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Frank Etges Remembered As 'Old School' Scientist

An "old-school scientist" devoted to detail is remembered warmly by colleagues in the Biology Department.

Date: 12/15/2006
By: Britt Kennerly
Phone: (513) 556-8577
An "old-school scientist" devoted to detail is remembered warmly by colleagues in the Biology Department.

Professor Emeritus Frank Etges, a 41-year Biology veteran who retired in 1995, died Dec. 6, 2006.

A parasitologist, Etges conducted research on the liver flukes that cause the disease Schistosomiasis and their intermediate host snails, said Biology professor George Uetz. Etges loved his family and research, Uetz said.

"He was a member of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, a Fellow of the Graduate School at UC, and an esteemed scholar and important contributor to our department."

Etges, also remembered as a golf fan, was chairman of the search committee that hired Uetz.

"During my job interview, we discovered that we had both occupied the same office and desk at the University of Illinois, where we both attended grad school many years apart," Uetz said.

"I remember him as a true 'old school' zoologist, whose work involved painstaking attention to detail and considerable patience for example, rearing of snails to wait for microscopic parasites to emerge."

At the memorial service, Uetz said, he was surprised to learn that Etges was a decorated Army veteran of World War II. Etges' honors included the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.

"I saw a reunion hat indicating that he was in the famous 86th "Blackhawk" Division, which served throughout the European theater and liberated the Nazi death camps," Uetz said. "There was a display case with many medals representing real heroism and achievement, but Frank never bragged about his service."

John Caruso, Biology professor emeritus, also remembers Etges as an old-school educator.

"What sticks in my mind about Frank was his devotion to teaching very demanding laboratory courses, particularly in parasitology, involving heavy use of the microscope. I was told that Frank designed the lab in room 707 RVSCL for miscroscope use and it is a lab that is well suited for that purpose."

Caruso also shared a colorful story about his colleague.

"He was a tough instructor who frequently used colored chalk to make detailed drawings of parasitic organisms on the board. I erased those drawings, albeit amazed at their complexity, before I lectured in the same room."

Etges is survived by his wife, Lesta Cooper-Freytag; his children, Robert, William, Anne, David and Thomas Etges; a stepson, Clisby Jennelle IV; and his grandchildren, Michele, Joseph, Lauren, Peter, Katherine, Suzanne, Sara, Christopher, Kyle and Connor.

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