A death in the ASBMB family

Scott Magid Scott Magid

Scott Magid, a peer-review coordinator for the Journal of Biological Chemistry, died Nov. 23 of injuries sustained when he was hit by a car near his home in Rockville, Md. He was 45.

Scott had worked for the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology for more than a year, serving as assistant to two JBC associate editors.

“Scott was diligent, careful and thorough in his work,” said Karen Schools Colson, director of publications at ASBMB. “He enjoyed publishing and was very proud to be working on JBC. Scott truly enjoyed all aspects of his life, and he was a joy to work with — a good person.”

Scott had spent his entire career in the publishing industry. A longtime New Yorker, he earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology at Queens College in 1992 and soon joined Matthew Bender Inc., a legal publisher now part of LexisNexus Group. After a stint at Data Conversion Laboratory, an electronic documents company, he joined in 2001 Springer Science + Business Media, where he spent seven years. He went on to work for WebMD and then moved to Maryland to join the National Center for Biotechnology Information as a technical editor. He joined ASBMB in 2013.

Amanda Fosang at the University of Melbourne, a JBC associate editor for whom Scott served as an assistant, said she felt like she had lost a close friend. “(H)e would bend over backward to help me in any way he could,” she said. “I know that sometimes he worked at night on my assignments because he knew that was my daytime. He was a generous and considerate person. We have all lost a very special colleague.” 

Staff members who worked with Scott at the ASBMB headquarters in Rockville recalled him as upbeat, outgoing and constantly on the move.

“He didn’t own a car but managed to get around Maryland and D.C. better than those of us with vehicles,” said Paula Popp, manager of editorial support at ASBMB. “He was a true New Yorker at heart.”

Staffers took to calling Scott “Mr. Happy Hour,” a term of endearment used by his friends in light of his organizing efforts for multiple Meetup groups dedicated to brunches, cocktail gatherings and other events involving morsels and libations.

Scott Magid with New Year's Party Hat

Ciaran Finn, a publications department staffer whose desk is stationed just feet away from Scott’s, recalled with amusement: “You could occasionally hear him making reservations or talking about his weekend plans involving the occasional tipple.” Finn added that Scott was quite a big fan of the New York Mets: “I enjoyed our morning conversations about games that had happened the night before. It was clear he was very proud to be a New Yorker.”

Another sports fan in the office, Julie Stoner, had this to say: "I will miss being around such a naturally encouraging and supportive person. I will miss talking with him about sports; even when his team wasn’t in the playoffs, he was excited for me that mine was, making the playoffs more fun for me. His positive energy was contagious so that after talking with him I invariably felt better than I had before talking with him." 

Pam Booth, another colleague of Scott’s, emphasized that there “was nothing pretentious about him.” She continued: “He was comfortable with himself and thus very accepting of others. What nice qualities. We were lucky to have him as long as we did.”

Scott Magid and Elvis

Scott was “always up for anything fun or humorous,” recalled Mary Chang, publications manager for ASBMB. “Scott and I worked on different journals, so I didn’t get the opportunity to talk to him too often about work things. It was at our ASBMB staff parties where I would have a nice catch-up with him… I will always remember the grin he would have on his face after he cracked a joke!” 

Tanya Kilpatrick, another cubicle neighbor of Scott’s and a fellow New Yorker, said: “I appreciate how he took full advantage of life. It’s inspirational. Scott loved to go out, and that’s what he did. He loved being with friends, and that’s where he was.” She noted that Scott enjoyed going to live performances and Broadway shows. He even once took two trains and a cab from D.C. to southern Maryland to watch her perform in a production of “Godspell.”

“It wasn't strange at all to hear Scott was buying tickets to go see Lily Tomlin after work. I didn’t even know she was still performing! Thinking about it now, I became a cheerleader for his adventures, since my routine was to go to work and straight back home every single day without fail. I knew Scott would be in the next day to tell me about the fun he had,” she said.

Scott was struck by a car while crossing a busy thoroughfare a couple of blocks from his apartment on the evening of Nov. 8. He was the second pedestrian fatally struck in the area since August. The accident remains under investigation.

Finn, Scott’s cubicle neighbor, said: “Whilst looking at Scott’s Facebook profile, the last photo that appears is of him doing a D.C. Heart Walk, which appears to be the morning of the accident. I think this sums up what I said before, that he was always caring for other people.” He added, “I will really miss having such a warm, caring, humorous colleague working alongside me.”

Angela HoppAngela Hopp ( ahopp@asbmb.org) is editor of ASBMB Today.