Raymond VanderWyk, professor and scientist

By Ashley Portero
Globe Correspondent / January 12, 2011

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Dr. Raymond Winston VanderWyk, a longtime professor at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and an active member of the First Congregational Church in Waltham, died of pneumonia Dec. 24 at Jordan Hospital in Plymouth. He was 94.

Dr. VanderWyk, a lifelong Waltham resident, was born to Harold M. Colby and his wife, Lila. After his father’s death when he was 2, his mother remarried, and her new husband, Herman VanderWyk, adopted Raymond.

Dr. VanderWyk was devoted his entire adult life to the study of science. After graduating from Waltham High School in 1933, he enrolled at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, where he earned a master’s degree in pharmacy. In 1950, he received a doctorate in biology from Harvard University.

During World War II, Dr. VanderWyk was in charge of clinical laboratories for the US Army’s Seventh Field Hospital and afterward spent over 42 years as a professor and administrator at his alma mater.

“His service to the church and the large number of graduate students he mentored over the years were two things he was proud of,’’ said his son James of Powder Springs, Ga.

Dr. VanderWyk was a member of the First Congregational Church in Waltham, now Trinity Church, since the early 1950s. He served on every church committee at one time.

A history buff, Dr. VanderWyk wrote a book chronicling the history of the church, which was distributed to the congregation.

Dr. VanderWyk was an athlete, remaining active in bowling, tennis, and golf into his 80s. When he played baseball as a young man, the strong but short Dr. VanderWyk was nicknamed Pee Wee by friends, after legendary Major Leaguer Pee Wee Reese.

He met Frances Rapczynski through family. They married in 1943. She died in 2005.

In addition to his son, Dr. VanderWyk leaves another son, David of Norfolk, and a daughter, Susan Silva of Pocasset. He also leaves a sister, Dorothy McQuistin of Waltham, six grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Services were held.

Ashley Portero can be reached at