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by Susan J. Ainsworth
May 5, 2008 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 86, Issue 18


Gianfranco Ferrari, 84, the chairman and president of Fabbrica Italiana Sintetici (FIS) and a member of a pharmaceutical and chemical industry family dynasty based around the Italian city of Vicenza, died on March 9 after a short illness.

Along with his father and two brothers, Ferrari founded FIS 50 years ago when small-scale manufacture of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) thrived as a cottage industry in northern Italy. The firm amassed a sizable portfolio of APIs for generic drugs and, in 1990, branched into custom manufacturing of patented APIs for pharmaceutical company partners. Still family-owned, the firm achieved sales of $180 million last year.

Born in 1923, Ferrari received a Ph.D. in law from the University of Ferrara in 1948. He went to work in an administrative capacity at Zambon, a drug company currently based in Milan. At the time, the Ferrari family owned 33% of Zambon; the Zambon and Ferrari families are related by marriage.

In 1957, Ferrari with his father, Giovanni, and his brothers Antonio and Ottavio, formed FIS. Gianfranco soon took over management of the company as his brothers pursued other interests.

Asian competition and changes in patent law eventually threatened Italy's long dominance of the generic API market. Under Ferrari's leadership, FIS shifted the bulk of its business to custom-making fine chemicals and APIs for patented drugs. The firm managed to weather the custom manufacturing industry's recent severe downturn without closing plants or firing workers. The company's success is attributed to a conservative, family-run business approach (C&EN, July 23, 2007, page 19) and to Ferrari's vision.

Ferrari is survived by his children Giampaolo, Giovanni, and Stephania Guerrini; and five grandchildren. His older brother, Antonio, died last year.

H. Dale Pigott, 60, a professor of chemistry at Victoria College, in Texas, died on Jan. 7.

Pigott received a B.S. degree in chemistry from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1970. He then earned an M.S. in 1972 and a Ph.D. in chemistry in 1976, both from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Pigott started his career at the DuPont Experimental Station in Wilmington, Del., working in the area of polymer intermediates. He later transferred to the Sabine River Works in Orange, Texas, and then to the company’s development lab in Victoria.

In 1987, he made a career shift, joining the faculty of Victoria College, where he remained until his death.

Pigott was an active member of ACS, which he joined in 1973. In 1993, he was the driving force behind organizing the ACS Texas Coastal Bend Section, which was disbanded in 2007.

He is survived by his wife, Shirley; and three sons, James, David, and Matthew.

John Francis (Jack) Riley II, 81, a Lockheed Missiles & Space chemist and former ACS councilor, died on April 5, in Walnut Creek, Calif.

Born in New Bedford, Mass., Riley served in the U.S. Navy as a deep-sea rescue diver during World War II. After the war, he graduated cum laude from Providence College with a B.S. in chemistry. He then received a master’s degree in 1952 and a Ph.D in 1954, both in chemistry, from Yale University.

Riley accepted a position as a chemist for Linde Chemical, a division of Union Carbide, in Tonawanda, N.Y.

In 1960, he moved to Oak Ridge, Tenn., where he worked at Plant X-10, which was affiliated with the Atomic Energy Commission. Then, in 1966, Riley accepted a staff scientist position in the research laboratory at Lockheed Missiles & Space in Palo Alto, Calif., where he worked for more than 30 years before retiring in 1997.

During his tenure at Lockheed, Riley provided support for the Navy Fleet Ballistic Missile Program that included design and development of the Poseidon, Polaris, and Trident missile systems. He also worked on various programs for the Air Force.

Riley was a member of professional organizations including chemistry’s Alpha Chi Sigma Fraternity and the Sigma Xi science research society. An emeritus member of ACS, which he joined in 1954, Riley served in many roles including councilor and chairman of the Santa Clara Valley Section and member and councilor of several national committees. He was active in the founding of the ACS Division of Chemistry & the Law 25 years ago and had served as its chair. In 2001, he received the division’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

He is survived by seven children: John, Brian, Tim, Patricia, Paula, Penny Schumacher, and Jane Kendall; and 18 grandchildren. His wife, Grace, died in 2000.

Earl R. Stadtman, 88, a renowned biochemist, mentor, and senior investigator at the National Institutes of Health, died on Jan. 7 at his home in Derwood, Md.

Born in Carrizozo, N.M., Stadtman earned a B.S. degree in soil science and a Ph.D. in comparative biochemistry in 1949, both from the University of California, Berkeley. He spent the next year as an Atomic Energy Commission fellow with Fritz Lipmann at the Biochemical Research Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Stadtman then began what would become a 57-year career at NIH, working as a chemist in the Laboratory of Cellular Physiology & Metabolism within the National Heart Institute, which later became the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute (NHLBI). From 1962 until 1994, Stadtman was chief of the Laboratory of Biochemistry within NHLBI.

Stadtman studied the roles of free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) in protein turnover. He contributed substantially to the understanding of the role of free radicals and ROS in disease, aging, and cell signaling. He was author or coauthor of more than 375 scientific publications.

Stadtman received many awards, including the National Medal of Science in 1979, the Robert A. Welch Award in Chemistry with Edwin G. Krebs in 1991, and the Paul Lewis Award in Enzyme Chemistry from ACS in 1952.

He was a past-president of the American Society of Biological Chemists and a member of the National Academy of Sciences and ACS, which he joined in 1951.

He is survived by his wife, Thressa, a senior investigator at NHLBI who has conducted pioneering research on vitamin B-12 metabolism and selenium biochemistry. Stadtman is also survived by a brother, Verne.

Obituaries are written by Susan J. Ainsworth. Obituary notices may be sent to and should include detailed educational and professional history.


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