John Cymerman Craig
Jan. 23, 1920 - Sept. 26, 2012
John C. Craig, an Emeritus Professor of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Chemistry at UCSF, died on Sept. 26th of heart failure. John's career began at the University of London where he received Bachelor of Science degrees in both Physics and Chemistry (with first class Honors) followed by a PhD in Organic Chemistry from Imperial College, London. From 1942 to 45 John was a Gas Identification Officer, for which he was awarded the Defence Medal. He taught at London University's Charing Cross Hospital in Organic Chemistry, was Senior Lecturer in Organic Chemistry at the University of Sydney (St. Paul's College) from 1948 to 1961, and also received the D.Sc. degree from Sydney University in 1962. In 1958 he became Visiting Scientist at NIH and Walter Reed for research in anti-radiation drugs. In 1960 he began his 30-year career at UCSF, where he was Professor of Chemistry from 1963-1971, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry Chairman from 1963-71 and Associate Dean of Research from 1971-1992. He was selected by the UCSF Academic Senate as the Annual UCSF Faculty Research Lecturer in 1974, and received the first Academic Senate UCSF Service Award in 1993. For the last 21 years John was a member of the UCSF board of the Faculty Emeriti Association and served as Chairman and Historian of the state-wide CUCEA.
His research produced over 250 publications in Organic and Medicinal Chemistry and focused on chemical structure and biological activity, including work on the synthesis of vitamin A, chemotherapy of tuberculosis and malaria, and development of stable isotope tracer technology for diagnostic tests for genetic diseases in infants and newborns (to replace the use of radioactive tracers). John was awarded the Research Award in Natural Products from the American Pharmaceutical Association Foundation in 1967, and the Research Achievement Award in Pharmaceutical Analysis from the American Pharmaceutical Scientists in 1988.
John was active in amateur radio and a member of the SF Radio Club and the Cathay Radio Club. He participated in the UCSF Emergency Network.
He was an avid collector of early English cookery books, and in 1988 the Bancroft Library, UCB mounted an exhibit of 100 volumes of his collection titled "Four Hundred Years of English Diet and Cookery: 1541-1939". He was a member of the Bancroft Council and edited "The Cookery Manuscript of Lillie Hitchcock Coit, 1870-1890, San Francisco" which the Bancroft published in 1998.
He is survived by his wife Elaine, his daughter, Elizabeth (Eric) and grandchildren Benjamin and Katherine of Park City, Utah; his son, Anthony (Ruth) of Dorset, UK and grandsons Thomas (Kelly) of Perth, Australia and Matthew (Ruth) of Devon, UK and four great grandchildren.
Friends and colleagues are invited to a Memorial Celebration of John's life at UCSF on 29th October, 4-5 p.m. in the Lange Room of the Kalmanovitz Library, 530 Parnassus Avenue, 5th Floor, Room 522. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A private interment was held on Oct. 6th at Mt. Tamalpais Cemetery. In lieu of flowers: The UCSF Faculty Associates Student Scholarship Fund, c/o Mrs. Robert Hickey, Box 216, Ross, CA 94957.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on October 14, 2012