Obituary


(Gazette, Jan. 9, 1997)

Dr. David Idler

Dr. David Idler, retired J. L. Paton research professor and former director of Memorial's marine sciences research lab, died Dec. 21 at age 73.

Dr. Idler held degrees from the University of British Columbia (B.Sc. honors and M.Sc. in chemistry), and the University of Wisconsin (PhD in biochemistry), as well as an honorary D.Sc. from the University of Guelph. Before arriving at Memorial University in 1971, he ran the Halifax laboratory of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada, and prior to that he was assistant director of the board's laboratory in Vancouver, B.C.

From 1971-85 Dr. Idler was professor of biochemistry and director of Memorial's marine science laboratory in Logy Bay -- now known as the Ocean Sciences Centre (OSC). Dr. Idler was J. L. Paton research professor of marine zoology from 1987-95. During his years at Memorial he impressed many with his strong work ethic and his passion for science. Dr. Garth Fletcher first worked with Dr. Idler in Halifax in 1967. Later both scientists accepted appointments at Memorial, and often collaborated in the lab.

"He was a man who knew what he wanted...he had a great deal of determination and iron will," Dr. Fletcher said. "He worked hard and expected everyone else to do the same, but outside of that he was a pussycat. Even though he was retired, he worked right up until the day before he died."

For the past year Dr. Idler conducted research at the OSC as a voluntary investigator, and continued to inspire and guide the work of students. His most recent research involved the effects of petroleum and other toxins on the health and reproductive systems of fish.

Dr. Idler's distinguished career earned him many honors. He was a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada; his name appeared in Who's Who books on Canada, North America, and the World; and he was a Fry medallist and former president of the Canadian Society of Zoologists (1988).

Dr. Idler is survived by his wife, Myrtle Idler; his daughter, Louise Maisey, and her family; his son, Mark Idler; his sister, Marion Mulholland; and by numerous other relatives, friends and colleagues.