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David C. Teller, Ph.D.

David C. Teller, Ph.D.  Beloved father, husband, brother, uncle, mentor, naturalist, outdoorsman, University of Washington Emeritus Professor, died peacefully in early February 2019.  He was 80. He lived a full life. We miss him.

He was a long-standing member of the Department of Biochemistry, who started as an Assistant Professor in 1965 and worked for the next 40 years in “physical biochemistry,” identifying the exact chemical structure of biological proteins.  His research was capped by the definitive description of blood-clotting proteins, including “Factor 13,” and rhodopsin—one of the proteins in the human eye that captures light. He will be remembered by many students for his teaching in the non-major undergraduate biochemistry course, and by his graduate students.  They said “He was a damn good analytical scientist and very supportive of his graduate students (including me).” “Dave gave me my start, my foundation; a physical appreciation for scientific methods and understanding. On top of this, Dave was one of the nicest most helpful colleagues to anyone who asked…. Put quite simply, I think all of us who knew Dave respected and loved him.”

He shared a deep and lifelong love of nature with his family, friends, and colleagues as well, in every season.  Skiing, backpacking, sailing, and fishing were his favorite pastimes. He knew the Cascades and Puget Sound well, and it may be little or no exaggeration to claim he knew the names of every bird, fish, animal, and plant to be found around here, along with most rocks, mosses, and lichen.  He was devoted to his family, and shared with them his great love of nature and his boundless curiosity. He sparked that same curiosity in others.

He was humble, and kind.  He was interested in what you had to say, and always ready to talk.  He was rarely bored. He was a giant in the eyes of his children. He treated others as his equals.

His close friend of 40 years passed ten days before him and in our hearts they are not gone, but gone fishing.  We hope and pray the nature of life is such that we will see Dave Teller again hereafter. Just don’t expect him to be waiting around – he’ll be busy exploring, and eager to show us his new and wonderous discoveries.

A Memorial Service is scheduled for March 30, 2019, at 1 pm with a reception to follow at University Lutheran Church, 1604 NE 50th St, Seattle, WA 98105.


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