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Dr. Wolfgang K. (Bill) Joklik

Posted By Hall-Wynne On July 9, 2019 @ 12:52 pm In Durham,Obituaries | 5 Comments

DURHAM – Dr. Wolfgang Karl (Bill) Joklik, born in Vienna, Austria on November 16, 1926 died peacefully on Sunday July 7, 2019.

The older of the two sons of Karl Friedrich and Helene Joklik, Bill moved, when he was eleven years old, to Sydney, Australia, where his father headed the Australian branch of the Austrian company Styrian Steelworks. He attended Cranbrook School and the Sydney University from which he graduated with a First-Class BS degree and an MS degree in Biochemistry.  He obtained a D. Phil. Degree from the University of Oxford, England, in 1952, working in the laboratory of Sir Paul Fildes at the Sir William Dunn School of Pathology. After a year’s postdoctoral work in Copenhagen, he joined the Department of Microbiology at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia.  Nine years later, in 1962, he moved to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, and in 1968 was appointed Professor and Chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Duke University Medical Center, a position he held for 25 years. He guided the growth of the Department from an initial six faculty members to thirty-three when he retired, and to a ranking as one of the top three Medical School Microbiology Departments in the country.

Trained as a biochemist, Dr. Joklik was one of the pioneers of Molecular Virology.  His work on the mechanisms underlying how viruses infect cells, multiply and cause disease laid the groundwork for the development of vaccines and antiviral agents.  He published more than 250 research papers and reviews, and for 25 years was Editor-in-Chief of and a major contributor to Zinsser Microbiology, one of the two leading texts for medical students. He was Editor-in-Chief of Virology, the primary journal in its field, for eighteen years.  He was a member/chairman of numerous Study Sections and Committees of the National Institutes of health and the American Cancer Society.

His work was widely recognized.  In 1981 he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, in 1982 he was elected to the Institute of Medicine, in 1986 he was awarded a Humboldt Senior Investigator prize, and in 1991 he was awarded the ICN International Prize in Virology.  He founded the American Society for Virology and was its first President in 1982. He was President of the American Medical School Microbiology Department’s Chairmen’s Association in 1979.

His career at Duke was similarly distinguished. He was elected a James B. Duke Professor in 1972 and played a leading role in founding the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center in the early seventies; he was the first Chairman of the Cancer Center Planning Committee. He was a member of the Academic Council and of the Duke University Press Board, and the recipient of one the two 2005 Distinguished Faculty Awards from the Alumni Association of Duke University Medical Center.

Dr. Joklik was a member of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, of the Rotary Club of Durham, of Hope Valley Country Club and of Grandfather Golf and Country Club in Linville, NC. He had two primary volunteer interests after he retired.  One was Caring House, which provides accommodation for out-of-town cancer patients undergoing intensive chemotherapy or radiotherapy at Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center, the other was the Durham County Public library. He was a long-time member of the former’s board (of which he was president in 1995-1997) and of the latter’s Foundation.  He played a leading role raising endowments for both.

Throughout his career Bill’s primary concerns were teaching, research and the mentorship and sponsorship of his close to one hundred graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.  He maintained cordial relations with many of them for many years, promoted their careers assiduously with advice and personal recommendations, visited them worldwide, and greatly enjoyed return visits from them.

Strongly rooted in two cultures, the Austrian/German and the British/American, Dr. Joklik will be remembered as a true world citizen, greatly interested in international affairs.  He was a life-long traveler and lectured in Universities and Scientific Institutes all over the world. He was a lover of classical music, a devotee of Duke basketball, and a golfer and tennis player when time permitted.

Bill was a highly devoted husband, father, and grandfather.  He married Judith Vivien Nicholas in 1955 in Canberra, Australia.  Together they had a son and a daughter.  Judith succumbed to breast cancer in 1975 after a most courageous eight-year battle. In 1977 he married Patricia Hunter Downey; whose first husband had succumbed to lung cancer.  He is survived by his wife Pat, his son Richard and his wife Jean of Columbia, MD and their children; his daughter Vivien of Cary, NC and her children; Pat’s son and daughters by her first marriage, JR Downey and his wife Betsy, of Richmond, VA and their children, Mary Goodwin and her husband Danny and Mary’s children; Frances McGruder  and her husband Jim of Linville, NC and Frances’ children, and by his brother Frank and his wife Pam, of Salt Lake City, UT, and their children and grandchildren.

A mass of Christian burial for Dr. Joklik will be offered on Friday, July 12, 2019, at 10:00 a.m. at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Durham, NC.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations be sent to Caring House, the Durham County Library Foundation, or to Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.


Condolences for the family of “Dr. Wolfgang K. (Bill) Joklik”

Condolence from Sara Miller & David Howell on July 9th, 2019 4:09 pm

Dear Pat and Family,

We were saddened to hear of Bill’s passing, though we realize that he had a long and fruitful life. He had a formative effect on both our careers, and it was our pleasure to have known him. It was he who actually brought me to Duke, and I enjoyed working with and being mentored by him, as well as playing tennis with him and with Vivien. Also, David typed his dissertation, obtained in our department, on a microbiology office computer–with Bill’s personal permission. Finally, we remember the delightful Christmas parties that he sponsored, during many of which we and others roasted him in song–to his delight.

We will both be thinking about all of you during this difficult time, and we will visit with you on Friday morning.

Yours sincerely,
Sara Miller and David Howell

Condolence from Robert M. Krug, Ph.D. on July 9th, 2019 5:44 pm

So sorry to hear about Bill Joklik’s passing. My condolences to his family. Bill was an excellent scientist, who made many important contributions to virology research. My interactions with him were always informative and pleasant. He was also a caring person. He and his wife were very gracious towards my two daughters when they were undergraduates at Duke.

Condolence from Martha MacNair on July 10th, 2019 12:46 pm

Vivien,
My deepest sympathies to you on the death of your Dad.
Strength and inner peace, Martha Franklin MacNair

Condolence from Judy Roberson Dixon on July 10th, 2019 10:58 pm

Our heartfelt condolences to the Joklik family in the loss of a great man in every respect.

Max and Judy ( Roberson) Dixon

Condolence from Walter and Helli Doerfler on August 3rd, 2019 2:33 pm

Dear Pat,

Helli joins me in sending our heart-felt condolences on the occasion of Bill’s passing. We still remember and often have talked about your stay in Cologne when Bill spent part of his Humbold Prize with us at the Institute of Genetics. We also relish to think of our joint venture on one of the Sunday afternoons to sample a Carnevale Parade downtown Cologne. And – just very recently – we thought of you very intensely when we visited a performance of Puccini’s “Girl of the Golden West” which you, Bill and Walter heard at the Bonn Opera on 17 May 1994 – more than 25 years ago.
Bill was a great scientist who has made ground breaking contributions to science, its staging and teaching. More than that, Bill has impressed many of his friend as a wonderful person and friend. He’ll be warmly remembered by his many students and associates and by all of us who had the privilege of knowing him and you.
Dear Pat, we wish you and your family all the best during the next weeks of sorrow and remebrance. Bill and you had good lives.
Be assured that your visit to Cologne in 1994 still remains one of our very dear memories.
All the best, our love and warmest regards,

Helli and Walter Doerfler
Institute of Genetics, University of Cologne, Germany.

P.S.: I now work at Erlangen University (Dept. Virology), and we live in a small town (Weissenburg not far from Schwabach) near Nuremberg in the Northern part of Bavaria. Should you get close give us a call (+49-171-205-1587).

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