In Memoriam (William Beatty, Oscar Hechter)
William K. Beatty, professor emeritus at the Feinberg School and former director of the medical library, died of a heart attack December 9 at Evanston (Ill.) Hospital; he was 76. Born in Toronto, Mr. Beatty spent most of his childhood traveling with his family in the northeastern United States, going wherever his father’s job as a traveling salesman would take them. While serving with the U.S. Army during World War II, he was stationed in northern Italy, which sparked his interest in the classics. He earned a bachelor’s degree in classics from Harvard University, followed by a master’s degree in library science from Columbia University. His first job as assistant librarian at the College of Physicians in Philadelphia led to his interest in the history of medicine. He worked at the University of Missouri before joining Northwestern University Medical School in 1962 as librarian and professor of medical bibliography, positions he held until the early 1970s. Mr. Beatty was a prolific writer; his articles and book reviews appeared frequently in medical and library publications; he also wrote several books. In 1973 the Medical Library Association presented him with its Ida and George Eliot Prize for his work as editor of Vital Notes on Medical Periodicals. Survivors include wife Virginia and daughters Margaret and Carol.
Oscar M. Hechter, PhD, professor emeritus and former chair of physiology at Northwestern, died December 20 in Seattle. He was 86. Dr. Hechter’s research on steroid hormone synthesis and metabolism influenced the research of scientists and pharmaceutical experts worldwide. His findings were crucial to Gregory Pincus, MS, ScD, who developed the first birth control pill at the Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research, where Dr. Hechter worked from 1950â66. Born in Chicago, he attended Crane Technical High School. After graduation, he took a job cleaning rat cages in an endocrinology laboratory at Michael Reese Hospital. “Though only 17,” said his son, Michael Hechter, PhD, “he was encouraged to participate in the lab’s scientific discussion groups and began developing his own experiments under the guidance of other researchers. That job turned out to launch his scientific career.” After taking night courses at what is now Roosevelt University, Dr. Hechter received a scholarship in biochemistry from the University of Chicago and graduated in 1938. He went on to earn his PhD degree in biochemistry at the University of Southern California. He came to Northwestern in 1970 after working from 1966â70 with an American Medical Association research group. From 1970â78, he held the position of Nathan Smith Davis Professor and chair of physiology. During his career he contributed more than 200 papers to the scientific literature. Dr. Hechter is survived by his wife of 62 years, Gertrude; son Michael; and two grandchildren.