Friday, August 27, 2004

Murray Weiner, doctor, writer, pharmacologist

His family was 'greatest opus'

By Rebecca Goodman
Enquirer staff writer

INDIAN HILL - Dr. Murray Weiner, retired vice president for Merrell National Labs and professor emeritus of medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, died of cancer Wednesday at his Indian Hill home. He was 85.

His interest in pharmaceuticals dates to his boyhood in the Bronx. Born in New York City to Russian immigrants, Dr. Weiner helped compound prescriptions at his father's corner pharmacy in between making ice cream sodas for customers, according to his son, George, of Iowa City, Iowa.

Dr. Weiner attended the City College of New York and received a master's degree in biochemistry and a medical degree, both from New York University.

He served as a physician in the South Pacific during World War II, arriving in the Philippines near the end of the war to help evacuate soldiers and prisoners of war. Dr. Weiner completed his training in internal medicine upon his return.

He began his career practicing medicine in New York and teaching at NYU before returning to his pharmaceutical roots. He began consulting with Geigy Pharmaceuticals in New York in 1957 and was gradually drawn into conducting pharmaceutical research. He had many jobs at Geigy, including director of clinical pharmacology, medical director, and vice president and director of biologic research.

Dr. Weiner came to Cincinnati in 1972 to become vice president for research and scientific affairs at Merrell. He retired in 1980 and joined the faculty at UC as a clinical professor of medicine.

There he served as director of the department of internal medicine in the division of clinical pharmacology and toxicology until he was made emeritus professor in 1990.

Dr. Weiner served as chairman of the research and development section of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association. He testified before a number of Congressional committees as an expert witness.

A prolific writer, he produced more than 240 scientific articles on a broad range of topics related to drug development. He also wrote several books.

"Our dad spent many happy hours writing," his son said. "His books were varied and covered topics including pharmacology, autobiography, philosophy, mystery and science fiction. They represented a way for him to share with others his diverse life experiences and the sense of wonder and joy that various aspects of life brought to him."

Dr. Weiner's The American Diaspora is an autobiographical work that offers his observations about nature and serves as a rich 20th century history. "His most significant challenges are presented as he viewed them - as life-enhancing experiences," his son said.

He also wrote The Myst File, a thriller about an insurance company file on diabolically clever murders.

"These books are great treasures and will be wonderful as generations to come get to know dad," his son said.

But Dr. Weiner's "great opus," according to his son, was his family.

Married in 1951, he was the father of three children who have memories of him making pancakes for them on Sunday morning so his wife could sleep in. They remember fishing and boating excursions and trips to the beach.

"Dad's greatest opus centered on his love of life, of family, of knowledge, and his ability to teach us by example about the joy that stems from unending optimism, immense generosity, curiosity and delight in the exercise of the mind," his son said.

Dr. Weiner's first wife, Marilyn, died in 1973.

In addition to his son, survivors include: his wife of 14 years, Barbara; two daughters, Eve Schauer of Fort Collins, Colo., and Joan Tarasar of Evergreen, Colo.; a brother, Seymour Weiner of West Palm Beach, Fla.; a sister, Ann Reiss of Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.; three stepchildren, Jeffrey and Scott Samuelson and Beth Fine, all of Farmington Hills, Mich.; seven grandchildren; and seven step-grandchildren.

Services are 10:30 a.m. today at Congregation Beth Adam, 10001 Loveland-Madeira Road. Burial follows at Rest Haven Cemetery.

Memorials: Dr. Murray Weiner Cancer Research Fund, c/o Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, P.O. Box 4550 Iowa City, IA 52244-4550 or Hospice of Cincinnati, 3410 Cooper Road, Cincinnati, OH 45242.

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