In Memoriam

In memoriam: Rodney F. Boyer

Swarnali  Roy
Aug. 29, 2022

Rodney Frederick Boyer, an emeritus professor at Hope College, a well-known biochemistry educator and a member of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology since 1983, died Feb. 28. He was 79 and had Huntington’s disease.

Rodney F. Boyer

Boyer was born Aug. 25, 1942, in Omaha, Nebraska. He received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry and mathematics from Westmar College in Iowa and then headed to Colorado State University where he earned a Ph.D. in 1970 with a focus on physical organic chemistry. At the University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, he continued his research as a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow with biochemist Minor J. Coon, a pioneer in the cytochrome P-450 field who later served as president of the ASBMB.

Boyer spent two years on the chemistry faculty at Grand Valley State University before joining the department of chemistry and biochemistry of Hope College in Holland, Michigan, in 1974. He remained at Hope for 26 years, was promoted to professor in 1985 and served as a department chair for six years. During a 1991 sabbatical leave, he worked with Nobel laureate Tom Cech at the University of Colorado in Boulder as an American Cancer Society Scholar.

Boyer became interested in iron chemistry during his postdoc and continued to study the impact of oxidation and reduction of ferritin iron on various proteins and enzymes, such as apoferritin and superoxide dismutase, and plant phenolics. In addition to his research, he wrote textbooks for undergraduate students such as “Modern Experimental Biochemistry,” and he continued to write after retiring from Hope College in 2000. He also served as an associate editor for the ASBMB-affiliated journal Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education.

Boyer was fond of classical music and sang in the Bozeman Symphonic Choir after he retired to Montana. He is remembered as a “tough but fair” and helpful professor by students and as a kind, thoughtful person with a gentle spirit by his friends and colleagues, according to a family obituary.

He is survived by his wife, Christel I. Dröbig; brothers, Dan and Roger Boyer; sister, LuAnn Thacker; sister-in-law, Joyce Boyer; and their families.

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Swarnali  Roy

Swarnali Roy is a postdoctoral researcher in the Laboratory of Bioorganic Chemistry at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

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