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Friends and Colleagues Mourn the Passing of K.C. Donnelly

By Eddy Ball
August 2009

K. C. Donnelly, Ph.D.
Toxicologist K.C. Donnelly (Photo courtesy of Melany Borsack and TAMU Health Science Center)

Following an extended battle with esophageal cancer, long-time Superfund Research Program (SRP) grantee K. C. Donnelly, Ph.D., died on July 1 in College Station, Texas at age 57. He is survived by his wife, Ruth, two sons and daughters-in-law, brother and sister.

Donnelly served as a professor and head of the Environmental and Occupational Health Department in the School of Rural Public Health at the Texas A&M University (TAMU) System Health Science Center from 1999 through 2009. He was the associate director for the NIEHS-funded Superfund Basic Research Program at TAMU, held an appointment in the Department of Veterinary Integrated Biosciences at TAMU and was on the Executive Committee of the Interdisciplinary Faculty of Toxicology. Donnelly also held an appointment in the Department of Veterinary Integrated Biosciences at TAMU and was a member of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act Scientific Advisory Panel for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Donnelly's standing in the environmental health sciences community was reflected in the tributes of friends and colleagues as they learned of his death. In a statement from the TAMU Health Science Center, President Nancy W. Dickey, M.D., and Vice President for Academic Affairs Roderick McCallum, Ph.D., described Donnelly as "an idea man who finished the tasks at hand... [and] truly a remarkable colleague and friend."

When he learned of Donnelly's death, NIEHS SRP Director William Suk, Ph.D., observed that Donnelly "made significant contributions to the Program and NIEHS... [and] more importantly, at least to me, he was just about the nicest, kindest person I have ever had the privilege of knowing." Steve Safe, Ph.D., a long time faculty colleague and principal investigator of the TAMU Superfund Project, said, "K.C. was a superb colleague and friend who was dedicated to improving public health, particularly in underserved communities along the Texas-Mexico border and in other countries."

A memorial service for Donnelly was held July 5 at Aldersgate United Methodist Church in College Station, where he and his family were members.



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