Dr. David Sheprow of Woods Hole, Mass., died peacefully on January 5, 2018, age 93. David was a professor emeritus in the Departments of Biology and Surgery at Boston University. David was born on Valentine’s Day 1924 in Holyoke, Mass., the only child of Morris and Irma Shepro.
A first-generation American from a very humble upbringing, David had an innate intelligence, and love of books and learning that spurred him to higher education. His undergraduate studies at Clark University in Worcester were interrupted by induction in the U.S. Army during World War II. He served at Camp Detrick in the 9710th Technical Service Unit and was officially recognized for his work on viruses. He received an honorable discharge in 1946. Following the war, David returned to Clark University where he met the love of his life, Marilyn Aronson. The couple married in 1949. After earning his Masters degree at Clark, David headed to Boston University where he earned his PhD in Biology. He remained there as a professor, became an academic dean of the Medical School, and was mentor to many students in the classroom and in his research lab until he retired to Woods Hole in 2004 at 80 years old.
For over 40 years, his laboratory’s research focused on the biology and pathology of the microvasculature. He was one of the first to develop methods to isolate and culture vascular endothelial cells, an accomplishment most people in his field believed was not possible. David was a true pioneer. The work revolutionized the study of microvasculature research and contributed to the understanding of diabetic eye disease, wound healing, and dementia.
He was the founding editor, and for 38 years, the editor-in-chief of the international journal Microvascular Research, and in 2006, edited a two-volume encyclopedic review on the biology and pathology of microvessels, published by Academic Press/Elsevier.
David loved to teach, and to the many scientists he trained over the decades of his career, he was the ultimate mentor. He taught the next generation of scientists not only the scientific method, but how to think creatively, do science generously, and live life fully.
David had a long association with the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole that started in the early 1960s when David established a summer research lab there. David and Marilyn brought their young family to Woods Hole each summer and they developed many friendships and a deep attachment the Woods Hole community. He chaired the Scientific Users Committee for the MBL-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution library, served as clerk of the MBL Corporation in the 1970s, was chair for several years of MBL’s popular Falmouth Forum lecture series, and was an emeritus trustee.
David was a lifetime proponent of fitness, publishing “Complete Conditioning” in 1976, much before it became fashionable, and cycling to B.U. each day from his home on Long Wharf in Boston. He was a horticulturist and avid Japanese gardener, a connoisseur of good wine and food, and was renowned for his sartorial style. Both David and Marilyn enjoyed learning about different cultures and David’s work enabled him to travel the world with Marilyn, to every continent except Antarctica and South America, including several memorable sabbaticals in London and at Cambridge University, England. Other than his love for teaching, family, and his dog, Maxx, David’s greatest passions were all sports, especially Boston teams, reading, writing and visiting and contributing to his local library. His letters and emails were erudite, incredibly humorous with the right amount of sarcasm and as varied and eclectic as his reading repertoire, which was vast.
Among his honors, David was a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a fellow of the American Physiological Society. He received the American Microcirculatory Society’s Landis and Zweifach Gold Medal awards and the Taylor Smith Gold Award from the New England Ophthalmological Society. He served as chairman of the Literature Selection Technical Review Committee for the U.S. National Library Medicine, National Institutes of Health.
David is survived by his wife of 69 years, Marilyn; his daughter Lisa Sheprow Adelberg of Camden, Maine; and son Douglas Sheprow and daughter-in-law Stephanie Murphy of Falmouth, Mass. He is also survived by his beloved dog, Maxx.
A small graveside service will be held at the Woods Hole Village Cemetery in Woods Hole on Thursday, Jan. 11, at 11 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations may be made to the Woods Hole Public Library, PO Box 185, Woods Hole, MA 02543, or to WCAI, the Cape and Islands NPR station, PO Box 82, Woods Hole, MA 02543.