Lumry’s quest to crack the protein puzzle took root at Harvard University where the native of Bismarck, N.D., earned an undergraduate degree in chemistry, a master’s degree in physics and a doctoral degree in chemical physics. He spent two years at the University of Utah on a fellowship from the Merck & Co. paid through the National Research Council before he arrived at the University of Minnesota.
During his tenure at the U from 1953 to ’91, he wrote more than 130 papers on protein function, taught freshman chemistry and supervised more than 14 Ph.D. students. He mentored Nobel Prize winners, too. But he spent most of his time dedicated to research, an endeavor he continued in retirement as professor emeritus from 1991 to 2003.
Lumry was hardly the stodgy professor and researcher. He dressed flamboyantly, replete with plaid jackets, bow ties and argyle socks. He had a gregarious personality to match, his son said. Members of the Lumry Lunch Group, composed of former chemistry students and colleagues, recall his humor, kindness and devotion to his work.
In addition to his son, Stephen, Lumry is survived by another son, Rufus Worth Lumry III, of Bellevue, Wash.; a daughter, Ann Lumry, of St. Paul, five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.more » « less