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William O. Foye

by Susan J. Ainsworth
January 26, 2015 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 93, Issue 4

William O. Foye, 91, Sawyer Professor Emeritus of Medicinal Chemistry at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences (now MCPHS University) in Boston, died on April 19, 2014, in Winchester, Mass.

Born in Athol, Mass., Foye received a B.A. degree in chemistry in 1944 from Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry in 1948 from Indiana University, Bloomington, under Marvin Carmack.

After working briefly as a research scientist for DuPont and as an assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Foye joined the faculty at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences in 1955 as a professor of chemistry. He served as chairman of the chemistry department, dean of the faculty, and dean of graduate studies before retiring in 1995.

Foye’s research focused on antiradiation organosulfur compounds, anticancer agents, and chelation as a mechanism of drug action.

During his long and creative career, Foye authored or coauthored more than 150 publications and book chapters. He also served as editor of “Cancer Chemotherapeutic Agents” in the ACS Monograph Series and founding editor of the medicinal chemistry text “Foye’s Principles of Medicinal Chemistry,” which is now in its 7th edition.

He received the American Pharmacists Association Foundation Research Achievement Award in Medicinal Chemistry.

Foye was an American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists fellow and an emeritus member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was also an emeritus member of ACS, joining in 1947 and maintaining his membership until 2007. He was active in the Northeastern Section.

He was an avid fly fisherman, outdoorsman, environmentalist, poet, and writer, who published several books on the western Massachusetts wilderness.

Foye is survived by his wife, Lila; son, Owen; and stepson, Kenneth Siddons.

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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