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Thomas D. (Don) Luckey

by Susan J. Ainsworth
June 9, 2014 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 92, Issue 23

Thomas D. (Don) Luckey, 94, a professor emeritus of biochemistry at the University of Missouri, Columbia, died on March 17 in his home in Walnut Creek, Calif.

Born in Casper, Wyo., Luckey earned a B.S. in chemistry from Colorado State University in 1941. He then earned an M.S. in 1944 and a Ph.D. in 1946, both in biochemistry and nutrition at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Luckey started his professional career as an assistant research professor at the Laboratories of Bacteriology at the University of Notre Dame. Then in 1954, he joined the University of Missouri faculty as a professor, later serving as chair of the department of biochemistry in the medical school.

Early in his career, Luckey focused on nutrition and germ-free research. His later work focused on hormesis and the effects of ionizing radiation. He was involved in many international collaborations, particularly with scientists in Germany and Japan.

After his retirement in 1984, Luckey continued to travel and publish. During his lifetime, he wrote six books, coedited four books, and published more than 300 articles. He was an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1946.

Luckey and his wife, Pauline, collected and published material on antique dolls during their retirement years in Loveland, Colo.

Luckey’s wife, whom he wed in 1943, died in 2000. He is survived by his three daughters, Sara Jane, Mary, and Donna; three grandchildren; and two great-grandsons.

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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