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Leon Lack

Leon Lack of Durham, NC, passed away on Sunday, October 19, 2014 at the age of 92.

He was a long-time faculty member in the Department of Pharmacology of Duke University Medical Center. His achievements included research in pharmacology of cholesterol and lipids, pharmacology of intestinal bile salt transport, and enzyme inhibitors relevant to prostatic cancer.

Dr. Lack taught in the Duke University School of Medicine and served as chief biochemist to clinical research for the Duke Clinical Research Unit.He authored numerous articles in professional publications and was a perennial grantee of federal funds for biomedical research. Although Dr. Lack officially retired in 1992, he continued at Duke conducting laboratory research and publishing in journals for 12 years and also consulted for DuPont and Monsanto.

He was born January 7, 1922 to Jacob and Yetta (Wolf) Lack, in Brooklyn, NY. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by sisters Rose Fleisher, “Eishie” Liebmann, and Fannie Rosenthal. Although his accomplishments in science were many, his family was the source of his greatest pride and joy. He married Pauline (Kaplan) in 1948 and had five children and eight grandchildren. His love for his family was apparent to all who knew him.

Dr. Lack earned his B.A. in chemistry from Brooklyn College and his M.S. in chemistry from Michigan State College. He enlisted in the Army during World War II, serving from 1943-1946 with much of his service in Japan, New Guinea, and the Philippines. Dr. Lack earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Columbia University (1953) and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Duke (1955). He and his wife returned to Durham in 1965, moving the family from Baltimore, MD, where he held a faculty position at Johns Hopkins University.Dr. Lack enjoyed reading, classical music, Duke basketball, and family and friends. He was a member of Judea Reform Congregation since 1968.

Dr. Lack is survived by his wife Pauline; his son Eli Lack of Chapel Hill, NC; son Josh Star-Lack (Sylvia) of Palo Alto, CA; daughter Johanna Lack (Chris Villanueva) of Temecula, CA; daughter Evonne Bradford (Dan) of Chapel Hill, NC; and daughter Adina Riggins (Bruce) of Wilmington, NC. He also leaves his sister LillianWeitzner of Pacific Palisades, CA; grandchildren ranging in age from 3 to 16 --Russell Star-Lack, Maya Star-Lack, Aaron Villanueva, Marissa Villanueva, Anna Bradford, Clara Bradford, William Bradford, and Kari Riggins; and nieces and nephews.

The family expresses gratitude to the professional staff and caregivers of Carolina Point in Durham, who provided care for Dr. Lack.

Graveside funeral services will be held Thursday, October 23 at Judea Reform Congregation Cemetery in Chapel Hill. There will be a memorial service Friday, October 24 at 12 pm at Judea Reform Congregation, 1933 W. Cornwallis Rd., in Durham.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to the charity of your choice.

The Lack family is under the care of Howerton & Bryan Funeral Home. Online condolences may be submitted to select obituaries.