In Memoriam - Dr. Derrick Lonsdale

In Memoriam: Dr. Derrick Lonsdale

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I spoke with Dr. Lonsdale for the last time a few days before his 100th birthday. We talked about life, family, and his favorite topic, thiamine. He was looking forward to his birthday and a visit with his daughter, but admitted that it would be bittersweet, as she had recently suffered a tragic loss. He would have to be strong, he told me, for her sake. I suspect he was.  A few weeks later, he passed away. Perhaps after reaching the 100 year milestone, he decided it was time. I do not know, but I hope it was peaceful.

It was by chance our paths crossed a little over a decade ago and I will be forever grateful for the introduction. He was well into retirement but keen to continue his work, and fortunately for me, looking for an avenue to publish and someone to mentor. Of course, I did not know that at the time, the mentoring part. I was just happy to have someone of his caliber publish on Hormones Matter (HM). Little did I know when we first met that he would fundamentally change my research interests, and pretty much my entire direction in life. He did that a lot, change people’s lives.

Over the years, we became writing partners. We meshed well in that department, like musicians riffing, each adding to the other to make something better than parts alone. In all, he published 131 articles on HM and many more in other journals during our brief time together. I would like to think that our projects over the last decade helped him thrive in his final years. He truly enjoyed writing for HM and working with me – and I him.

When he asked me to co-write the book, it was an honor and an opportunity of a lifetime, but the timing could not have been worse. Family health issues and caregiving responsibilities were at an all-time high for me and I had no idea how I could possibly add more to my workload. He persisted, as he always did, and I agreed. This was the legacy of brilliant man, after all. How could I possibly say no?

Chapter by chapter, we pulled it together, his writing inspiring mine and mine inspiring his. It was one of the most intense periods of my life, personally and professionally, but I could not be prouder of what we produced and I could not be more grateful that he chose me to work with.

Until recently, he’d send me emails or call whenever he found some new bit of research or had some new idea to explore for an article. During the pandemic, when he was essentially trapped in his nursing home, he called quite regularly to chat. When he caught COVID, I worried that he would not make it, but he did and with each subsequent illness these last few years, he somehow made it through. I suspect it was nutrition, thiamine in particular, that gave him the strength to withstand what others could not. He went into hospice three years ago, but he was not ready to go just yet.

When I lamented, as I often did, that I wished I had met him sooner so that I would have longer to learn from him, he would say that we met when we were meant to meet, when we needed to meet. And he was right. I needed mentor, he a mentee and someone to carry on his legacy. I am happy to be both.

Derrick Lonsdale was a brilliant man with a gentle soul. He was kind and caring and had a humanity about him that is rare these days. I was fortunate to have had him in my life, to have worked with him, and to have learned from him. He will be missed. Rest in peace, my friend.

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Photo by Göran Eidens on Unsplash.

Chandler Marrs MS, MA, PhD spent the last dozen years in women’s health research with a focus on steroid neuroendocrinology and mental health. She has published and presented several articles on her findings. As a graduate student, she founded and directed the UNLV Maternal Health Lab, mentoring dozens of students while directing clinical and Internet-based research. Post graduate, she continued at UNLV as an adjunct faculty member, teaching advanced undergraduate psychopharmacology and health psychology (stress endocrinology). Dr. Marrs received her BA in philosophy from the University of Redlands; MS in Clinical Psychology from California Lutheran University; and, MA and PhD in Experimental Psychology/ Neuroendocrinology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

13 Comments

  1. Am sad to learn that this brilliant man is no more and I believe he lives through his teachings that cast thiamine in a new light.

  2. Dear Chandler,

    Your dedication in assisting Dr L in his last decade, & the thoughtful tribute you pay to him above are very appreciated: I’m inclined to agree ( – conceptually !) that you met him at the ‘appointed time’ – when all the causes & conditions for this were just right ( – though understandably you may have preferred otherwise !).

    [ I’d better take the same view about thankfully finding this HDT viewpoint, . . . – as belated as it may, … & can, … feel to me ! 🤔❓ … 😐❗]

    For readers of this post, Elliot Overton’s tribute to the remarkable & exceptional life of Dr L is at: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tN5WpR-2-fI – a grateful find, thanks Elliot ! 🙂❗

    We, who have found these HDT concepts, & begun to explore their benefits are more fortunate than those who have yet to find them; perhaps many more of us will be motivated to disseminate these views, & thereby pay tribute to Dr L’s work, . . . by ‘paying forward’ it’s considerable benefits in our communities throughout the world 🌍 🌎 🌏 ❗

    Kind regards to all readers, . . . & wishes for health improvements while we remain with BREATH !
    Uhura
    ———————————————————————————————————

  3. I’m forever grateful for you both Dr. Marrs. You’re work has changed the lives of many and will continue to do so through Elliot, me, and many others.

  4. What a positive ripple effect he continues to have on this world– and for generations to come. Though he is physically gone, so much of him remains in this world, and for that we are all so grateful. May we continue to learn from his great work on thiamine, of course– but perhaps more importantly, may we remember what drove his passions for his research and instruction: to help others through their suffering. What a beautiful impact he’s had on humanity. Rest in peace, Dr. Lonsdale.

  5. I so enjoyed reading this. The fact that you two met and wrote together is a gift to so many — to posterity. Your collaboration on the book and on this website has made a huge difference to many lives, mine included. I’m glad the universe brought you together. Thank you for everything, including this lovely remembrance.

  6. So touching… I learned so much from him by just reading the comments to the blog posts. And your co-written book was life changing!

  7. Oh my god, I had no idea he was 100 years old! Wow! It’s astounding he lived so long and did so much even toward the end of his life. Thank you for sharing this and working with him, you guys have done enormous good in the world.

  8. What an honor to have had the chance to collaborate with this wonderful man. I have learned so very much from your many articles. Dr. Lonsdale was what every physician should be-compassionate, brilliant, thoughtful, scientific, kind, passionate and more. I wish I had had the chance to meet him in person. I hope that you, Chandler, are able to continue to share the knowledge and wisdom that Dr. Lonsdale collected over his long life.

  9. This is a beautiful tribute to your friend and colleague, who was not only a brilliant clinician, but a caring, thoughtful individual. Although I never met him, I feel incredibly fortunate and forever grateful that he shared his valuable insight with me both here and via email. He was a truly generous man. My condolences to you and his entire family.

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