G. Edgar Folk, Assistant Professor of Biology, 1947-53, died on December 10, 2017, in Iowa City, Iowa.
(The following appeared online at funeral.com December 13, 2017:)
Dr. G. Edgar Folk Jr., professor emeritus in the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Iowa, Carver College of Medicine in Iowa City, passed away peacefully Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017, at Oaknoll Retirement Center in Iowa City, which had been his residence for 34 years. Besides being an extraordinary professor and research scientist in environmental physiology, he also was an avid explorer, dedicated teacher and prolific speaker, both locally and internationally.Dr. Folk is survived by his daughter, Victoria Sprague of Portland, Maine; and his six grandchildren, Jennifer, Emily and Joshua, the children of his daughter, Victoria, and Julia, Lisa and Christopher, the children of his adopted (deceased) son, Christopher H. Dodge. Dr. Folk also is survived by nine great-grandchildren; and stepchildren, Jon, Carolyn, Rosemary, Chris and Kurt, the children of his third wife, Bess Kueny, who passed away at Oaknoll Retirement Center in 2006.Born in Natick, Mass., on Nov. 12, 1914, Folk grew up for most of his young life in Georgetown, Mass., as the son of a Methodist minister. He attended Phillips Andover Academy in 1933 and went on to enroll at Harvard University, receiving an A.B. degree in 1937, an M.A. degree in biological sciences in 1940, and a Ph.D. in biological sciences in 1947. From 1947 to 1953, Dr. Folk was assistant professor of biology at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. While at Bowdoin, Dr. Folk received a contract from the United States Army to conduct experiments on the effects of cold weather on human skin, and to develop winter boots for the Korean War. The boots were invaluable and now are on display at the Smithsonian Institute.In 1953, Dr. Folk became assistant professor in the department of physiology and biophysics at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine and was promoted to the rank of professor in 1965. Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Folk pioneered a brand new field of science called environmental physiology. He conducted groundbreaking research into circadian rhythms, cold weather adaptation, hibernation and hypothermia for more than 17 years at the Arctic Research Laboratory in Point Barrow, Alaska. In 1985, after more than 40 years of writing scientific articles, conducting research and lecturing, he officially retired and published his memoir, “Science on the Far Horizon.” In 2014, the age of 100, he was the oldest senior faculty member at the university, and received a commendation from Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad for his many outstanding scientific contributions. To many of his many friends, family and caregivers, Dr. Folk was “always a gentleman and a true Renaissance man.” He will missed greatly.