Derek Horton died on June 5, 2015, at the age of 82 in his home in Chevy Chase, MD, USA. Derek had been undergoing serious medical challenges, but he kept his sense of humor and inner peace until the very end.
Horton was born in Birmingham, England. He received his PhD and DSc from the University of Birmingham. Horton and his wife June immigrated to the United States in 1959. He was preceded in death by June, his beloved wife of 56 years.
Derek’s achievements in his professional life are numerous. He was Professor of Chemistry at The Ohio State University from 1959 to 1992. The carbohydrate research group at Ohio State was housed in an old industrial type building and the lab area was called Sugar Alley. A spirit of joint effort and comradery always pervaded the group and has persisted over generations of carbohydrate chemists around the world. In 1993 Derek became the Isbell Chair of Carbohydrate and Natural Product Chemistry at American University and stayed at that post until 2009. During his career Derek was a prolific scientific writer and editor. He founded and edited the leading journal Carbohydrate Research and was editor of the annual series Advances in Carbohydrate Chemistry and Biochemistry. At least some of the Advances authors remember Derek as a “hands-on” editor who made sure that all bases were covered. Derek published more than 500 articles and was awarded a large number of patents in the field of carbohydrate chemistry.
Derek was active in the international science community. He led the International Commission for Biochemical Nomenclature, and gave nearly fifty years of service on the ACS Nomenclature Committee. In addition, he worked with the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry on the far-reaching effort to clarify communication about the chemical identities of carbohydrates across many international languages and idioms. He was an active participant in the International Carbohydrate Symposia, having attended 17 in his lifetime.
He was a dedicated member of the Carbohydrate Division of the American Chemical Society, and a Fellow of both the American Chemical Society and Royal Society of Chemistry. Derek lectured and travelled widely, holding visiting professorships at universities in France and Germany. Among his many awards are the Haworth Medal from the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Patterson-Crane Award in 1997 for achievement in documentation, the Wolfrom Award, and the Claude S. Hudson Award from the American Chemical Society. He was invited by the National Institutes of Health to be on their medicinal chemistry panels as a member and a chair for twenty-three years.
Derek will be remembered as a great scientist who influenced carbohydrate science for many years and in many ways.
(Contributed by John Vercellotti, Waldemar Priebe and Mary An Godshall)