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In Memoriam: Lowell E. Hokin, MD, PhD

Thu, September 06, 2018 8:41 AM | Karen Gottlieb (Administrator)

Lowell E. Hokin, MD, PhD

Lowell Edward Hokin, M.D. Ph.D., an internationally recognized biochemist, died on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, at age 93. Dr. Hokin was most well known for his discovery, along with Dr. Mabel Hokin, of receptor-stimulated lipid turnover, the “Phosphoinositide Effect,” in the 1950s. This led to the understanding, years later, of how hormones and neurotransmitters produce cell responses. Lowell went on to discover the fundamental biochemical features of sodium-potassium ATPase, the enzyme that controls ion gradients and neuronal activity in living cells, and he served as chairman of the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Wisconsin Medical School in Madison from 1970 to his retirement to emeritus faculty in 1993.

Lowell was born in 1924 in Peoria, Ill., to Oscar E and Helen Gussie (Manfield), and went to Peoria High School. He started college at the University of Chicago, but soon enlisted in the U.S. Navy V- 12 Program to study medicine at Dartmouth. After the war ended, he continued at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, where he received his M.D., followed by a residency at Michael Reese Hospital in Chicago. Lowell had always intended to pursue science, however, and soon moved to Sheffield, England, where he conducted his doctoral research in biochemistry under Sir Hans Krebs. It was there that he met Mabel Neaverson, a graduate student in a nearby lab, and they continued as both research partners and spouses at McGill University. Lowell obtained his faculty position at the University of Wisconsin in 1957.

He enjoyed classical music and opera, fishing and alpine skiing, BBC television, and reading nonfiction and medicine. Lowell and Mabel had three children, Linda, Catherine and Samuel, and Lowell had another son, Ian, with his later wife Barbara (Gallagher). Lowell met his wife, Dr. Vivian Littlefield, in 2000 and they shared years of adventures and happiness, moving to Parker, Colo. in 2016. Her care and love brought him great comfort in his final days.

He is survived by Vivian; sister, Joyce, and her husband, George Sachs; brother, Eugene, and his wife, Janet; daughter, Linda, and her son, Austen Hinkley; son, Samuel, and his wife, Carla Shedivy, and their children, Natalia and Mitchell; son, Ian; Vivian’s daughter, Virginia Littlefield, and her husband and daughter, Jode and Clarissa Dieterle; Vivian’s son, Darrell Littlefield, and his wife, Sue; Vivian’s brother, Willard “Pete” Moore, sister, Cecile Settle, and their families; stepson, Cregg Reuter, and his wife, Christine; stepdaughter, Vicki Biondi, and her daughters, Maria and Sophia.

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