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Rufus W. Lumry II

by Susan J. Ainsworth
July 15, 2013 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 91, Issue 28

Rufus W. Lumry II, 92, a professor emeritus of chemistry at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, died on March 23 in St. Paul.

Born in Bismarck, N.D., Lumry received a B.S. in chemistry in 1942 from Harvard University. During World War II, he worked with the National Defense Research Committee. He completed a Ph.D. in chemical physics at Harvard in 1948 before accepting a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Utah.

Lumry joined the UM Twin Cities faculty in 1954 as an assistant professor of chemistry and became a full professor in 1956. For more than 50 years, Lumry conducted landmark research to explain how protein molecules work. He continued to do research and publish papers after retiring in 1990.

Lumry authored or coauthored more than 130 publications. He was elected a fellow of the Biophysical Society in 2003 and was an emeritus member of ACS, which he joined in 1942.

Lumry is survived by his sons, Rufus III and Stephen; daughter, Ann; five grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

Obituary notices of no more than 300 words may be sent to Susan J. Ainsworth at and should include an educational and professional history.


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