Anthony Gordan San Pietro

Anthony Gordan San Pietro

Death 13 Sep 2008 (aged 86)
Burial Unknown
Memorial ID 29962416 · View Source
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BLOOMINGTON — Anthony G. San Pietro passed away on September 13, 2008, at the Meadowood Health Pavilion at the age of 86.

Born on April 22, 1922, in Brooklyn, New York, Tony (as he was known to friends and colleagues) originally aspired to become a singer. When he was in high school, he purchased booklets of song lyrics from street vendors and emulated the popular singers of the time. Despite his obvious talent, he chose instead a career path in scientific research and education, which spanned fifty years.

Tony graduated from New York University in 1942. He was inducted into the Army in October 1942 and entered the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP), where he studied electrical engineering. Upon completion of the ASTP, he spent the remainder of his military service at the Manhattan Project, Los Alamos, New Mexico, as a member of the Biochemistry Group. After military service, he attended graduate school at Columbia University, where he was awarded his Ph.D. in Biochemistry in 1951.

The decade Tony spent at Johns Hopkins University was memorable both on a scientific and personal level. He held a post-doctoral position in biochemistry from 1952 to 1954. In 1954, he joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor in Biology and the McCollum-Pratt Institute. He became an Associate Professor in 1959. It was during his time at Johns Hopkins that Tony met his future wife, Alice King, who was working as an X-ray technician. Even fifty years later, he still fondly remembered every detail of their first date.

He joined the Charles F. Kettering Research Laboratory in Yellow Springs, Ohio, in 1962, where he was involved in the creation of a first-rate laboratory in Photosynthesis and Nitrogen Fixation Research. While in Yellow Springs, he also made time to teach a biochemistry course at Antioch College.

Tony San Pietro served as the Chairman of the Plant Science Department at Indiana University, Bloomington from 1968 until 1977. He became a Charter Member of the Johns Hopkins Society of Scholars in 1969. He was given the title of Distinguished Professor of Plant Biochemistry by Indiana University in 1975. He was especially proud to be elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1983. He was also awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree by Purdue University in 1992 and retired from the Indiana University faculty that same year.

During his fifty years in science, Tony was fortunate to have collaborated with a large number of scientists from around the country and all over the world. He traveled extensively — including fourteen trips to Japan before he retired. A number of Japanese scientists came to do research in his laboratory both in Yellow Springs and Bloomington. Similarly, he had extensive collaboration with scientists from European countries, England and Israel. He was truly honored to have their friendship as well as their respect. His service with international programs of the National Science Foundation and the National Research Council helped place Indiana University prominently on the international map.

Tony continued to make contributions to the educational and scientific communities after his retirement. He participated in the Faculty and Staff for Student Excellence (FASE) mentoring program until 2003. He was instrumental in creating an Alliance for Minority Participation in Science, Mathematics and Engineering. He worked as a consultant for the Solar Energy Research Institute (later National Renewable Energy Laboratory, NREL) in Golden, CO, from 1978 to 1982 and again from 1995 to 2006. He also began a consulting agreement with COOK Biotechnology Inc. in West Lafayette, IN, in 1997, which continued until recently.

Tony San Pietro is survived by his loving children, James Robert of Lafayette, IN, Laura Ellen of Studio City, CA, and Judith (Jodie) Alane of Springfield, VA.

He was preceded in death by his dear wife Alice, a well-known watercolor artist, and his parents Rimetrio (James) and Maria (Cibelli) San Pietro.

Funeral services will be announced at a future date. Memorial contributions to the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society will be sincerely appreciated. Day Funeral Home in Bloomington is in charge of arrangements.

The Herald-Times, September 21, 2008


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  • Created by: Ron
  • Added: 21 Sep 2008
  • Find a Grave Memorial 29962416
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Anthony Gordan San Pietro (22 Apr 1922–13 Sep 2008), Find a Grave Memorial no. 29962416, ; Maintained by Ron (contributor 46936086) Unknown.