Obituary: Daniel S. Friend, scientist, artist, and "most of all, a mensch"

The following is a reader-submitted obituary. Above photo by Andrea Cabane.

Dan Friend (MD, 1933 - 2012) was a Renaissance man with a huge heart, spirit and intellect. He loved the beauty and poetry of life, nature, art and literature. He possessed wit and wisdom, was a country boy, a scholar, a Red Sox fan and, most of all, a mensch who was always warm and gracious. We will love and admire and miss him forever.

He was born November 20th, 1933 in Passaic, NJ to Russian born parents who had migrated to Passaic at the turn of the century. He attended Franklin Public School #3, Thomas Jefferson Middle school, and graduated from Passaic High School in 1952 as the last February graduating class in the United States.


After attending the University of Michigan for a semester, he volunteered for the US Army, and served in Korea 1953-55 where he rose to sergeant first class, operation sergeant, in the army corps of engineers 185th battalion, 8th army. He used the GI Bill to finish college at NYU as a pre-med student while majoring in literature and chemistry, then attended State University of New York Down State Medical Center. He did a two year pathology internship and residency at Boston City Hospital, and then continued his training as a fellow in anatomy with Don W. Fawcett at Harvard Medical School. In 1965 he took a second postdoctoral fellowship with Marilyn Farquhar at University of California at San Francisco Medical Center in the Department of Pathology.

He researched basic organelles and male gametes and liposomes until 1993, rising through the ranks to become full professor and acting chair of the Department of Pathology. He’s recognized for elevating the standards in the field of electron microscopy. His graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who remained in academic medicine include Elaine Bearer, Peter Elias, Jurgen Galle, George Enders, Robert Decker, Marc Pelletier among others.

Throughout his career at UCSF he ran the second year course in general pathology for medical students. In 1993 he moved to the departments of pathology and immunology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, where he did his research using the tools of light, microscopic histochemistry and immunocytochemistry before retiring in 2006.

After retiring, he continued his hobby as an oil painter while living in his childhood environments of NJ and upstate NY before moving to Washington state in 2011. He died of kidney failure in Seattle on August 10, 2012 at age 78 and is survived by his loving sister, Pearl Ratowsky, three children, Galen, Ned, and Jeremy, daughter-in-law, Sara, two granddaughters, Hannah and Naomi, and soul mate Pandy (Ann Savery Friend).

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