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Sun, November 12, 2017 8:27 AM | Karen Gottlieb (Administrator)
Donald Coffey, a distinguished Johns Hopkins professor and prostate cancer expert and deputy director of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, died on Thursday. He was 85.

Donald Coffey

In his more than 50 years at Johns Hopkins, Coffey amassed a long list of accomplishments. Many of the accolades are as unconventional as the man. He chaired the Department of Pharmacology without ever taking a course in pharmacology. With no medical degree, he helped found the Cancer Center in 1973 with its first director, Albert Owens, and then ran it briefly in 1987.

Coffey, who became one of Johns Hopkins' first triple professors, began his career washing glassware for graduate students. He worked at Westinghouse designing radar antennas during the day, and in the evening, he took classes and worked in the urology laboratory. In 1959, he was named the director of the Brady Urological Research Laboratory. After a year of running the lab, he was accepted into the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine's graduate program in biochemistry.

"Don touched so many of us in such profound ways that it is hard to imagine life without him," says Kenneth Pienta, director of research for the Brady Urological Institute at Johns Hopkins and the Donald S. Coffey Professor of Urology. "We know how fortunate we have been to know him and experience his special and wonderful uniqueness. So we are only really without him in body, but not in soul."

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