G. Donald Whedon ’36 SCD ’67, a leading researcher in space medicine, died May 4 in Clearwater, Fla.
After earning a BA in pre-med from Hobart College, cum laude, he received a medical degree from the University of Rochester Medical School. From 1962 to 1981, he was head of the Institute of Arthritis and Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases at the National Institutes of Health.
While at HWS, he played freshman football and lacrosse and established Hobart’s first intercollegiate golf team. The editor of both The Herald newspaper and The Echo of the Seneca yearbook, he was a member of Theta Delta Chi fraternity and elected to the Orange Key and Chimera Honor Societies and tapped as a Druid.
One of the nation’s top researchers, he contributed more than 80 articles to medical and scientific publications and is renowned for his research on calcium metabolism, which has aided in the management of osteoporosis, a bone disease.
Whedon was the principal investigator on the only metabolic study in space carried out on Gemini 7 in December 1965, when he was a medical consultant to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. He later performed the same service on the Skylab missions.
In May 1981, he led a visit to the Soviet Union to arrange for collaborative studies on bone changes during long space flights. In 1996, NASA presented him with the Award of Merit.
Hobart and William Smith awarded him an honorary Doctor of Science in 1967; Hobart College presented him a Medal of Excellence in 1998.
Survivors include a son, David M. Whedon '70 of Springfield, Va.; a daughter, Karen Green of Hopkinton, Mass., and two grandchildren.