Professor Emeritus Ralph D. Amen dies at 86

ralph.amen.150x150Professor Emeritus Ralph D. Amen, who taught in the biology department from 1962 until 1993, died May 29 in Winston-Salem. He was 86.

A memorial service will be held Monday, June 2, at 11 a.m. at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Winston-Salem. The family will receive guests after the service.

Amen is survived by his wife, Shirley (’67), and three children, duWayne (’81), Christine and Katherine. He was pre-deceased by one son, Eric (’81).

Professor of Biology Gerald Esch said Amen was a good friend and mentor to him. “He was a true intellectual and a really good botanist,” said Esch, who co-taught a graduate class with Amen. “He was the kind of guy who would stop a graduate student in the hallway and ask him a thought-provoking question.”

A native of Cheyenne, Wyoming, Amen graduated from the University of Northern Colorado and earned his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado. He served as a medic with the U.S. Air Force for two years during the Korean War.

He taught at a Denver high school and at the University of Colorado before joining the Wake Forest faculty. He taught cellular and molecular biology, philosophy of biology and medicine, and biomedical ethics and was chair of biology department from 1967 to 1972.

By Kerry M. King (’85), Wake Forest Magazine