Gary Warren Conrad


Gary Warren Conrad died peacefully in his sleep July 1, 2020. Born in Amsterdam, N.Y., March 24, 1941, to Walter H. and Bessie L. Conrad, Gary grew up in Canajoharie, N.Y., where he developed his love of nature and science living in the countryside. He attended Union College (Schenectady, N.Y.), where his faculty mentor, Ray Rappaport, brought him to the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory (MDIBL) and opened his eyes to the excitement of research science.

After earning a Ph.D. at Yale University and completing post-doctoral work at the University of Chicago, he surprised himself and everyone else by accepting a position at Kansas State University, where he taught and conducted research on corneal development for 43 years.

Driven by a natural curiosity to explore the world, he returned every summer from 1971-2014 to do research at MDIBL and spent three sabbaticals in Munich, Germany; Cambridge, England; and Paris, France. He was delighted to retire to Mount Desert Island in 2014 and pursue his love of music while volunteering with Friends of Acadia and Camp Beech Cliff.

He was predeceased by his parents and sister, Judy Schoonmaker Williams. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Abigail Conrad, his children Samantha (Jay) Sturhahn and Zachary (Maire) Conrad and five beloved grandchildren.

Those wanting to celebrate his memory may take a walk outside in any place that brings you joy.

Those who wish may make a contribution to MDIBL.

Know when to pay your respects.