirement in 1984; in total he wrote 6 books, co-edited 4 more, and published over 300 articles covering a wide range of research topics. 

Don and Pauline also collected and published material on antique dolls, an avid interest they shared during their retirement years in Loveland, Colorado.  After Pauline’s death in 2000, Don moved to Lawrence, Kansas; then in 2012 he moved to California with donna to be closer to more family members there. 


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